Chivalry Vs. Opportunism Explained

Is chivalry dead? I think chivalry definitely exists, but how it is being used has definitely changed. In modern times, our social interactions have also changed, and so have our expectations of fellow humans.

Let’s start with the definition of chivalry and the word’s origin. According to the dictionary:

chivalry

Men behaving courteously— holding the door open, offering women their jackets when it’s cold — is called chivalry.

Medieval principles governing knighthood and knightly conduct

A rule or standard especially of good behavior – courtesy towards women

Synonyms: gallantry, politesse. Type of: courtesy, good manners

As you can see, times have changed and medieval knights have evolved into gentlemen, and further evolved into everyday humans, or men. Traditionally, chivalrous gestures were simply good manners taught to nobility, but as times changed, so did our social expectations. In modern times, chivalry no longer refers to men only. As gender roles are becoming blurred, most men and women strive to treat our fellow humans with dignity and kindness regardless of gender.

In this day and age, it is common for women to be chivalrous as well. Today, women open doors for men, for other women, and for strangers. I tend to open doors for whoever is near me, I even open the door for the janitor in my building simply because he is human.

There seems to be much confusion about chivalry and its failures. Apparently, a lot of people are upset because their so-called chivalry isn’t being met with adequate praise or reward. And some women complain against chivalry, because it is archaic, because they too partake in chivalry, but mainly because some ‘chivalrous’ men, expect a reward for gestures which are supposed to be free of charge to all humans.

What no one has considered is that chivalry isn’t dead, instead it is being misused and its intentions are often confused with another concept called opportunism. What is an opportunist?

op·por·tun·ist

noun: opportunist; plural noun: opportunists

a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans.

Reading this definition, can you see how opportunism can be a turn-off for many women?

Personally, I am always impressed by good manners. It is a sign of a respectful person who has consideration for those around him or her. Good manners are a sign of fine breeding, a reflection of one’s values, and how a person perceives themselves. Naturally, a person who values others will act in a way to demonstrate that. And a person who respects fellow man will not demand repayment, nor accolades for an act of courtesy.

Chivalry is given freely with no reward, nor further expectations. Opportunism takes advantage of the recipient of that gesture. What critics of chivalry find offensive is the false belief that a kind gesture comes with a price tag. There are many different kinds of men out there. Some will open a door without a second thought. For them the gesture is a matter-of-course, it comes naturally, and is a reflection of their character. I would like to think that when I open a door for anyone, I do it out of politeness and good intentions even though I am female.

As a woman I always notice good manners, and am always grateful to a person who performs chivalrous acts free of charge. But, I understand that most women have experienced “toxic chivalry” or what I refer to as opportunism, and this is something that we all complain about.

There is a type of man out there who uses so-called chivalry to take advantage. He rushes to open the door, he hears Thank You, but follows her to see just how grateful she really is. As she keeps walking, he keeps reminding her that he is just being a gentleman and that she is rude because she won’t give him time of day in exchange for that open door. He takes a woman out on a date, picks her up in his car, opens the door each time, orders her wine, orders her dinner, insists on paying for everything then insists on driving her home. Only, once he has performed all these tricks like a ‘real gentleman’ he awaits his reward. Some men treat chivalrous gestures like a punch card. “I did 10 gentlemanly things for you, therefore I am a real man”, or “I got dinner so you owe me”. An opportunist is always looking to be rewarded for a gesture a person could have done for themselves.

Several years ago, I received flowers twice on a New York City street from complete strangers. One was a heart-melting act of chivalry, the other a stomach churning act of opportunism. I was living in Manhattan, and commuting home from work. A guy standing in the crowded subway car was holding a big bunch of roses, clearly intended for someone else. I paid no attention to him at all and had my face buried in my phone. As the train came to a stop we both exited, he stopped me, took one rose out of the bouquet and handed it to me. He said, “I don’t mean to be creepy, but I saw you on the train and really felt like you should have this rose. Please accept it”. I was stunned, and speechless, and tongue tied, so all I could nervously stutter is ‘Thank You’.  He walked away and said ‘Have a beautiful day”. Needless to say, my heart melted, I felt grateful for the kind gesture, and smiled just thinking about that for days.

A few weeks later, I was sitting in an outdoor cafe, waiting for a friend. A guy walking down the street saw me, then stopped at the corner grocery and picked up a nice bouquet. He walked over to my table to hand me the bouquet, and he said ” You are beautiful and I just want to give a pretty lady these flowers to brighten up her day”. Once again I said thank you, that is very nice of you. I was so touched by the nice gesture of the guy from the subway, that my guard was down.  Only this guy, wasn’t going anywhere. “So, are you here alone?” “No, actually, I am waiting for a friend”. “Mind if I keep you company until your friend gets here?” Red flag, shivers down my spine, this one is going to be a creep. This guy was not being genuine, and honestly, I really didn’t want his company at all. But he acted as if I owed him my company because he gave me some flowers. Things turned unpleasant, and the waiter asked him to leave me alone. A lot of bickering and few insults later, the manager came out and threatened to call the police. How much did I appreciate his act of fake chivalry and being called a bitch? His flowers were revolting.  They were not a gift, they were bait. I couldn’t look at them, and asked the waiter to take them away.

Chivalry versus opportunism. Please know the difference. To be fair, we all should be allowed an opportunity to decide for ourselves whether we want to engage or take part in a gesture that may cost us later. Had I known that he was giving the flowers to earn the reward of my company, or to get a date, I would have rejected them outright. No one wants to feel obligated to reward an unnecessary gesture with their dignity.

And this is the reason a lot of women aren’t comfortable with today’s chivalry. Chivalry used to be free, but in modern times some men are taking advantage and expecting a reward or validation. He demands to hear that an act of common courtesy makes him a real man.

Because today it is very important to begin every assertion with “Not all men”, I will give you that. Not all men are opportunistic assholes. The vast majority of men and women make kind gestures because it is a reflection of who they are, and they understand that human kindness goes a long way. Both sexes are becoming comfortable with opening the doors for each other, for saying Thank You, and for thinking nothing of it.

