Thursday, May 7, 2009

Relationship Thursdays (Your Self & Relationships)

¡Hola! Everybody...
In response to requests, I will once again revert to writing about relationships once a week, or “Relationship Thursdays,” as I used to call it. I do this though I am single (by choice) and I don’t even own a cat!

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-=[ Your Relationship with You ]=-

“Blessed is he who can laugh at himself for he shall never cease to be amused.”

-- proverb

I can easily summarize everything I have ever written about relationships by stating that all relationships are ultimately your relationship with yourself and are often reflected by someone else. How well or poorly you get along with yourself will be directly reflected by how you get along with others.

I could stop writing right now and you’ll have almost all you will ever need to know about relationships encapsulated in that one small paragraph. But there is more, though the rest of all of relationships lies more in the how of things and not so much in the why.

Still here?!! LOL If the above is true, it should follow that if you’re not doing well with yourself, you will not do well with others. In addition, you may not recognize this and do what everyone else does: blame it on someone else. This lack of awareness, in my opinion, is at the heart of relationships of all kinds, but especially true in romantic relationships.

I have a friend who is attractive, intelligent, and ambitious. But she has one thing, however, that really does not serve her well: she’s driven by an inner critic that’s hard to abide. After going through a particularly traumatic relationship marked by psychological abuse and betrayal, she spent several years eating through her issues, resulting in obesity. She managed to get herself together enough to become motivated to lose the added weight and she lost all her weight and some.

My friend, instead of rejoicing in her achievement, sees only what she has not achieved. Her discussions are framed in negative terms -- coming from a sense of lack. When I mentioned this, she became defensive and asked that I refrain from trying to “analyze” her. I left it alone, but she’s now gaining weight again and I believe it’s her inner critic that gets the best of her. When I sit with her and listen deeply, what I hear most often is someone who feels “less than.” The core issue that got her to gain the weight has never been addressed. The weight was a superficial issue -- a symptom of a core issue. Inside, she was still that fat, worthless woman that no one can ever love.

My friend is not that different from many of us. I think we all have this inner critic that’s never satisfied. In some ways, this inner critic can be of service, helping us gather the motivation to make changes or excel. But most often, this inner critic is a form of psychological self-flagellation. In addition, your inner critic, or the conditioned dissatisfaction with yourself, is often directed at others in ways that drives people away or attracts those you don’t want in your life (often someone with a stronger inner critic than yours!).

My suggestion is that you make the decision to break the habitual patterns of unhappiness by accepting a simple truth: when you leave that someone else, you are stuck with whatever is inside of you that causes unhappiness. This is not a matter of placing blame on yourself; you’re not a bad person. In fact, once you own up to the actual source of your unhappiness, you are in a position to change and transform that source.

Life is both an art and a science. I like to say that I have the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet. This definitely doesn’t mean I’m “successful” at relationships. I am a deeply flawed man with many character defects with a predilection for anal sex. LOL I’m just coming to terms with the fact that if I become willing, the defects do not matter as much. I also understand that as I grow closer to myself, I become closer to you. And this will scare most people away, but that’s ok too, because I need the kind of people in my life who reflect my values and willingness to be open to the truth.

I have a friend who tells me that I’m a scary person. LOL I digress...

I was saying that life is both an art and a science. The art is to approach life as a spontaneous experience. The science is in validating your experience.

You have choices. You can choose to live in the present, be bound by the past, or suffer anxiety about the future. I have nothing to do with what you didn’t get from your father 20 years ago. My response last night has nothing to do with restrictions placed on your previous lover. Your boss’s attitude toward your project has nothing to do with the conditioned fear you brought in with the work.

Do you know who is doing the relating? It’s not you. At least not the original you. You might be relating through the ghosts of your past and quite possibly, the ghosts projected into your future. As a child, you may have enjoyed being frightened. As a conditioned adult you may be playing Halloween everyday of your life, and if you are not in touch with love, it can be horrific.

