On Being One … And The Power Of Your Focus

What we focus on is what we perceive. But what we focus on is a choice we make each moment of every day. We may choose to focus on the negative or the positive of a person, a relationship, or an event, and more importantly, ourself. Could it be that that’s what “God” refers to when s/he talks about “free will”?

In my practice as a guide, I have noticed that, as a couple experiences problems, usually both partners choose to focus on what they don’t like about each other and the relationship. Of course, each forgets to remember that they are reflecting each other’s “flaws” and fears. More importantly, each forgets to remember that their focus is their choice and that each, or both, could choose to focus on what they liked about each other. Each, or both, could choose to focus on what thrilled them about the potential of the relationship at its very onset.

Unfortunately, choose to focus on what is “wrong” with your partner and the partnership is a vicious cycle. As you provide your focus energy, it grows on itself. Soon it acquires so much energy that it is unstoppable. So, why do we do it? Well, most of us never learned that relationships are simply an opportunity to learn about ourselves. We never learned that our partner simply reflects to us our own sense of self-worth. When we do learn or realize these facts, we tend to want to push them aside thinking that our partner does not at all reflect our own fears because these are difficult to acknowledge. So we continue to focus on the “negative” aspects of our partner. But even in partnerships that are not “meant to be”, there are aspects of the relationship and of the partner that are reflective of yourself and from which you could grow if you would just calmly reflect upon it.

Would relationships end if both partners focused on what they liked about each other and enjoyed about the relationship? Would relationships end if both partners choose to remember to communicate in each other’s love language? That’s a question that I guide my clients to answer.

What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.
Oprah Winfrey

As always, in love, Jean-Pierre

You can now follow me on HeartWhisper

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On Being One … And Of The Power Of The Word “Hope”

Some say that hope kills action. Therefore, hope is for fools because only fools wait around for things to come to them. Yet, the word hope carries much energy and, at some point in time, most among us have experienced hope. I daresay that we all, usually as we climb out of a point of despair, have reached out for hope. Either we, as a child, or a child we know, has experienced the hope for a red bike, a train set, a Barbie doll, etc.,  under the Christmas tree. And we have all experienced the hope of winning the lottery. But let’s talk about what we all hope for at some point in our lives … the hope to love and be loved.

When we reach out hoping for love, it is because we hope that it will make us feel better about ourselves. If we close our eyes and imagine ourselves with a loving partner, we can hear our body breathe a sigh of relief. A release of tension. A feeling that, if we are loved by someone else, it must mean we are worthy. For some of us, myself included, our relationships were also the opportunity to pour our love into someone else. So, is hope for fools?

Well, for me while there’s life there’s hope. That’s because when we look around at our world, we can choose to see only hope. When we meet someone on the street and they smile, they’re hoping to be accepted (i.e., loved at a certain level). When we hear of a new restaurant or boutique opening up, they’re looking to be accepted (i.e., loved at a certain level). When a child cries, s/he is hoping to be comforted (i.e., loved at a very high level).

As we go through our life, we are faced with myriads of difficulties and challenges. Some call them opportunities. One of the most difficult “opportunities” happens when a relationship ends. What follows, at the least for the one being let go, is a series of days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years, of despair. Dark days when it seems that the world has ended and there is … well, no hope to ever be loved again. But, at some point in time, we reach for hope. The hope that things will get better. The hope that we will be loved again. The hope that we are worthy of being loved. The hope that time heals all wounds. And when hope turns to knowing, then we’ve reached the end of the dark tunnel and we take action.

Can you have, and therefore lose, hope? After all, it is not a tangible thing that we can wrap around us to ward off the cold of a broken heart. I would argue that, much like sadness or happiness, hope is something we ourselves generate. It is the transformation of energy into thought. Because it is generated by you, you cannot “lose” it, but you can create it. It is simply the choice of a thought. Don Miguel Ruiz expressed it best perhaps when he stated that: “Suffering is a choice.” Is suffering the opposite of hope? I surmise that it is. Therefore, when you are suffering, generate thoughts of hope.

Easier said than done? Perhaps not. Why do we “lose” hope? Well, one way to lose hope is to lose your perspective. The end of a relationship sometimes may feel like the end of your life, but it rarely is. How long you choose to stay in suffering, will depend on how long it takes for you to choose hope. Look around you and see the beauty that surrounds you. How many friends have pulled for you during this time? Has the sun stopped rising in the morning? Is the moon no longer rising at night and casting lovely shadows upon our world? Do the seasons now fail to come and go? Is the Earth no longer spinning upon its axis and we’re no longer safe as we hurdle through space at incredible speeds?