So, the few men who are opportunists when it comes to using manners to gain favor with women are the ones who give chivalry a bad name. Chivalry isn’t dead, and women have not been corrupted by raging feminism. We are not determined to destroy manhood, in fact we appreciate true and healthy masculinity. What has changed is that we refuse to reward opportunists with our attention, our affection, our respect, nor the validation they crave so badly.

What makes a man a gentleman is that he acts with true character and honor every single day, and he does not require validation from others to be who he is. His value and his humanity speak for themselves. An opportunist is the opposite of that. Only an opportunist will use a gesture such as opening a door, then demand gratitude or the title of “real man” for performing a task a monkey can do.

My five year old nephew is learning his manners, so he has started opening doors for everyone, for mom, for dad, for his teacher and all his classmates. Is he a man? He has a long way to go to earn that honor. What I hope to teach him is that we all do kind gestures for everyone out of love for humanity, and not because we expect to earn a gold star.

So, the next time a woman complains about chivalry, take some time to consider why. A lot of women are tired of fake chivalry and opportunism. We have spent lifetimes  fending off goons who claim to be ‘just a nice guy’, but expect a little something in return. We are tired of promised job interviews that turn into an unwanted date. We are tired for having to pay for that open door with validating a man’s machismo. We simply are tired. This is why many of us would rather open our own door, pay for our own drink, and go home in peace, rather than worry that we owe you something. Please consider that we live in an age when most women will routinely open a door for a man and ask for absolutely nothing in return.

Are we taking over manhood? No. We simply want to be left in peace.

S

 

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Our Protective Walls Are Blocking Our Ability To Love

“The walls you put up to protect yourself, are the same walls that are blocking your blessings”. Stephen S.

 

You can’t walk in fear of getting hurt, and expect to attract the highest possible love, the most amazing career, or the ultimate life experiences. Like everyone, I do have fears. And to protect myself, I created a belief system- as long as I stick to my strong beliefs, and I allow people with certain stringent qualifications into my sphere, I will ensure I am safe from harmful relationships. So I built an energetic wall, a wall of high standards and high morality. If you meet those super high standards, you get to be in my life. So, I eliminated a ton of toxic people. Guess what. The safe, non-toxic ones in my life, still manage to disappoint me, hurt me, prove to be fake friends or feeble lovers.

 

I can put up as many walls as I want, but I still block the good as well as the bad from my life. In doing so, I am restricting my ability to love and be loved because I walk in fear. If I say to someone, sorry I cannot love you because you are of the wrong political party, or you are the wrong religion, or you aren’t as educated as I am, I am placing conditions under which I can love, and placing conditions means I am participating in very conditional love.  Each condition you have is a brick in your protective wall. The more conditions, the harder it is to meet people who are your energetic equal.

 

The real me truly believes in unconditional love, I have written about that many times, therefore I must drop my conditions. That’s not easy. We all claim to want unconditional love, yet each one of us has at least a 100 conditions. Go ahead and list all your conditions on a sheet of paper. It will be very good for your eyes and your heart to get in touch with all your conditions. It is an eye-opening experience.

 

I believe in free, unconditional, pure love, yet I just realized that I have a long list of conditions I have not spoken out loud because I would not admit them to myself. With every breakup I thought I learned something- what I want in a man and what I don’t want. And after my last breakup, I added a whole bunch of conditions I never had before. I think it is normal for our list of conditions to adjust after every relationship. This is how we learn what works and what doesn’t work for us, and how we maintain focus on people we want instead of the ones we don’t want. I have been keeping such a list for years so that I can be aware of my wants.

 

All humans have their own requirements- people we are naturally attracted to, qualities and personality traits that work well with ours. We also have a long list of negatives, red flags and habits that absolutely do not work for us. Having such a list helps me maintain healthy boundaries, and maintain awareness of what I am doing, when I am dating people who really aren’t good for me.

 

But, when that list grows to unreasonable expectations, with each new addition, you are adding another brick on that wall around your heart. At a certain point we have to figure out which bricks are sensible, and which serve no purpose at all. I am one of those people who senses energy very well. I read other people like an open book, and when people’s walls are up, I know to leave them alone. There is no sense in crossing someone’s boundaries. That would be a very unhealthy and disrespectful thing to do to someone.

 

As a meditation practice, I often check on my own energies from time to time. I recently discovered a massive block, about two feet in front of me. I only notice it when I meditate, but it is huge. I have literally been pushing away people for the last couple of years.

 

I thought of it as cleaning house. Once I decided to clean my life and remove as many toxic people as possible, I started to filter. I like you, I don’t like you. You can come in, you cannot come in. You are on probation until further notice.

 

Did my house get any cleaner?  It may seem that way, but now that I look at this massive wall of bricks around my heart, I see that I am still sweeping the mess, and maybe the mess is getting bigger. When people see a wall, they do one of two things. Obviously, a wall is a massive obstacle, and sensible people walk around it. It really is the more logical thing to do, not to chisel the wall away, but to keep on moving. Healthy people will not see a walled up person and start climbing. Healthy people respect boundaries, so they leave you alone.

 

So who are the people who try to chisel your wall away? The ones who do not respect boundaries. The ones who resolve to rescue you from your prison. The ones who stubbornly want what they can’t have, and in an effort to obtain what the other won’t give them, they bring in the heavy equipment to bulldoze through your fortification. Do you really want those in your life? Well, that is exactly who snuck past my guards this year.

 

So how do we break down our own wall, and let our guard down? You don’t necessarily have to take it down brick by brick, it may be easier to create a new belief system. Remember, each belief is just a brick in your wall. Go through your list of requirements, and change your beliefs about them. For example, I do not like dating people who are older than me. I habitually date younger men because I find them uncomplicated, they have more modern attitudes toward women, they are unspoiled and unsoiled by divorce and free from children.

 

I truly enjoy relationships with younger men so much, that I have come to absolutely fume any time someone older asks me out. And my belief system about older men could definitely use a tune-up.  I doubt that I will ever be attracted to older men, because for me physical attraction is important, but at the very least I have to stop blocking and pushing away people who don’t meet my lofty standards. I don’t have to date them, I just have to find them acceptable, see the good in them.

