Avoid Fighting with Constructive Talking

2192928_f496It hit me one day when discussing a fight one of my girlfriends had had with her boyfriend… My boyfriend and I had never had a fight. Sure, we had our disagreements and there were certainly times when we didn’t see eye to eye, however, this had never resulted in a typical girlfriend/boyfriend fight. I would be lying if I said my relationship was perfect, and there are some interests and lifetime goals both big and small that we end up on opposite sides of the spectrum regarding, but no matter how different our views may be, we choose to talk it out. And when I say talk it out, I mean TALK. No yelling, no name calling, no negative tones, no storming off, no pointing fingers. In the same light, there is no brushing the issues under the carpet either.

It took a long time to get here. Past relationships would result in ongoing arguments that would escalate to fighting. They very much involved pointing the finger and placing blame. If you expect for your significant other to actually LISTEN to you, then you need to speak to them in a way that to them, is worth listening to. As soon as we begin to point fingers in statements such as, “You don’t do this”, “I don’t like when you do this” we automatically disregard any responsibility we might have in the problem, and place full blame onto the other person. It takes time and practice to get in touch with your inner self and learn to talk to others as you wish to be spoken to. Sure, I’ve flown off the handle before, I’ve been in sour moods before, I’ve lashed out before. One thing I have done with this current relationship and what I hope to continue to do is that when things like this do happen, I apologize. I am lucky that these scenarios have not happened often as I have learned to analyze situations prior to reacting to them, which allows me to fully understand what exactly is bothering me, to differentiate whether it is a NEED or a WANT, and to decide what exactly I wish to gain from having the conversation. It is based on this analysis that the lack of fighting has occurred within my current relationships both with significant others, friends and family.

With that said, what SHOULD we do to avoid a full-fledged fight? Firstly, it is important, as mentioned earlier, to decide whether the reason as to why you are upset is a need or a want. If it is a want, it is important to give the scenarios some serious thought, which is where the idea of “choose your battles” comes into play. If it is a need, meaning that the situation is very important to you and you may not be able to shake how upset, sad, angry or disappointed you are without discussing it, then one must choose to discuss the issue in a calm and appropriate manner. After making the decision and discovering that the issue at hand is a need, then one must figure out why exactly it is upsetting you and to think of possible solutions to the problem. It is upon seriously analyzing your feelings and thoughts and deciding why you are upset and how you might feel better about the situation that you would present the issue to your significant other (or anyone you might have an issue with for that matter). And lastly, once all you’ve had to say had been said, it is important to bring the conversation back to your relationship, why it is important and what you can do yourself to improve your role in the partnership. This also provides the other person an opportunity to say anything they might be holding on to or upset about that can then be discussed and resolved. It sounds so simple when in hind-sight, it’s much more difficult to take the time to go over the situation and analyze how you might present it, then to simply react and say the first thing that comes to mind when regarding the issue.

At the end of the day, who wants to fight anyway? It’s way too much effort, it causes way too much drama, and do we end up with what we want in the end? For the most part, I would like to say no. So put that blame finger away, take a step forward and present yourself with honesty. With practice, only good things should come your way.

Image from: http://livenlearn87.hubpages.com/hub/10-Reason-Why-it-Might-be-Time-to-End-Your-Relationship

The One or the One of Many?

Sometimes I wonder, is there one true love out there for each person on this earth? Are we meant to test the waters through dating in order to rule out various men and women until we find the one? And if this is the case, will we all have the opportunity to meet our one and only and live with them happily ever after? If only life were that easy!true-love-00-couple[1]

A friend had once told me about a middle aged woman she knew who had married over 4 times and had divorced over 4 times. She was described as a beautiful woman with a great personality to go with it. Most people would react to this woman’s continuous marriages and divorces with judgmental disgust and distain. I can’t say I didn’t think negatively towards her situation either. But believe it or not, this woman had no regrets about her flames and failed relationships. She got to experience many first dates and first kisses. She got to experience that butterfly feeling you get when first starting off a relationship multiple times. She got to experience the joyful bliss of a wedding and marriage over 4 times. All in all, this woman explains how fortunate she was to have experienced love so many times, and to share those special moments that a couple does with many loves or her life. At the end of the day, she was happy to have loved so many than none at all. When explained that way, it didn’t sound so bad.