Yeah, I know … blah, blah, blah … banalities which don’t do anything to end the suffering you are experiencing. But what if you stopped focusing on the end of the relationship and focused on the world around you? What if you stopped feeling unworthy and instead realized that your flaws can be your strengths? What if you realized that suffering is an option and instead chose joy? I know for my part that whenever one of my relationships ended, I went through a period of suffering until it dawned on me that I was wasting my time and energy missing someone that no longer cared about me! What was the point? She had moved on with her life and regardless of how much love I had poured into the relationship, I no longer existed, particularly if she was with someone else. Ouch, yeah, I know that hurts. So I refocused on the world around me. I started hoping, and then knowing, that my next relationship would be that much better and trusted God, God-consciousness, Source, etc. (it doesn’t matter how we refer to the Force that created this Universe) to have my back. And so I took action. I would smile for no reason. I would walk with confidence. I would say “hello” to people who crossed my path, some of whom would say it back and some of whom didn’t and I didn’t care for I wasn’t doing it for them … I was doing it for me. I would even sing at odd times and not care what others thought. I would breathe in the pure air that the Pacific Ocean brought to me (yes, I am lucky enough to live next to the ocean and that certainly helped me to get “hope”). And guess what? In no time, out of nowhere, a new relationship would come into my life.

Let’s put it this way, emotions are energies in motion. So, suffering has an energy signature as does hope. Other people around you will sense, mostly subconsciously, whatever energy you are emanating. Actually, it’s usually displayed on your face, particularly your eyes, and the way you walk and stand. Someone who is attracted to your suffering signature is also suffering and unlikely to be a wise choice for your next relationship. Similarly, someone who is attracted to your signature of hope is also in a state of hope and would be a wiser choice. Someone who emits a signature of knowing and of self-love would probably be the best choice. But s/he will not be attracted by an opposite energy signature.

Keep faith in your life. Know and feel that a power greater than any of us and that is all love and loving, cares for you and watches over you. Be patient with and kind to yourself. Stay grounded when the unexpected occurs. Remember the times you were happy and focus on the goodness around you. Pray or meditate (really one and the same), and have faith that you will always receive the love and support you need if you let go and allow it. The hardest thing to do is to let go. Let go!!!

As always, in love, Jean-Pierre

You can now follow me at HeartWhisper

On Being Single … And Of The Power Of The Word “Sex”

Aside from the words “Love” and “Fear“, the word “Sex” is probably the most powerful in any language. That’s because it always (and I am usually very cautious to use such an absolute term) evokes deep-rooted, and almost always negative, emotions about ourselves.

From the day that our parents taught us to hide our bodies, to the images we see of “sexy people” on TV, movies, newspapers and magazines, most of us carry a huge amount of shame and guilt about our bodies. How can it be otherwise when women are constantly bombarded with images of the “ideal body”? From a clothing manufacturer who sells size “00” (how can that even be possible?) and refuses to sell to women who are above a certain (normal) size, to magazines that tout “shapely” bodies without telling you how much photoshopping went into creating this image (see, e.g., Beauty Redefined – Photoshopping: Altering Images and Our Minds, Huffington Post – ‘Photoshopping Real Women Into Models’ Produces Some Unsettling Results, ABCNews – Time Lapse Video Shows Model’s Photoshop Transformation). To top it all off, myriad of food companies have perfected the art of making us overeat empty-calorie foods that sends the needle of the bathroom scales in a seemingly ever upward trajectory. Of course, there’s always the “diet” foods or health centers to solve those weighty problems (pun intended).

Don’t think for a second that we men are not faced with similar issues. Next time you’re in the check-out aisle at the store, take a look at the magazines marketed to men. From GQ, “teaching” us how to dress (to impress women enough so we can have “sex”) and behave, to Men’s Health, teaching us how to look buff (speaking of which, if you sign up, the publisher will send you “50 Hottest Sex Tips” … how can you lose?), without forgetting the ubiquitous Playboy, Penthouse, etc.  And let’s not forget the many commercials that sell whatever product through combinations, sometimes not so subtle, of attractive looking men and women and sex (how come we never see beer bellies and red noses in beer commercials?).