 

If you meditate, clearing energetic blocks may be a bit easier. When I get centered, I tune into my own body and scan my own energies. I might see an old panic attack I had on a stupid subject. I use knowingness to clear the old energy, by logically knowing that the situation and my feelings about it are now irrelevant. Of what value is it to me to still stop breathing every time I recall that difficult client I had two years ago who threatened to sue me? Is my feeling about a person who is no longer in my life of any value to me now? Thinking about the validity of that past panic attack, and the silliness about my belief, makes the energy disappear. If knowingness is not your meditation tactic,  you might move the energy with your hand, and remove it from your body by wiping it away. Energy can be moved physically, mentally, or using any of the greater senses you may be in touch with while you meditate.

 

If clearing energy is not your thing, you can simply meditate on freedom. What does freedom to love whoever and whatever without fear feel like to you? This is a challenging energy to get into or recall, because ever since we started dating, we have been protecting ourselves from freedom, and free relationships. The thought of freedom might scare you. Rather than recall the energy of freedom as it pertains to past lovers, think of your love for your favorite pet. You had a dog and you loved it very much. What does that love feel like to you? Even if the dog has passed, your love for it feels just as good. Sit there in that energy, and simply feel love for your dog for as long as you can. Now think what it would feel like to have another dog? Could you feel love for that new dog too? Of course you can. Having another dog does not change in any way how you feel about your first dog. Your heart chakra stays just as open when you think of the two animals, then three, then all the animals in the world. Love is truly limitless, so why do we place limits upon it? Now think of that ex who hurt you. Do you feel the energy around your heart tighten up? Your throat or your solar plexus might twist into a knot. Free love, vs. conditional love feel very different inside your body.

 

Living without barriers or a brick wall feels freeing, so meditate on your own sense of liberation. If you don’t meditate, and you can’t sense energy, please see a therapist. Use whatever method works for you, but the goal is not to continue to make a case for your wall, or argue for your blockages.

 

We can’t walk in fear and expect wonderful things to happen. We cannot build a protective wall around us, then expect the most dashing lover to break down those walls. If he did, he would be overstepping our boundaries- and that would qualify him as a psycho 🙂 So, my next goal is to tear down my own walls, open my mind to new potentially hurtful experiences, and allow myself to get hurt again. I might be a little wiser than I was last year, so hopefully the lessons won’t be so harsh.

 

But, unless I take a chance on me, what good could possibly happen?

 

S

 

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The Relationship Scorecard

Do you keep a love scorecard? Or does someone you are in a relationship with, or a friend keeping score of what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, what they did for you, and what you didn’t do for them? Are they measuring how much attention you gave them, versus how much affection or time they got in return? Do they demand you repay them for every kind word, or a seemingly thoughtful act? Is that person you?

 

I am not going to stamp a label on people like that. We all know that kind of loving is wrong, and it’s not love at all. Love is based on freedom, and free expression of our own level of love for all people. It is about allowing the other person to show us how they love. It is feeling free to love on our own terms without pressure to conform to the other person’s expectations.

 

I bought you an expensive birthday gift, now you owe me some respect. I forgave you last week, so now you owe me some cuddle time. I took care of you when you were sick, now you owe me a get-out-of-jail-free card. Tit for tat. I give you, you pay me back. That kind of arrangement (because it is not a healthy relationship) is a trap. It is about others serving our needs and rewarding them with tokens. Except, how can we measure other people’s attention, affection or time?

 

You will never have your needs met by a person whose job you think it is to love you how you see fit, and vice versa. Expressions of love are an act of kindness, not a duty or an obligation. The minute you make it the other person’s obligation to relate to you on your terms they will disappoint you. Those kinds of relationships are exhausting for all of us, and they bring misery and very little joy to people who know they can love much better. They are primitive, immature, contrived.

 

My ex used to measure every one of my transgressions silently, but very methodically. Each time he did something nice for me, like spend time with my friends, he expected that I pay him with a never-agreed-upon sum that only he could accurately calculate in his own head. The sum of what I owe him was always a mystery to me. There was never an agreement that if he spends time with my friends, I would owe him something, if there was such a discussion, I would never have incurred the debt. I would have easily left him at home and enjoyed a night out on my own. I didn’t even know that the night with my friends was unpleasant for him, yet days later, I would find out that I haven’t adequately compensated him for the favor. One day I would get the silent treatment, so I’d leave him alone. The next day, more silent treatment, so I would leave him alone. I know when someone is being passive aggressive and when I am about to be manipulated into something, so I disconnect. I don’t chase, I don’t pester to find out how can I please you? If you want to shut me out, go for it. Finally, five days later he would explode and demand to know why I am not concerned that he is not talking to me. Dude, you are a grown up, you know how to speak up and communicate like an adult. If something is bothering you, it is on you to communicate it. And then the drama would start. You didn’t call me. You didn’t spend time with me. I did everything for you but you did nothing for me. What did you do for me? I spent time with your friends.

 

Don’t fall into that trap. Doing nice things for people, then demanding emotional compensation is manipulation. We shouldn’t have to compensate people for kindness nor for being in a relationship with us. Kindness comes out of the goodness of our hearts, and willingness to share ourselves with others. There is no price tag for kindness.

 

If someone is billing you for good behavior, kindness, affection, or time, run! Anyone who is keeping a relationship scorecard is simply weighing every gram of flesh you are willing to sacrifice for them. You shouldn’t have to pay with your soul just to be in a relationship.

 

Friendships can be just as toxic as love. Since to most people friendships are less urgent, they waste more energy trying to maintain romantic relationships. So when a friend is keeping score, we dismiss it as annoying. Recently, a friend asked within our group if anyone would be willing to lend him a spare car for a couple of weeks. He was moving out of the country, selling off all his stuff, and needed some wheels while he closed out his life. A mutual friend offered him her car and asked for nothing in return. There was no money exchanged. Imagine his surprise to start receiving texts from her a week later, listing all her grievances. You don’t hang out with me, you never call, you could have invited me to that NYE party. Huh?  He didn’t realize that borrowing her car meant he would be her escort. He promptly returned the car, not wanting to cause drama. But the drama continued. She kept insisting he could still have the car, all she wanted was some time, and consideration from him. This is how we fall into situational traps where one person does something nice for the other, then demands whatever payback that can temporarily fulfill them.