So who are we to judge between what is the right way and wrong way? I had always pictured my life in that cookie cutter, Pleasantville kind of way. Dating few men, meeting my one and only and getting married and having children. Yes, this ideology works for many, but who said this was the right or best way? I am lucky to have loved two men in my lifetime as I slowly reach my mid twenty’s. Does this mean that I will love a few more until I find the one? I have no idea. I always thought it would be better to remain single and go through less heart ache while waiting for that one special person but the more I reflect, the more I begin to see that it might not be so bad dating and forming relationships in order to learn what I do like from a relationship and what I don’t like. To learn what kind of men I am compatible with and learn what my deal breakers are. Through relationships, you learn more about the person you are within a relationship, you learn about compromise and you learn about your wants vs. your needs. Is there really a one true love for us all? I think that depends for each person and their belief systems. I think it is possible to love more than one person in your lifetime and I see no flaw in this. As for the one… who knows? But for the time being, lets continue to love with open hearts and open arms because what is life without love?

image from: http://www.lipglossculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/true-love-00-couple.jpg

The Opposite of Loneliness

What is the opposite of lonely? I asked myself this question after I began reading Marina Keegan’s book of short stories and essays entitled, “The Opposite of Lonely”. In this book, she describes the opposite of lonely as her current state; a state of tranquility while completing her studies at Yale University as a writer. It was a state where she was surrounded by support from friends, professors and her family. It wasn’t what I would consider a ‘typical’ answer to the question, as I figured many would touch on the significance of their relationships and the intimacy that corresponds with it. I hadn’t expected it to be an answer regarding the happiness and comfort that comes with school surroundings and the journey towards a desired career. This question really got me thinking, what is my opposite of loneliness?   Opposite-Loneliness[1]

It had hit me a couple of months back when I had started at a new yoga studio and was attending religiously three times a week. Prior to my current relationship, I had been single for about five years and although I learned a lot during that time and I can appreciate the experiences that came with singlehood and the desire that came with finding my inner identity, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of loneliness now and again. Since being in my new relationship, as much as I want to be able to count on someone other than myself and allow myself to become vulnerable to others, I also want to be able to stand on my own two feet, regardless of my relationship status. So it was there in that yoga studio during my evening shavasana that I realized, I was no longer alone. Not just because I had someone to hold at night, but because no matter who came in and out of my life, no matter how much love or pain I felt, I would never be alone; I would always have yoga. It sounds silly but it was a relief knowing that no matter how much I loved someone and no matter how much pain I would feel if that love was no longer there, I knew I would always have my yoga practice to keep me grounded, to keep my strong, to help me to relax and to love me back.

I had found my opposite of loneliness prior to having read this book. However, after having read this book, it made me realize the varying opinions and experiences of what the opposite of loneliness is. With that said, I decided to ask some friends what they thought the opposite of loneliness is.

One friend touched on the idea of social atmosphere as being the opposite of lonely and when asked for a specific scenario when she felt this way, this is what she said:

“An example would be like having heaps of different people contacting you and making plans etc. Maybe like before I came to Canada [from Australia], I was catching up with everyone before I left, so I was really social. So to me that would be the opposite of lonely.

One friend kept his answer short and sweet, to him, the opposite of lonely is:

“Waking up beside someone you love and loves you back”

And another simple and to the point response:

“The opposite of lonely? Probably when you’re surrounded by family or friends.”