Sex sells and is the source of much anxiety because we feel we are less than worthy in our own bodies as we compare ourselves to the ideal images produced by the advertising agencies. Our anxiety is further exacerbated by the moral rules that were pounded into our heads as we grew up. Never mind that morality evolves with time. After all, it is not so long that we considered gladiators fights to the death in the Roman Colosseum to be “moral.” And even today, some individuals consider bullfighting, or dog fighting, or whatever fighting to be moral. But let’s get back to moral rules surrounding the sexual act.

Let’s face it, sex is something that has been going on since the dawn of the planet. Plants do it, insects do it, mammals do it, etc. Just about the only things that don’t have sex are inert things, like rocks and for all we know they do it when we’re not looking. Sex is something that goes around us all the time. Sometimes we even get to participate. Still, it is a highly charged topic with much shame and confusion. As I wrote earlier, most of this shame and confusion stems from certain moral rules that we were taught about sex as we grew up. A lot of these “rules” came from religious “teachings.” Think about it. Moral rules were also imparted unto us by our family. Then there were the “rules” we learned on the streets, so to speak. Either way, very few of these “rules” were and are meant to make us feel good about ourselves. Rather, they are all geared to make us feel less than worthy, unless we follow this or that religious tenet, or buy this or that product. What a bunch of crock! Sex can be, and usually is, incredibly fun, stimulating and exciting. It has the ability to release powerful energies, some dark. And why would “God” give us something that feels so good and then make us feel so bad about it?

No, before you go apoplectic on me, let me state – for the record – that I believe the sexual act is a sacred act. This is regardless of whether it is between a man and a woman, two women, two men, etc. In fact, in my view (and this hasn’t always been so), it is one of the most sacred acts that you can share with someone else. That’s because whenever we have “sex” or “make love”, I believe that we expose not only our bodies and hence our possible shame, but also our soul. I also deeply believe that there is a difference between having “sex” and “making love”, a topic to be explored later on.

And why do most of us wonder what is the proper number of dates to have sex? I still hear all kinds of different rules about this. Books have even been written on this topic. Should I have sex right away (and its corollary: “will he respect me afterward?” — funny, how men don’t seem to wonder about that)? Should I wait 3 dates, 10 dates, 100 dates? Should I wait until I get married?

Sorry to tell you, if you didn’t already know, that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to the question of “when.” I recognize that, for many, the answer will be based on family, educational and environmental backgrounds, all of which have shaped our beliefs system. But if you ask me, it comes down to whether you are a man or a woman.

Men and women instinctively understand the difference between having “sex” and “making love.” Men tends to want to have “sex.” It is in our DNA. It is part of the evolution of the masculine energy. And it is how the media teaches us how to be “manly men.” Women tend to want to “make love.” It is part of the DNA of the feminine energy and still mostly espoused by the general media. While it is the same act, it has different energies and very different significance. In the words of Dr. Patricia Allen“Making love” is based on the feminine principle of a relationship; the relationship is built on friendship and expressed through sex. “Getting laid” [having sex] is based on the masculine principle of sharing sexual gratification with a friendly partner.”

Now I recognize that women have been changing and evolving. Along with the women’s lib movement (long overdue), came the right to work and make money. So women no longer need to depend on a man to provide shelter, food, etc.  As a result, many women today are seeking to have “sex” rather than to “make love.” Still, I dare to think that deep within most, if not all women, they seek to “make love.” I’d like to hear from our women readers if I am mistaken.

From a man’s point of view, I would advise women to have “sex” only if you feel safe and secure with the man you’re with. I leave up to you to define the word “safe” which, again will be defined by your upbringing and may be once you are married, after 3 or 4 dates, etc.

Now, if we are here to love and be loved by our soul mate (for the record, I believe that there are many soul mates in our lives and that a loving relationship, even with a soul mate, requires dedication and commitment), I would also posit that, when a woman is looking to “make love”, then it should be with a masculine energy that commits to you and you only (referred to as a “monogamous” relationship). I recognize that some women may be afraid of this concept thinking that they’ll never find “the one” or that such a demand might drive away any potential mate. Seriously? You want to make love to a man who can’t commit? Or who is afraid to have this conversation? Then how can you possibly discuss a mutual future together? A long-term, and potential lifetime, relationship requires open and honest communication. If you limit these to surface conversations (i.e., what’s your favorite color), how can you build the relationship you crave?