 

Relationship scorekeepers are a drain. You will never do enough for them to make them feel warm, fuzzy or satisfied. They are empty people with gaping holes in their lives, and instead of filling those holes themselves they get you to do it for them. The signature phrase all relationship score keepers use is “You owe me”.  The sum of what you owe them is never reasonable, it is always above and beyond what you are willing to do for them. Relationships with scorekeepers feel like a burden. They don’t feel good, nor equal, nor loving, because the scorekeeper is always weighing how many grams of flesh you are willing to slice off for them. Eventually, you’ll be missing a limb, there simply will never be enough of you to keep them from starving. Run.

 

My advice is if you keep a relationship scorecard with anyone, learn to let people off the hook. It is wrong to give for the sake of getting something in return, just give as much as feels good to you. If other people don’t return in equal measure, appreciate them anyway. Allow people to be who they are, and give to you what feels good to them. Honor what they gave you, no matter how little. Treat their time, their attention, and their gifts as a treasure. Cure yourself or train yourself from keeping a love and relationship scorecard. You’ll see, your relationships will be much healthier once you give people a break.

 

S

 

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Effort Is The Killer of Realization

Don’t try too hard. We live in a culture that values hard work, effort, trying, endurance, commitment, resolve, achievement, struggle, and beating the odds. I love America and everything that it stands for. I also love that Americans are self-reliant, and respect good work and a solid work ethic. However, I am going to make a case against trying too hard.

 

This is something that I learned from meditating for 12+ years. Effort is the killer of realization. You have heard the saying “What you resist, persists”. Whatever you fight against in your life, tends to turn into a bigger problem. Whatever you let go of, tends to diminish or disappear, or comes back in a more harmonious form.

 

Effort is the expending of energy. When we hit an obstacle in our life, conventional wisdom says to try and try again. Work harder, try harder, make more effort to obliterate this boulder that is right in front of our face. But there is a smarter, easier way to deal with life’s obstacles. Don’t try so hard and simply walk around the obstacle.

 

Imagine you are trying to get on the road, but your hand brake is still engaged. You step on the accelerator, but the car won’t go. The harder you push the accelerator, the faster your wheels spin, but with that obstacle, the hand-brake still on, you are not going anywhere. It is your effort that is making you try harder against the hand-brake. It is the effort that is burning the rubber off your tires, and it is the effort that is wasting gas in your fuel tank because the harder you try to drive with your handbrake on, the more energy you waste. Instead of trying harder, you should try smarter. Relax and think a little, there’s a good reason why this car, or relationship, or this work project won’t move forward. Your great effort and persistence are probably killing it.

 

Have you ever been in a relationship with a persistent little bugger who was determined to make the relationship lead to something bigger, but the harder they tried the more you got turned off? Have you ever wanted a job so badly, that you did everything possible, stood on your head, demonstrated your willingness to do anything, and they still gave the job to someone else? In meditation, effort kills the meditation itself. The harder you try to meditate, and achieve a mental state you think you should be in, the more impossible that state is to reach. I always tell people never try to meditate, only relax and get comfy in your own mind.

 

Working hard is actually not working smart. Have you noticed that there are people out there killing themselves, sacrificing peace for their work, trying so hard but they never earn enough? And then there are people whose work is easy, they make money in their pajamas, and they enjoy their free time as if money grows on trees? They are not working hard, they are working smart. They work when they are in the zone, and take frequent breaks to get inspired. When they hit an obstacle, the last thing they do is try harder.

 

You want to be VP, but your boss scoffs at the idea, he won’t even give you a chance. You are in a tough relationship, and your partner of 7 years won’t even consider marriage. Of what use is trying to argue someone into wanting you? Has anyone ever won that argument? Have you ever been able to argue your way into someone’s heart? Back off, your effort is killing the situation.

 

Effort is useful when you are trying to push an inspired idea forward, but only if you have fuel in your tank, and a clear road ahead. A gentle effort or a light tap on the accelerator is enough to move a car forward. But pushing, trying, forcing, is never a good idea in any situation.

 

Effort kills creativity. To make a beautiful painting one needs inspiration, love, and an idea to express on canvas. All artists know what happens when they try too hard to express themselves- the idea won’t flow out of them. Effort destroys the painting. Pushing yourself to brush paint on a canvas with nothing but effort, makes it look like a paint by the numbers job. But allowing for inspiration to come and then allowing it to flow through, results in a masterpiece. Allowing is the opposite of effort. It is a sure knowing that the right inspiration will come at the right time. It is the confidence that the problem will get solved. It is the knowing that you are worth so much more than this person who is telling you ‘No’ sees in you.

 

So, don’t try so hard to make everything work. Ease off that accelerator, stop trying to drive with that hand-brake engaged. It is there for a very good reason. It is telling you, this trip is not for you. How do you know to move in a particular direction? The most loving relationships feel effort-LESS. When you are in a state of flow, inspiration and creativity feel effort-LESS. When you have a job you feel passionate about, work is effort-LESS. When things flow to you effortlessly, they are a definite YES!!! Roadblocks, obstacles, rejection and the word NO, exist to give you clarity: This is road is not for you.

 

S

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How To Get Closure When He Won’t Give It To You

Breakups suck. Even when we logically know that the relationship isn’t working and that the person isn’t in our best interest, it can still be difficult to move on. We are all taught to make the best out of every situation, to give people ample chances to be who we need them to be, adjust our own wants and needs for the sake of being in a relationship. I don’t agree with traditional relationship advice because I see it doesn’t serve people, especially not women. When we logically know that he isn’t who we want, and when we emotionally feel like this is inadequate, it is our responsibility to take the steps to free ourselves, and do better next time.

