What I learned from “The perks of being a wallflower”

perks

Earlier in the week, while trying to explain the term “Wallflower” to Luke, I came across the movie “The Perks of being a Wallflower”.  I was ecstatic; finally a movie that could describe me and make sense of this dysfunctional brain-to-mouth filter!

This morning Luke and I watched the movie and what I got out of it was completely different from what I expected.  Of all the issues covered in the movie, there are three statements in it that really hit home with me:

Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?

Is that not an age-old question?  It is one that has certainly been around for as long as parents have had to sit by and watch their children fall in love with the wrong kind of person.  Love is the one thing in humanity which will have a different definition every time the question is asked.  The one true description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  Unfortunately we are only human and it is tough to not allow emotions and memories and baggage to ruin that definition for us and we say “well, if only it was that simple”.  How many times have you, as an outsider, stood by and watch the definition of love being twisted and turned to suit the person in control?  Let’s face it all relationships have a dominant and a submissive.  There is always someone who needs to get more out of it and pulls the strings to his or her heart’s content in order to feel like they are getting a fair deal.  There is always someone who takes a step back in order to keep the peace or simply to make the other person happy, even if it comes at a costly price to themselves.  In an ideal world, it would be a complete 50/50 scenario, but how often does that really happen?

Let’s take a moment to look at how relationships start.  Men are visual creatures while woman are emotional creatures.  Generally speaking, relationships start out with the sugar-coated version of ourselves and there is no denying the fact.  How many second dates do you think there would be in everyone came out on the first date and said all there was to say?

Hi, my name is Suzie and I suffer from paranoid schizophrenic tendencies, but refuse to have myself tested as my denial is my stronger than my conscience.

Hi, my name is Mark and I have severe trust issues and it does not matter how far this relationship goes, I will never trust you.

Would life not have been a lot easier if you could plug into someone’s psyche from the get go and know all there was to know, the good and the bad?  Yes, discovering things about each other as love grows is a beautiful thing, but it would save us from a world of hurt if we could know beforehand that we would be wasting our love on someone who is not prepared to change or not prepared to settle down.  Unfortunately we only start to discover the warnings signs once it is too late and we are already completely and utterly in love.  Or, even worse, the warning signs are there from the get-go, but we choose to ignore them, thinking that we are over sensitive or paranoid or too judgmental.

So why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?  It is something that I have always wondered about.  As mentioned in the past, I am completely in love with love.  Unfortunately, however, I do not understand it.  Is it a matter of fate or life handing you a raw deal when it comes to love?  I don’t think so.  There must be more.  There must be a reason why some people meet the love of their life in middle school and live happily ever after, while someone else goes through four or five marriages to only find happiness at 60.  Why does that happen?

It is because we choose to only accept the love we think we deserve.

Now that is a loaded statement!  In itself, the statement makes it clear that we choose the relationships we are in.  Whoa, stop right there!  Do you mean to tell me that the woman who continually find herself dating an alcoholic or drug addict or wife beater, chooses to be in that situation?  No, you did not intentionally go out looking for someone like that to date, but when you see the warnings lights, you choose to ignore them, thinking that this time around it will be different.

Falling in love is easy, it happens in the blink of an eye.  As mentioned above, the initial sunshine and roses disappears after a while and we see the person’s true colors emerge as we grow on each other.  It is when the true colors emerge that we need to take a step back and decide whether that is really what we want or deserve, and this is the difficult part.  That is the part which takes a lot of character.  The problem comes in when we do not have a clear sense of what we deserve.  The little foxes that hide in the darkest corners of your soul all have different names: insecurity, low self-esteem, confidence issues, to name but a few.  These little foxes emerge and overcome reason, telling you that it’s not as bad as you think or you won’t find someone else who will be willing to accept you and love or it will get better once we have overcome this one bridge or, aghh, the list is endless.  So we stay and hope and dream and pray that we are right and that things will change and that the little voice inside is wrong.

Every time it happens, you fall for the beautiful lies and choose to believe that things will change.  Every time it happens, you put all your hope and dreams into that one little promise: it won’t happen again.  Until next time and the time after that and the time after that.  We think that you are not worthy of more.  We think that this is the best we will ever have.  We think that we have been placed there to make a difference.  So, we choose to accept the love we think we deserve and stick around for more of the same.

On the flip-side of the coin, could it then also be that we choose the fight the love we think we do not deserve?  How else do you explain it when someone is presented with true love and he / she then fights against it, fight to protect and guard themselves?  How else do you explain someone refusing to let down the walls built around their heart in order to let someone in and embrace the warmth of love?  Is it because they feel that they do not deserve that love?