By the way, science tells us that, when women have “sex”, their body releases the chemical oxytocin (see, Psychology Today – Oxytocin: The Love and Sex Hormone Can Be Deceptive). Science also tells us that, much like any addictive drug (and what is more addictive than “love”?), it can take your body much time (sometime even years) to detox from this “love” hormone. So, be careful, because even if “he” is not the “right” partner for you, oxytocin may fool you into believing he is. It’s not your fault. It’s a simple biochemical reaction.

Of course, partners being partners, sometimes promises are made and then broken. I have been cheated on, as many of us have. Without discussing the root cause or causes (cheating, and the reasons for it, is the subject of another post), if you have ever been cheated on, you know that you sensed it before it ever happened. The signs were there even if you refused to see and acknowledge them. When it happens you either need to truly forgive and never bring it up again, or walk away. The latter is usually easier though I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

Ultimately, we need to recognize that relationships are not about the other person, but about the relationship you have with ourself. Your partner acts as a mirror to your strengths and weaknesses and reminds you that you must love yourself before you can love someone else, A partner also reminds you that only you are solely responsible for your joy and happiness. Relying on someone else for this only sets you up for tremendous heart ache when the relationship ends. And, please, never get into a relationship (particularly marriage) just to have sex. That is a very, very bad idea. Marriage should be limited to people who are best friends, that have learned that they are solely responsible for their own happiness, that can love unconditionally (though not necessarily condone or accept every action of the partner), that accept each other as they are and support each other to become what each wants to be. People who know that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.

So, what do you think? When should you have “sex” or “make love” with someone? Is it better to have “sex” or “make love”? Is it possible to have a long-term, even lifetime, monogamous relationship? When do you, as a woman, feel “safe”? When do you, as a man, commit to “making love” instead of “having sex”? I look forward to your comments.

In the end, whether we’re having “sex” or “making love”, we all seek to love and be loved. We all do it because we believe it will make us feel better about ourselves, it will make us feel worthy, even if only for one night. And, remember: you deserve to love and be loved. You deserve a soul mate whom you love and who loves you. You deserve a relationship where there’s passion, trust and open communication. May the “right” partner cross your path, and may you be open to recognize him/her.

As always, in love, Jean-Pierre

You can now follow me on www.heartwhisper.us

On Being Single … And Of Being Lonely

So the relationship you thought would make happy forever has ended. You have been let go, fired from your role as partner, cast away in the world. Your world has shattered. You feel like crawling into a hole. You feel like closing the blinds in your bedroom and curling into the fetus position … forever. Forget about eating. Or perhaps, you are painting the town red. You’re partying like it’s 1999 (reference to a song for those younger folks). Either way, chances are that your behavior is based on feeling lonely or not wanting to feel lonely. The key word is “lonely.”

We tend to confuse being alone with being lonely, but they are very different words and carry very different power or energy. We can be alone and be lonely in a crowd (notice the word “and”). We can be alone and not be lonely. The choice is hard to make, but it is yours. There is a difference that we refuse to observe when a relationship has ended. After all, unless we love ourselves, you depended on your partner to feel whole, loved, even perhaps adored. It provided a glow in your heart, and that light has now been removed. Nothing but darkness. Not even a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Of course, as usual, our friends, family and the media (particularly the media) pound the idea that being alone is being lonely into our heads. From the time we were born, most of us have been surrounded by others: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, friends, enemies, teachers, etc. We are used to being cuddled at first, and judged worthy or unworthy later (mostly unworthy). Either way, we are surrounded by others. We are not used to our own silence, to quieting our minds and listening to our hearts.

For corporations, equating being alone to being lonely is simply a way to manipulate us to buy more of their products, and we fall for it. Anything to make us feel better. Some of us even run to alcohol and/or drugs, legal and/or illegal, to mask our pain and not feel lonely. But you have control of the on/off button of loneliness. Alcohol and/or drugs, illegal or legal, are not the answer, at least not long-term. They are simply a Band-Aid® we put over our wounds. A way to deal with our low self-esteem. A refusal to seek our own silence and discover who we really are; what our passions are; what our purpose is!

That is not to say that we should become hermits, go meditate in the desert for 40 days, join a monastery or convent, or a myriad of other choices that, as it turns out, may also be Band-Aids. What it means is that, it is wise to spend time alone rediscovering you, or perhaps discovering who you truly are for the first time.