 

Letting go is hard, but I consider it a spiritual practice. In fact, I have written about it many times because I have discovered its power to heal, to get me unstuck from stagnant situations, and move in a better direction. I won’t describe the process here, but will say that it is crucial to us doing better, and better, and better for ourselves. The less we attach ourselves emotionally to people, the more forgiving we can be, and the more we are willing to allow for a peaceful parting of ways. That is easier said than done, I know, but if we make it a permanent spiritual practice, it does get easier.

 

Inside The Goddess Principles private forum, there are a lot of women who are finding it hard to move on. These are highly evolved and experienced women who are well qualified to counsel others, but like all humans have a door that wasn’t firmly shut behind them. The typical scenario was a breakup that occurred two years ago, but for the sake of friendship they keep the person in their life. Friendship is important, but being friends with a well-meaning ex is still and always will be an old energy and an old relationship pattern. So this quest to prove we can still be friends, turns into a heavy friendship that hurts just as much as when they were sleeping together. This friendship also becomes a crutch because neither person has to fully face the breakup, as there is still hope in having loyal companionship. Two years later, a woman asks why am I still not in a new relationship? Why am I still oddly stuck on my ex? I know I don’t want him, I see that he is not good for me, but for some reason I am still stuck on him, and only him. Many move on and date, but continue to experience the same relationship over and over again with a different person.

 

Think of each relationship as a program, and at a certain point in our lives our program becomes corrupt. At some point we start reprogramming our wants, needs and expectations to meet the needs of the other person, because we falsely believe that this relationship is more important than what we truly want and need. We keep editing our program until it starts to behave more like what the other person wants, or whatever it takes to maintain a relationship with a person who is actually not who we want. Logically speaking, no relationship can run on a bad program, and inevitably the program crashes.

 

If you are like most people, you wake up, get dressed, put on your makeup, revise your Facebook status and actively start seeking a new relationship. And then a new guy comes into your life, and he is just awesome, and he too has a few glitches we think we must adjust to. This one is worth keeping, and maybe investing in a bit more than the other guy, so we tweak our programming even more to make ourselves more compatible with the other guy. The more we edit our program, the more our course veers closer to his path, and we are now totally off-course from our own path. Once again, bad programming results in a crash, and somehow this is all his fault. But who edited the program?

 

Over the years we keep getting into new relationships with old programming disguised in fresh packaging and we wonder why none of our relationships are working. We blame bad relationships on people’s unwillingness to give us what we want, their selfishness, their self-centeredness, and a thousand other psychological disorders. No one sees that they are running a corrupt program.

 

But why do we keep the old program running in the background of all our relationships. We are afraid to let go of what we know. Somehow those past traumatic crashes, and painful endings are comforting. It is easier to stick with what we already know. And also, many of us are looking for a human to take us exactly as we are, with all our flaws, all our boo-boos and make it all better. But, if the other person is healthy, they know it’s is not their job to heal you and make you better. So, an old program can only function for a very limited time with another person whose program is just as corrupt.

 

A part of the reason we keep running corrupt programs is because we have not firmly closed the back door to old viruses. We hit delete, but it is still in the recycle bin. We cleaned  the hardware, but it lies stored on an external drive. Sooner or later that old virus will find its way back into your program. It never left, you never fully deleted it, it was always spying on you in the background, in other words, you left the door wide open.

 

Why is your ex back? Because you left the door unlocked? Why is he still spying on you? Because you gave him your password. Why are you still thinking about him? No, it is not because you were cosmically connected, it is because you never blocked the dude in the first place. This person still has access to you on some level, even if it is through a tiny keyhole, as long as an entry point is not secure, the pesky virus will find you.

 

There is nothing more disheartening than to listen to a woman, and some of my male friends complain about an ex whom they just can’t shake. And inevitably this is a person they had a lot of compassion for, didn’t want to cut off, and hey, a few months later they have magically fixed whatever made their code corrupt and they are knocking on your door with an offer to install an upgrade. The only reason you are torn between breaking their heart and breaking your own is because you are running the same program in the background, and there is a back door still open for the pesky virus to crawl into.

 

The crash is even harder when the other person refuses to give us closure. It would be so much easier if he clearly stated I will never see you again, I am marrying someone else, instead of being silent, walking away, but still keeping channels of communication wide open. Will he text me again? Will he like my Facebook post? If he does, you’ll feel hopeful enough to continue being stuck until you receive the next sign, and the next one, and the next one. This is how people linger in hopeless and toxic dramas.

 

It is not the other person’s responsibility to give you closure. In fact, he cannot because there will never be adequate explanations and clear enough words to soothe you into letting go. And as long as you wait, you are leaving room for more pain, and stagnation. What you can do is take the matter into your own hands, and take responsibility for your own closure.

 

Yes, you can give yourself closure, in fact that is the only permanent and effective way to guarantee peace of mind. You do have the ability to seal all entry points into your life: social media, e-mail, phone numbers, and change all passwords. A lot of people find this the most painful aspect of the breakup, and see it as the ultimate loss. Well after the relationship is over, they are clinging to the possibility by simply keeping the lines of communication open, just in case, some day he needs a transplant and they are the only viable donor. It would be cruel to seal the door shut, wouldn’t it?

 

Here is something a few people know. You don’t have to believe me, but some of us can see and feel energy. It flows within us, between all people, and the flow is stronger between people who once had an emotional connection. You can break up with a person, but the reason you are stuck on them is that energetic connection still flows. You can make the physical move away from them, even move to another country, but the connection remains. Why? Sure, you may be still partly obsessed, hopeful, and stubborn about letting go. But the reason you are is because on some level you can still feel the person’s energy. Even if you are not one of those people who can feel energy of others, you are still susceptible to it. You cannot see, hear or smell a radio wave, but when it hits the receiver in your car, you start to sing a long.

 

Thoughts are just energy. And obsessive thoughts are very strong, stubborn energy. How do you cut them off, when your monkey mind just won’t let go?

 

After my last breakup, I had to do some serious work on myself. This person’s energy remained even though we promised never to see each other again, even though we live in two different countries, even though we both started dating other people. Logically speaking I was 100% sure I did not want this man, but the thoughts and hurt feelings and the anger remained. I did unfriend him on Facebook, and thought that was enough, but it wasn’t. I could literally still read this person, and was very aware of his whereabouts, feelings, his pain. How??