Two friends had associated the opposite of lonely with social gatherings, specifically Birthdays. They answered the question with saying:

“My 23rd birthday when a lot more people I expected came to celebrate it with me. I felt like I mattered to other people. I had a lot of fun with friends that night”

and

“I guess at a big gathering with friends or family. Like thinking more about my birthday party because a bunch of people come out to celebrate with you and show that they care and are a friend”

One friend took a more sensitive approach to answering the question. Her parents had both passed away when she was young and so this is what she had to say about being the opposite of lonely:

“I honestly never feel overwhelmed with completeness…I just feel okay about situations. I’m like the worst person ever to ask … But I can say that when my mother died everyone came together to support me and made sure I was okay and I knew I wasn’t alone. (Even if I was feeling the most alone at that point in my life)”

Being the opposite of lonely has different meanings to different people. This feeling is embraced through social gatherings, time shared with family and friends, comfort received in times of need, embracing a state of completeness when achieving career goals and even embracing one’s Zen during yoga. I enjoyed reflecting on my own thoughts of this idea and enjoyed hearing what others had to say about it. So ask yourself, what is your opposite of loneliness?

Sources:

Novel: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Image from: http://www.buzzsugar.com/photo-gallery/34465740/Opposite-Loneliness

Quotes were from direct text messages I recieved

“Why Chivalry is Dead”: A Review

            After reading John Picciuto’s entry entitled: “Why Chivalry is Dead, From a Man’s Perspective” on elitedaily.com, a million thoughts popped into my head. In this entry, Picciuto discusses his conservative upbringing and learning the etiquette women should hold towards themselves and towards men. He discusses men’s lack of chivalrous acts that were once considered the norm such as paying for dinner, holding open doors and pulling out chairs etc. He makes a very forward point by stating that in this day and age, that dating realm no longer exists but instead, men and women engage in loose forms of intimacy (if you can even call it intimacy anymore). This has now, according to Picciuto, become the norm, which happens on the regular. I think Picciuto takes this a little bit far as relationships still exist. People meet, engage in conversation, date, and if all is well, establish a relationship. Intercourse may or may not have come to play somewhere in this process, but reality still shows that true relationships still exist that are not based solely off of sex. In addition, even with technology playing a large role in relationships through online dating (which yes, some of which are purely based on a “hook up” nature), traditional dating still exists whether it is going to dinner, a movie, for coffee or for a drink.

beingagentleman             I think Picciuto is valid to some degree, but it was when I read this that a horrible shiver ran through my entire body, which resulted in curled toes and griped fists. “The real problem here is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away with adhering to the bare minimum. We no longer have to put in the effort of flowers, chocolates, dates, etc., and if we do, we come off as stage-five clingers.” What Picciuto is really trying to say is that it is women who are at fault for chivalries demise. What Picciuto neglects to point out is the fact that dating/relationships, whether chivalrous or not, is a two way street. Both parties are to blame here, not just women. I have met both types of women and both types of men: those who engage in common etiquette and chivalry and those who don’t. It’s a matter of values, how the individual was raised, and what the individual is ultimately looking for. Why do men get to call the shots in regard to casual sex? Do men really believe that all women want the romantic relationship and when engaging in casual sex, are merely giving in to men’s needs? This may happen for some, but not for all. Women make choices just as men do. Women choose to engage in casual sex just as men do. This should not be frowned upon, as it is merely a matter of choice. Just as some choose to wait to engage in intercourse until there are in a solid and stable relationship. Whether sex occurs on date one, date three or date twenty, this does not make women receive less or more than they deserve. Just because women engage in casual sex does not mean they don’t believe in chivalry and does not mean that they have lowered their self worth. It means that they are in tune with their sexual needs, which alongside men, need to be met. Maybe a relationship will come further down the road, but women are allowed to be focused on the here and now just as men are.

            Ultimately, relationships, dating and sex are a choice. You decide what you deserve and base your actions on such. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun here and there outside of a relationship. Chivalry is not dead to those who still wish to experience it. We are only lowering our standards if we are going against our values and against what we feel we deserve.

Original entry by John Picciuto: http://elitedaily.com/dating/sex/why-chivalry-is-dead-from-a-mans-perspective/

Image from: http://liveabundantly.ca/r-e-s-p-e-c-t/