It is one and the same condition if you think about it actually.  One the one hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve better and on the other hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve as much.  So they stay and try to make it work.  They love and laugh; they scream and fight; they try to make sense of it all and things just spiral more and more out of control until one day…

If you are one of the lucky ones, you wake up one day and you feel dead inside.  You wake and can’t wait to get to work, just to get away.  You dread the end of the day because you need to go home and don’t know what to expect because you are just so tired of fighting.  One day you wake up and you decide you need to get away for a while, just so you can put a temporary end to the escalating pain and suffering.

If you are not one of the lucky ones, you just don’t wake up and there is no time to fix it all.  You don’t wake up because you were killed in a moment of rage and you never have the opportunity to choose differently.  If you are not one of the lucky ones, the little foxes win and you are destroyed as was their intention from the start.

There comes a point when you realize you are not a sad story and that you are more and deserve better

The human nature intrigues me immensely.  It is just fascinating that, caught in one body, you can have a heart telling you one thing and a head telling you something completely different.  The conflicting emotions that inhabit our bodies can become so overwhelming that we just want to run.  Then you run and you run, but it doesn’t matter how far you run or what extent you go to, those feelings and emotions run with you, taunting you.  You think and think until you can’t think no more and still the emotions conflict each other.

When do you know that whether what you are doing is the right thing?  Is it right for you based on past experiences or based on where you want to go? Is it right for you out of selfish reasons or is it right for you because you are growing?

It would have been so much easier if there was a program you could plug your emotions into; a program which could decode the emotions until one true answer remained.  How simple would that be?  We would see a significant reduction in the divorce rate.  We would definitely see more tears of joy and less anguish.  Life would just be better all round.

If only it was that simple right?

Once you get to the point where you realise that you deserve better, you have reached the point where you can start to turn things around.  I personally feel that psychology should be made available free of charge (ya right, if only, I know!) to every person who wishes to enter into a relationship and couples therapy should be a definitely pre-requisite before things become serious.

Decoding the human mind and human heart is something which we will never be able to do.  Even the best psychologist can only base their diagnoses and treatment on what they are being told.  So how do we ever really know someone?  How do we ever really and truly understand?

I guess that is something which remains to be answered.

7 Deadly Sins of Relationships

Ever since Jacques and I met, we have placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of communication in relationships. Between us we have witnessed, and were somewhat intimately involved in, 13 marriages; that, I’m sure you will agree, is a huge learning field to get your information from with regard to making a relationship work. Let me clarify the number: my only marriage to date, which ended after 12 years, my grandparents, who have been an inspiration to me of what marriage is supposed to be like and the remaining 11 were broken marriages our parents were involved in.

No wonder then, that it has been one of our big questions, quests even, to find out what it takes to make a relationship work. What is the secret ingredient?

I obviously can’t speak for everyone and I fully realize that there is valid reason, even if only a one sided one, for any marriage or relationship to come to an end. We all have our share of circumstances and emotions to deal with; circumstances and emotions which can never really be fully understood by any outsider. I guess we live in a society in which it has just become all too easy to give up; it is rather more acceptable to walk out than it is to stick around and fight for what you want.

Last night we decided to do the chick-flick thing and watch “The Vow” – O My Hat! Waterworks galore!

Now, if you have never seen the movie, do yourself (and your partner) a favor; get the popcorn, settle in for the night and prepare to be moved!

The Vow tells the true story of a young married couple who are involved in a car accident. After waking up from her coma months later, the wife does not remember her husband or even the fact that they are married. Despite being presented with voice messages, photos and even a video of their wedding ceremony, she can’t remember ever having met him. Her memories goes back about four years ago, to a time when she was still living at home, enrolled in Law School and engaged to someone else. It is then up to her husband to make her fall in love with him again and remember why they got married. Now that takes dedication!

Naturally, the movie got me thinking. We are all human and inevitably we all make mistakes. If you want, these mistakes can be categorized and filed and rated and such, to fit into two main groups; either it is forgivable or it is unforgivable. Perhaps we will call them “The 7 Deadly Sins of Relationships”