 

The energy flow between us remained. We were still thinking about each other, checking on each other via social media, talking to mutual friends. Two years later, and I was asking myself why the hell are all new relationships following this same old program that he brought into my life? I am dating the same person in a different body, over and over again. But the energy between us still flowed because I did not cut it off. And that old virus was still running in the background of my corrupt program.

 

You don’t have to believe in or feel energy, but I am sure you know what it is like to be stuck on someone while you are trying to move on. Well, there is one guaranteed way to get closure.  Close the damn door.

 

When I say close the door, I mean seal every single entry point. If you are still friends, trust me that virus has replicated a thousand times over, you have a lot more work to do now. But, if you truly want something better for yourself, you have to say good bye to whoever is keeping you stuck, and sometimes it is an old ex who is still your friend. If you think that unfriending someone on Facebook will send them a message about how little you care, you are right. Because unfriending someone still allows both of you to see each other’s profile, so the connection remains, so will your thoughts, your feelings and your obsession over this person you can still check in on from time to time. If they can get the message that you are displeased, then the channel of communication is still open. Block that mofo so you have no way of laying eyes on him again.

 

But blocking someone is more beneficial to you and your own peace of mind than to him. This is because once you press the block button, you have brought about a finality with your own hand. This is your own decision, and once done, it is firmly implanted in your mind that there is no going back. The bridge has been burned. The decision is yours, the power is yours, and the closure is now yours. You own it, and owning it feels really good.

 

This is one of the most difficult things to convince people to do, to bring about a finality to an old relationship or an old block, or an old virus that is still eating us alive. So many women think that this last step will be the most painful, when in fact this is the most liberating step of all.

 

An interesting thing that happens is that many of them feel a sense of overwhelming peace and freedom once it is done. Knowing that I gave myself closure instead of waiting for someone to give it to me is extremely empowering. If you feel energy, you will also feel the added bonus of not being pulled by those obsessive thoughts any longer. Your mind is free and clear and you are open to new situations, and truly ready to take on something better. You now have what you wanted all along, a fresh start.

 

I consider letting go a spiritual practice. As you all know, I meditate on a regular basis and the habit has given me insight to a lot of personal blocks that I have struggled for years to overcome. Letting go has become so liberating to me that I now do it on a regular basis. I let go of all those old energies, especially people who keep bringing back old patterns, unhealthy obsessions, repeating situations into my life. I no longer feel guilty asking people to leave, distancing myself, even clicking the delete button when necessary. Technology has given us a quicker and more convenient way to make friends, but also a more efficient way to let them go as well. Do not feel guilty. In a lifetime, we will meet exponentially more people than previous generations ever could, and we need more effective ways to keep our paths clean and our minds clear. If you have to remove a stubborn energy or a giant boulder from your path, the less you stress about it the faster you’ll move on.

 

But letting go is not enough, you also have to close the door and seal it shut. The only way you will move on is when you no longer have the ability to look back, when there is no way to restore a burned bridge, and when it is you who has made the final decision and honored it. You alone have the power to give yourself closure, and you alone are responsible for making sure all entry points are secure. If you believe that the power of closure lies within the other person, you will suffer in pain until they give it to you, which may be never. But if you know that the power is yours, and yours alone, the sooner you close and seal all doors shut, the sooner you feel ready to move on.

 

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only you can give yourself closure, not the other person. When you are struggling to calm your troubled mind and wondering if things could have turned out differently, it is probably because there are a thousand different what if scenarios running through your mind.  What if I worded my feelings differently? What if I gave him another chance? What if

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First, I Change. Then Everything Around Me Changes.

I am a big fan of self-responsibility because it is a major aspect of being a Goddess. I alone am responsible for the healthy and unhealthy situations I am in, and if I am not satisfied with a certain aspect of my life, I alone am responsible for changing the outcome. I do not control people, that is a major violation of being a Goddess and a sign of deep insecurity. But I am in full control of my body, reactions, responses, composure, and charting my own course, filtering people in and out of my life, deciding who to associate with and how much of myself to give.

 

If I am failing in a particular aspect of my life, I have a lot of work to do on myself (never on the other person). It is the New Year and I have been thinking about how I want to show up in 2019. In December I cleaned out a lot of the old habits, people, negative thoughts, attachments to things that were not getting me anywhere. Yes, I let people go. I never do this in a mean-spirited way, always with kindness, gratitude for their time and whatever they taught me, wishing them the best.

 

Two days before Christmas I decided to let go of an important connection. It was amazing, but we were diverging, the connection was never fully satisfying, and we both reached that point where we were testing each other on how much the other was willing to give or not give, frustrating to both of us. I could see that control was an important aspect of how he deals with people, and I have no desire to be controlled. I leave all situations as soon as I sense that control is the culprit.

 

Knowing that this is will never be enough, I let go- my most powerful practice of self-growth. Christmas was a bit of a downer, but it was okay- by now I have let go so many times, that I have come to expect an immediate improvement. Today is 10 days later, and a new person has entered my life, so I know that the faster and easier we let go, the faster we allow and welcome something new. For 2019, I assigned myself the responsibility to take a leap forward in being more open to new opportunities, more social (I have been a hermit through 2018), less judgemental, more accepting and more focused (focus has always been a challenge of mine).

 

To do this, I have to move past a lot of old people, habits and situations which comfort me in their stability but have no power to change me for the better. All these things are happening because I resolved to change myself first- not ask other people to improve for my benefit. The hard choices and changes in behavior have to come through me. The work is mine, the discomfort is mine, the willingness is mine, if any pain, that is also mine. Don’t look for people to ease your pain or share your pain with- that is cruel to other people. Instead, work on yourself and your own emotions.

 

In December I changed myself by taking an uncomfortable action. In January I already see positive results. A new person who has healthier qualities has already showed up. What aspect of yourself will you change first?

 

S

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The Power Of Speaking The Truth

How authentic are you? How true are you to yourself?  How often do you cheat on yourself?  We cheat ourselves every single time we adjust our words and our behavior to meet someone else’s expectations. It seems like a white lie, it is totally acceptable to avoid hurting someone’s feelings by softening our words.