For my part, it took me almost 56 years to understand this. I remember that when my most recent relationship ended, my partner said that she had never been alone and wanted to experience it. I remember telling her, among other things, that I hated being alone. Yet, I have passed several opportunities to date because I understand that I’ve never really met “me.” In all these years I have been fearful of discovering someone I wouldn’t like, never mind love. Someone who’s been told that he would always be a failure. But, as I am finding out, you can, and should, define the terms “success” and “failure”. When you let someone else do it for you, it is sure to disappoint you for their definition is likely to be different than yours.

Use this time of transition to be open to change and welcome new opportunities with open arms. Follow your path, your rhythm and desires. No need to explain them to anyone. In fact, best not to, for they will judge whether your choices are worthy or not. Most of the time they will judge them “unworthy” because your choices are likely to be different than theirs, and also likely to be different than the choices they are used to you making, and this will scare them. They will pull you down, try to talk you out of it. They will want to take partying, drinking, etc. Because that’s how they would deal and have dealt with this situation. They too are fearful of listening to their own voices.

One of the greatest fear in our society is to be alone. “Look, he’s eating by himself. He must be lonely. Poor guy!”  “Look, she’s coming to the movies by herself. She must be lonely. Poor girl!” “Look he’s in the coffee shop by himself.  Poor sap. Look at him drinking his coffee by himself!” Judgement about being alone and therefore lonely surrounds us. Its energy engulfs and suffocates us. The media expounds on the heartaches of the ones who are alone and extols the virtues of the ones who are paired. Do what feels good to you regardless of what others may think or believe. It’s your life. Define your success. (For the record, I love to be in a healthy relationship but I am taking my time to discover myself.)

The process is hard and usually takes a long time. Most of us give up along the way. If you stick with it, there will be light at the end of the tunnel and, once you have discovered yourself, you will be happy with yourself. You will develop a healthy dose of self-esteem and you will never feel lonely anymore.

Feel good and watch what happens. Say it with me: “I feel good” and watch what happens. Imagine feeling good and watch what happens. Simple? Oh, yeah. Hard? You bet. Possible? Most definitely yes. Be inspired. Go forth. Find pleasure in your silence. Find beauty in things that surround you. Feel the warmth of the rising sun. Delight in the colors of the setting sun. Go out of your way to make someone feel good about themselves (best way to feel good about yourself I’ve ever discovered). None of this is hard, but it requires living … getting out of bed … crawling out of the darkness and knowing that you control the on/off button of loneliness.

Remember: The light can only shine in the darkness. A pupa needs its cocoon to transform into a beautiful butterfly.

As always, in love, Jean-Pierre

You can now follow me on www.heartwhisper.us

On Being Single … And Of Why “Breaking-Up” Is Hard To Do

The word “break-up”, as well as “split”, is imbued with violence (see, On Being Single … And the Power of the word “Break-up”). How can it be anything but painful? But why is it so? And can it be any different? Could we simply see past the pain and view this as part of an evolutionary cycle? Let’s explore. But first a ground rule, so to speak. This post is about healthy relationships. We do not discuss those that are emotionally, physically or verbally abusive. That is a whole different and much more complex issue.

In an ideal world, the media (i.e., movies, romance novels, TV shows, fairy tales, etc.), our friends and family, as well as ourselves would know and acknowledge that most relationships have a purpose. Because they have a purpose, they have a time limit for, when the purpose is accomplished, the relationship, by default, must end. But we don’t live in an ideal world. So it is hard, sometimes very hard, to end a relationship especially if you are the one who is been let go. As an aside, may I suggest we stop using the words “break-up” or “split.” It is simply the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, as hard as it is to admit it.

In most relationships, the one initiating the end is also hurting. After all, s/he has invested as much time and effort, and sometimes more, than you have. So, s/he must justify his/her actions. We all must justify our actions if we are to go through with them, or we couldn’t. So s/he must find reasons why s/he is leaving. They may be valid reasons, or not. The one leaving sometimes doesn’t truly know why s/he is leaving. In any event, it doesn’t matter. Reasons will be offered.

The thing is that, in every relationship, and particularly love relationships, your partner mirrors your greatest hopes and your greatest fears. In relationship where the partners are not equally balanced, the one leaving simply could not live up to the image in the mirror. Because the one leaving does this unconsciously, the one being left then has to be told why s/he is simply not the right person. Why s/he is inappropriate in such and such behavior. In most relationships that have not been abusive, your soul knows that what is being said to you is simply not true. Assuming that feeling “bad” about yourself is a sign that you are not aligning with your soul, you cannot hear these words and feel good about yourself.