Let me go back to the issue of weight. Are you overweight, underweight, or perfectly balanced right now? One of the things you might want to be right now is honest. Chances are that you think you are not at a weight you would deem balanced, right? The obvious is that you can get to be thin, fat, or balanced, depending on your eating choices.

Relationships work the same way. You choose that which contributes to being emotionally thin, fat, or balanced. It is a choice to be happy or sad, in a fulfilled relationship or one of emotional pain. The menu is there with the choices that make you thin with hunger for more, or fat from gorging. Or you can choose wisely and this includes your relationship with your body, yourself, and others.

The miracle here people is called acceptance. When we come to that space where we can accept ourselves the way we are without judgment, we are then in a position to throw away our attachments to what we are not. Someone once thought I was crazy because I told them that in order for them to lose their fat, they first had to love it. Hate is a powerful binding force. Hate keeps you irrevocably attached to the object of your hatred. As long as you hate your body, you will never be able to make the changes you need to make. Your relationship with you begins with acceptance. Not acceptance in the sense of passivity, but acceptance as in letting go of the need to control.

Someone told me something the other day that made so much sense. She said that we are responsible for putting in the work, but we are never responsible for the outcomes. What she was trying to say was that we put in the work and the rest plays itself out. We can work towards a goal, but we are never guaranteed that the goal will be met no matter now much we strive. The art in life is not in reaching the end, but in the many steps you take along that journey. And so it is with our relationship with ourselves.

If you found any of this useful, let me know because I am not convinced people want to read shit like this...

Paz, Amor y Dinero,



  1. I was just writing about this topic last night... you did a wonderful job in conveying the message.

    Thank you.

  2. @Violent: Thanks for taking the time to read it and posting a response.

  3. It's cool. Great message.

    On the 'hating your body' part though.
    I can definitely see your point.
    However, if I didn't hate some of this fat, I wouldn't have made the decision to take it off. The hate for it gets me mad, and the 'mad' makes me work harder.
    I'm looking at the end goal, the final result.

    Sorry if I went off on a tangent lol

  4. @Coco: I see your point and I think most ppl would agree with you. I'm asking for a lot: to try a different way. Love is stronger than hate.


  5. Very true, my dear, very true.

  6. I think you did an excellent job of conveying your thought-provoking thoughts. I wonder if anyone ever reaches the level of self acceptance that you allude to. In any case, working toward that level of self acceptance can only make us better and more open to love.

  7. @Anonymous: yeah, I think it's a process of deepening self-acceptance. I will say this much: sometimes it makes one scary to people who aren't accepting of themselves. LOL!

  8. "In addition, your inner critic, or the conditioned dissatisfaction with yourself, is often directed at others in ways that drives people away or attracts those you don’t want in your life (often someone with a stronger inner critic than yours!)"

    ^^^ That right there made a lot of sense to me!! I'm in a space right now where there are a few things in my life that are unsatisfactory to me. I don't berate myself for these things, I just wish they were different and I know that I'll have to put in the work to make them better. However, I'm in a sort of "quasi-relationship" with someone who isn't necessarily happy in their life either. I think that he was attracted to me because I could become a sort of "project" to him. Someone that he could focus his energies on (as in trying to "help" me find some answers)so that he wouldn't have to address the issues in his life. We hooked up under less than ideal circumstances and I've watched as the relationship has degraded to the point that it's no longer working for either of us.

    Hmmm ~ I'm really gonna have to go back and re-read this again. It's funny how you don't realize something until it's actually pointed out to you!! So ... I'm letting you know ... Yes, this was useful to me!! :)


  9. @Steph: what you described could be the script to many, many relationships. Mine included. I'm going yo build on these posts in a progressive way., so that next week's post builds on this one. I might write my "Beyond Help" book after all! LOL thanks for the comment, it's much appreciated.


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[un]Common Sense