 

But, the world is full of adults, especially women who are altering their opinions, softening their words, adjusting their positions on very important subjects to fit a role and meet others’ expectations.  On the rare occasions we actually say exactly what we think, a person is deeply offended even though our words are absolutely true. The discomfort is felt within us, they may be offended, but we are the ones who feel bad. But the bad feeling isn’t because we offended the other, the bad feeling is that we hurt ourselves not being comfortable with speaking our truth. Should I be true to you, or should I be true to myself?

 

Do I exist to meet your expectations? Is it my responsibility to make sure you don’t get offended? I didn’t come to this planet to meet other people’s expectations. I am not a fairy, it is not my job to make your wishes come true. Who are you to demand I be who you need me to be? What right do you have to ask that of me?  ‘But, I am your father, I am your mother, I am your husband, I am your child, I am your boss, I am your boyfriend, and if you want to be on good terms with me, you should be making me happy’. If you want to get along with others, you must continuously meet their expectations, without complaining and do it with a smile. You must never offend or you are a bully, disagreeable, a bad girl, a bitch, a witch, a scary woman.

 

Ask any woman how she is doing. The standard reply is: my husband is working too much, my kids are at soccer practice, my dad just had heart surgery. No, how are you? Difficult question, she now really has to consider, how am I? Very often, there is no authentic answer because most women have no idea who they are nor how they are feeling in the moment, and on the rare occasion that they do, the answer is totally unacceptable. Whatever answer she gives, it is quickly corrected by the other who knows better how she feels that she does.  I told my mother I feel run down and tired lately and she corrected me and said it is because I don’t come home and spend enough time with her. Really? Is that really why I am tired? No, the truth is I am exhausted because I spent a week with her in ER, multiple doctor’s appointments, did all her grocery shopping, took her to a specialist, picked up multiple prescriptions at the pharmacy, and drove 200 miles in a matter of days to be good to her. Being true to myself, I actually told her the truth, 100% the truth. Can you guess her response?  The response was an explosion of emotions, most of them toxic guilt peppered with insults, and a conclusion that none of her children love her and how unlucky she is to have a daughter like me. So what is easier?  I can see why the white lie “I’m fine mom” is easier to swallow than the truth.

 

But, what happens when we swallow the truth? We are the ones who swallow the toxin, not the other person. My response triggered my mom into an emotional outburst, but those were her feelings, her emotions, her guilt, her stunted growth, her limitations. So how did I honestly feel when I spoke my truth? I’ll begin by telling you how I felt before I spoke it.

 

Mom fell down on Christmas Eve and hurt her arm. I am not a doctor but I tried to feel for a broken bone. She was clearly in pain, but could move her shoulder, elbow and hand. Something was pinching, the elbow was sore, but the entire arm could move. Clearly it was not broken. She is 75 and obviously at that age bones break easily, so I suggested I take her to her primary physician in the morning and gave her an ice pack. She started crying that if dad was alive she would be taken to the emergency room, but since no one cares for her, she may as well deal with the pain quietly. At 11 pm we checked into ER, she was examined at 3am, and we went home at 6 am on Christmas morning. Apparently, my service to her was not good enough, I did not comfort her, instead I fell asleep by her bed while she suffered in pain, and drove home in silence on purpose to make her feel bad. She refused a home aide which I was willing to arrange to make it easier for her to shower and dress. Instead I did that for a week. My services included shopping, cooking, dressing, serving, meds, and cleaning the house, while her arm was NOT broken and still useable. But when I told her I am tired, apparently that was highly inappropriate and ungrateful of me. The reason I said what I said is because I have been practicing saying my truth for years, and truly felt it was honest. What is wrong with admitting you are tired?

 

For the entire week I was silent, doing what was expected. I was resentful when I received texts from my sister who was admonishing me for doing nothing for mom. I was angry when friends and neighbors called because mom told everyone she has no help at all. I was silent, but every cell in my body was seething with quiet rage. For an entire week I couldn’t sleep. I was either delivering her meds, or waking up in the middle of the night angry. My stomach hurt, my heart hurt, my throat was tight, I was explosive, while doing exactly what she expected. Why did she cancel the home care service? It is included in her health insurance plan. Physically and emotionally I felt like I was dead inside, swallowing my truth to make her feel okay, keep my sister calm, play the good daughter to friends and neighbors who have been hearing for years that I am the cold one.  But I am the one who visits her more than anyone, more than any sibling, friend and neighbor combined. Why am I not good?

 

I felt like shit because I was not being true to myself. I thought that in the last ten years I had learned how to protect my boundaries, say no without an apology, be quite alright disappointing people and not regretting it at all. Over the years my honesty started to feel empowering, and once I learned to own my truth 100% without ever backing down no matter what it costs me (friendships, jobs, approvals) I felt like a Goddess. People noticed me, admired me, commended me, wanted to be like me. Sure some were offended because I was not coddling their feelings, but emotionally healthy, strong, balanced people knew what I was doing and respected me for it.

 

I knew what I had to do. I had to tell my mom the truth. I corrected her, and I said “No mom, I am not tired because I don’t see you enough, I am exhausted because I spent a week being your daughter, your house keeper, your nurse, and you haven’t said thank you”. Silence. Disbelief, And then an attack. But never mind the blood bath. Getting all these toxic, bottled up emotions off my chest felt like such a relief. A week’s worth of anger, resentment, tension and tears gushed out of me. I didn’t exaggerate a word, I spoke accurately, truthfully and without a personal attack. Yes, she exploded in anger, but she could not argue with a word I said because it was 100% true.

 

Bottling up emotions hurts- we all know that. But what does adjusting our everyday opinions so we can fit other people’s reality do to us? What is the price of congeniality, of getting along?  If we want to fit in, we have to meet other people’s expectations or suffer the consequences.

 

Who are you? Do you even know? How often do you get in touch with your true feelings, not the appropriate feelings you learned to express on Facebook, but your own feelings? Do you have a quiet rage brewing inside you? When was the last time you allowed that rage to spill out and cleanse your mind and body of that toxicity? Has it been so long that you have forgotten what that tight knot in the pit of your stomach is? That tightness in your chest that has become a permanent part of your existence has been getting tighter and tighter for years. I bet you have forgotten what caused it in the first place.