Of course, no end to a relationship would be painful if we had learned to love ourselves first. If we had been taught, or taught ourselves, that our happiness cannot be dependent on someone else. Nor can we be responsible for someone’s else happiness. But, most of us dislike ourselves at some level, whether we admit it or not. So, in a healthy relationship, particularly at the beginning, you feel your partner’s love, and sometimes even adoration, and you bask in its glory. You feel love, love that you may feel has been withheld from you for a very long time, perhaps since childhood. And like a drug, which love is as it releases all kinds of “feel good” chemicals in your body, you become dependent. But can anyone consistently and over a period of decades really make you “happy”? For some it is “yes.” My parents, in their dysfunctional way, have been married for 56 years and though my father has told my mom “I love you” only twice (they say it every day now since I suggested they did), they are definitely in love. For most of us, the answer is a resounding “no.” And when the romance ends, here come our insecurities at a gallop. Hop on the horse and ride away: “I feel despair.” “How will I ever find another who will love me as much?” “Will I find another?” “Why wasn’t I good enough?” “What’s wrong with me?” And many, many more thoughts gallop through our head.

That is, when love is withdrawn and you are not in touch with self-love, you go into withdrawal, much like a drug addict. This does not happen when we feel good about ourselves no matter what happens.

But the realization sooner or later comes that you have no control over what your partner did or will do. You have no control over whether s/he will reconnect with you soon, later or never. You have no control over when s/he will date or whom they will chose to date. It’s out of your hands and, frankly, none of your business at this point. Another very hard lesson to learn as we desperately hang on to the hope of a second chance … which, admittedly, sometimes happens. In which case, you also have no control over whether the second time around will be better than the first time, despite what the song says.

Is a solution finding something that makes you feel good and focusing on it to the exception of everything else? I don’t know. It’s certainly what I’m endeavoring with all my heart (pun intended) to do and I will let you know. Is a solution sitting in silence and delving deep into your soul and examining the reasons this hurts so much? Again, I will let you know.  While some of us endeavor to do this, most of us have tendency to wallow in the situation. Moreover, most of us find the meditative silence too big a burden to bear.

Deep introspection (mediation if you prefer) gives new information and hope of a better and brighter future with a partner that will know to love him/herself and that she is the source of his/her own happiness. As I develop the same knowledge and skills, I know that that type of relationship may last a lifetime. And, if not, because I will have learned to love myself and be happy by myself, it simply won’t hurt. In the end, perhaps we would be wise to remember that we have two choices: Be without this person and be happy, or be without this person and be unhappy. The choice is yours.

And, to paraphrase a famous quote, remember: lf you love someone, set it free with love and light. If s/he comes back, cherish it. If s/he doesn’t, it never was meant to be forever, but it was meant to teach you if you are open to it.

As always, in love, Jean-Pierre

On Being Single… And Of The Choice To Hate Or Love

Wiser men than I, have said that there are only two emotions in life: Love and Fear. Anything that is not love is based on fear. Greed is the fear of not having enough. Bigotry is the fear that you’re different and therefore you will hurt me. Etc.

When we complete a cycle of love (commonly referred to as “break up”), theory tell us that we have to go through 5 phases. While not everyone experiences these phases in the same order, they are: 1) Denial (and isolation in case of death); 2) Anger; 3) Bargaining (you want to call/text him/her and beg for a second chance); 4) Depression, and 5) Acceptance. These were proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying”, published in 1969. Studies have shown that these are universal. That is, these are experienced by everyone on this planet of ours when mourning or grieving.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go directly to phase 5? Yes, indeed, soothing to the heart. However, most of us, if not all of us, at some point in time will go through phase 2 “Anger.” But is there a wiser choice? Does the anger really impact anyone other than yourself? After all, unless you were to physically act on this anger (which I strongly discourage), your ex is not aware of this anger and has moved on. Wouldn’t it be better to replace it with love? Hard? You bet! Impossible? No.