 

We are sick. We spend lifetimes editing our true selves. It starts in pre-school when we are taught to sit still, not say anything that could hurt the other kid’s feelings, to not say anything that might embarrass our parents.  Women have it harder, because you want to be a good girl, not just to your parents but also to society, your lovers and especially to all those men who cannot have you. Yes, you have to please them too, because their bloated egos are not supposed to get hurt, they are the most dangerous and vengeful of all.

 

Just who the hell am I supposed to be? Being a good daughter means meeting your parent’s expectations of good grades, clean reputation, polite opinions, appropriate degrees, marriage eligibility and willingness to provide them with grandchildren, taking care of them into their old age and never complaining. Being a good employee means striving to be the best but never better than the weakest male, being ambitions but never so much as to be perceived as non-feminine, wanting to succeed all the while keeping the males feeling like men, never outpacing them, only being as successful as they can handle you being. Being a good wife is mindless oblivion, juggling a house, a child, a job, your own health and of course the man. Oh, I forgot, we still have to function in society and be soft, polite, inoffensive, feminine but not too feminine because then we are just asking for it, intelligent but not too intelligent for our own good, we are supposed to stand up for our own rights but never be called a feminist, that’s just going too far. What gives?  How much can one human possibly be? How far can I contort myself into the ridiculous expectations everyone has of me? The minute I say No, I get shock, disbelief, automatically I have disappointed someone who shouldn’t have been disappointed. Being a “good” woman means living with multiple personality disorder, trying to keep track who am I supposed to be to every person.  The minute she upsets somebody or refuses to meet their expectations she is cited with judgement and proof that she is not a good whatever. You know how tired I am of being good?

 

 

But in my quest to take better care of myself, honor myself and maintain healthy boundaries I started speaking my truth ten years ago. At the office, working in an all male environment, I quickly learned that the blunt unvarnished truth gained me more respect. Men hate to hear the word no, especially anything that could pinch their bloated ego. But I worked with a hundred bloated egos, and saw that when I am nice they take advantage of my niceness. If I am polite they mistake that for my weakness. If I am respectful, they take advantage of that too. So, I started stating the blunt truth. Guess who couldn’t handle that.

 

As long as my blunt truth was accurate, logical, backed up with evidence, they could whine but they could not do anything about it. I got called into HR several times, but I always spoke with provable facts. It was always the guys leaving HR with their tails between their legs.

 

In dating, speaking the truth is even more important, especially for women. We all know what it is like to be nice to a guy, only to have him misinterpret our niceness for whatever his wild imagination can conjure up. When I mean No, I back that up with at least a dozen displays of I am not interested.  For example, I never let anyone I don’t have an interest in to buy me a drink. Allowing someone to buy you a drink implies, ‘I might be interested, I’ll listen to what you have to say for 15 minutes’. I know as soon as I lay eyes on him that I will never be interested in him, so there is no reason for me to imply Maybe.  Guys can be morons, and a lot of women are afraid to say the truth, it is easier to sometimes listen politely than have him get lose his cool.  But the cost of tolerating a douche-bag for an hour, and allowing your presence to boost his ego is even more painful. Why should a guy who has no chance with you at all believe that he does? Is it better that he is offended or that I endure the conversation? Which option honors me more? I always choose Me.

 

My dad once said: “You have disappointed me”. I replied “You don’t say. I didn’t live the way you thought was appropriate?” He said “You didn’t. You could have re-married, you could have given me grandchildren”.  “Then I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I wanted to live it, I would have lived for you”. He said “You owed me that”.

 

Our parents are the main reason we are afraid to speak our truth, and the main reason we learn to bottle up our truth over the course of a lifetime. From a young age we are taught to please them, obey them, take their advice, adjust our behavior according to what suits them. Eventually we become good girls and good boys, we become appropriate. We then get into relationships and walk on egg-shells fearing that we will make the other person unhappy. Fairy tales tell us that happily ever after means making your partner always happy. How could we possibly do that without sacrificing our own happiness, and our own mental health?

 

You will find that when we speak our own truth, no matter how displeasing it is to the other person, we are living honestly, and are being the best version of ourselves. That is the only way we can be 100% authentically in touch with who we truly are. And there is no better relationship than when we have found a human who is 100% in agreement with our inner truth. My best relationships have been with men who could handle my truth. The admired me for it, respected me for it, and knew that I will always honor my own feelings over theirs. I won’t mince words, when a guy is an asshole I show him the evidence. Believe it or not, a real man can actually handle the truth without falling apart.

 

I don’t abuse men with tantrums and emotional outbursts, but I do say No, that’s not good enough, I’m not buying that, you are acting like a man-child, I’m not your mother, get over yourself. The person who cannot handle the truth is not your friend, it is an emotional manipulator who will always demand you adjust your opinion to make them feel better. Is that a valuable person to add to your life? Nope.

 

So I was leaving mom’s house after a long week of her sucking every ounce of energy out of me. I was never physically affectionate with my parents, at a certain age it felt artificial to me. As I was leaving she said ‘So, you don’t want to give your mom a kiss?’ I recoiled. Every muscle in me tightened, I walked over, not breathing and gave her a peck on the cheek. She said ‘You hate me.’

 

I walked away and said “I don’t care enough to hate you, but I don’t like you at all”.

And walked out. It felt good to be honest, and every single one of those words was my truth. I never told my mom how I truly felt, I am glad I finally got that off my chest. I am sure she did not feel good hearing it, but she never wanted to hear anything that contradicted her self-perception.

 

We can’t teach people how they should feel, our feelings are our own and theirs belong to them. We also can’t be responsible for their feelings without sacrificing our own stability. At this age it does not matter that I have a disapproving mother. I stopped trying to be who she imagined me to be decades ago. I don’t owe it to her to live in her warped reality, I have a reality of my own. I can only be true to myself, and welcome people who are comfortable with my truth into my life.

 

As always, no apologies, no regrets.

S

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