If you are hurting because of the end of a relationship, please consider sending your ex love. I’m not talking about sending flowers, cards, bonbons, poems, or other assorted paraphernalia we associate with romantic love. I’m simply referring to the act of thinking of him/her and sending him/her thoughts of love. Does it work? Well, we know everything in the Universe is made of energy. So those waves of love energy you send him/her will be received. Whether your ex is receptive to them at the time is a different subject. I know one thing, it won’t hurt you and, in fact, will help you. Anger raises the blood pressure, releases hormones which have a detrimental effect on your health, prevent you from thinking clearly, and have a host of other negative side effects. Love releases hormones that have a positive effect on your health. S/he is highly unlikely to come back (the relationship is over – phase 5: acceptance), but I can almost guarantee you will feel better. And, most importantly, by sending love you will receive love. You are much more likely to find your next romantic partner when in a state of love than a state of anger. And, who knows, your former love partner may come back. If so, there is likely to be lots of land mines you both will have to navigate. But that is the subject of a different post.

In the words of H. G. Wells: “Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger. Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.

As always, with love, Jean-Pierre

On Being Single … And of Green Grasses and Fences

When we are children, we are exposed to fairy tales where a white knight comes to the rescue of the damsel in distress and after slaying the proverbial dragon, they live happily ever after. Girls play with Barbie whose boyfriend is Ken, the “perfect” man. Boys play with GI Joe “saving” the world, and grow up with the likes of “love them and live them” James Bond. We come to believe that the “perfect” love is out there. Because we also live in a disposable society where even toasters have a date by which they will fail to operate, we are quick to dispose of a relationship that is apparently “broken.” (For the power of that word in relationship, see: On Being Single … And the Power of the Words “Break-Up)

Thus, we come to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. That the neighbor has a better car, house, children, partner, etc. Problem is, when we jump the fence, we discover that the grass is greener because it’s artificial (easier on the knees allegedly, but not Earth-conscious). Moreover, as we look up, we see there’s yet another fence. And, if we were to peek above that fence, we would discover yet another fence, and another, and another, ad infinitum.

Is it any wonder that a lot of us are single and, for the most part, lonely because we have “failed” to find our “soulmate”? Women tend to see the potential in a mate … that is the ephemeral white knight. They get together and hope that he becomes what they think he can be. Men take women as they believe them to be, hope they don’t change (especially physically), and always look for that nurturing environment they only knew in the womb and as a child. Either way, we idealize our partner based on the images of what the ideal mate is supposed to be, as remembered from our fairy tales and later projected by the media. Soon, reality opens the doors wide and steps in. Whom we thought we were with turns out to have flaws. Imagine that? A human being that is flawed!?! The man is gaseous (a polite way to say he farts), has a “nothing box”, and doesn’t know how to “communicate.” The woman expects the man to be the provider and to listen emotionally (hint: men listen in order to uncover problems and solve them … it’s in our DNA). Both parties, regardless of age, still have the image of the ideal mate in mind and neither has been taught, nor is prepared, to deal with the flaws. After all, as I noted, we are a disposable society and what surrounds us has a “use by” date. Why should it be any different for our mate? If it doesn’t work, don’t fix it … throw it away and “buy” another one. Jump the fence, yet again.

Would our relationships be better (last longer?) if we weren’t so busy doing things to take the time to know each other, to talk, to hug? Would cooking a meal together, setting a dinner table together (complete with candles and soft music), dressing up (we’re not talking tuxedos and evening gowns, nor suits and cocktail dresses, but dressy casual would be nice, no?), shutting off the TV and looking into each other’s eyes while having a real conversation go a long way to cementing a partnership? I don’t know. I do know that eating while sitting in the front of the TV does not. Nor does wondering if a different relationship would “complete us.”

A partnership is a bond. A commitment you make every morning when you wake up to be together, to talk, to listen, to hug, to kiss and to love. The ideal mate is a figment of our imaginations reinforced by our fairy tales, movies and TV series. We are all flawed. Successful partnerships are made by people who recognize their flaws and willingly accept them while working on them. Successful partnerships are self-reliant (I know, ironic isn’t it?) and each partner understands that their own self-love allows the other partner to expand and love him/herself.

So, before you even prepare yourself to jump the next fence, perhaps you should peek over it and see what kind of grass, if any at all, is there. Then peek behind you and see whether a little fertilizer (i.e., sincere compliments, taking the time to listen, taking the time to understand your partner’s fears, taking the time to truly be together) may make the grass in your yard greener.

Of course, there is always the relationship that should not remain. There are so many wonderful relationships out there that it’s hard to find words to describe them. At the same time, there are a few that are so dismal, that I wouldn’t want to find the words to describe them.

As usual, I welcome all comments, feedback, discussions and questions. In the meantime, hoping you have plenty of fertilizer for your grass, I remain in love and light with you, Jean-Pierre