  • Forgetting to by milk – This one is not really something which will destroy your relationship, but if you have a full out row about something as small as this, it is a sure sign that you have some underlying issues. Get to the point and do something about it. You still have time!
  • Not pulling your weight around the house – Again, not something that in itself will destroy a relationship, but combine this little monster with underlying stresses of everyday life and soon those stinking socks you keep lying around everywhere will multiply with the toilet seat being left up and, boom, you have disaster!
  • Good lies – This, I will admit, is a tough one. Say you are planning a surprise birthday party for your partner. You tell your partner that you are going to visit your aunt on a Saturday afternoon. In actual fact you are going to the bakery to pick up the cake and then to the venue to decorate and get everything ready. While you are going about your business, your aunt innocently pops up at your place for cake and tea. Certain recipe for disaster! In a perfect world with perfect relationships where no-one have ever been hurt and does not harbour any trust issues, it would not be a problem. When you are in a committed relationship however, you have to take into account what your partner’s relationship history is.
  • Bad Lies – This one is obvious and it is also where we draw the line between forgivable and unforgivable “sins”. Telling your partner that you are visiting your mother just to go and watch a movie on your own is not cool. Speak up, tell him or her that you want some time to yourself and then go with it. There is never a justifiable reason for lying to your partner; it will only leave them hurt and doubtful of your relationship.
  • Flirting – Do I really need to explain this one? Yes the pretty little blond at your work has been giving you the eye and your ego just swells every time she turns the corner. There is no such thing as innocent flirting. Either you are committed to your partner and do all your flirting at home or you are not and you don’t. It really is that simple.
  • Cheating – This one is not to be confused with Number 7. Cheating does not necessarily involve having a relationship with someone other than your partner. Cheating, in my books, are defined as anything which steals quality time from your relationship. Addicted to porn? Drinking too much? Spending more times with your buddies than with your partner? These are all things which steal time from your partner and, in effect, steal the life out of your relationship.
  • Having an affair – Needles to say, this is the big no-no. Make up your mind: do you want to be with your partner, yes or no. Again, it really is that simple. Either you love him or her enough to want to be there or you don’t. Having an affair is just a cowardly act which speaks of nothing but your spineless character. If you are unhappy and you can’t fix it, walk out the door and go have your affair then. No-one has the right to treat another human being’s emotions as a yo-yo. You are up or you are down; you are in or you are out – you can’t have it both ways.

The big realization that came with the movie, however, is this:

If both of you are 100% committed to making it work, it is never too late to start building new memories. If you truly love each other and you are both truly committed, if you have love and Grace in your relationship, nothing can stop you. Look at your partner and right now make a renewed commitment to each other and let go, and I really do mean LET GO, of the past. With love and Grace there is no room for hatred or grudges, there is no room for any resentment, you have to let it go in order to move on.

Start your relationship afresh. Every second from here on in is the opportunity to build new memories. You owe it to yourselves to make those memories good ones. The choice is entirely yours.

THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN RIGHT NOW!

When closing doors and burning bridges are the only options

This Paulo Coelho quote really struck home with me today:

Paulo Coelho Doors

 

Each of us have a different stories, unfolding day by day, and no-one could ever really understand all the emotion and dynamics involved in your story, that much I  know.  We always hear that we should never burn bridges, but what happens when you have no choice but to burn the bridge?  What happens when your sanity, the serenity of your soul, depend on closing that door?

Who is the best person then to guide you when faced with the decision to close that door and walk away?  I once heard that for the best relationship advice you should speak to someone who is in a successful relationship, likewise the best person to ask career advice from is someone who are happy in what they do and have the money to show for it.

If faced with a failing career, do you then go to the employment guru, who will no doubt tell you to walk away, find your passion and try your hand at that?

If faced with a failing relationship, do you then go to someone who is madly in love after 40 years of marriage (if you can still find someone like that!), who will no doubt tell you to hang on there and whether the storm?

At what point do you forget about loyalty and the what-if’s and maybe’s?  And what point is it OK to stop thinking about what makes the other party happy and think about yourself, even if they might consider you to be selfish in doing so?

Sometimes we have to burn bridges and close doors that no longer lead anywhere, but how do we know when it is the right thing to do and your actions and merely being obscured by the past?

Being a Humeleon must be exhausting!

humeleonsHumeleons in action

Photo: Repella Bug Spray advertisement

Today’s Note from the Universe is one that is very close to my heart:

Do you know how to give folks what they most, most, most want from you, without even asking them what it is? In all regards, just be yourself.  That’s what they were after when they manifested you into their lives.

Humeleons must be the most intelligent beings in the Universe.  It baffles my mind how they remember which persona to have in which company.  I find it absolutely fascinating how someone can change from being one person (in front of their boss for instance) to someone completely different when they bump into an old school friend.  Have you noticed?  It really irks me!   I could never understand why people need to change “who” they are according to the company they are in.

I am the girl next door – what you see is what you get.  It just makes life so much easier.  I don’t have to pretend to be anything I’m not and then remember who I said what to.  Gosh, it must be so exhausting.

When you meet someone, the first 6 months forms the foundation for that relationship, which is why it is very important to know your Humeleons well!  Humeleons spread their footprints through our lives’  in 3 basic groups:

  1. The ones who are your “friends” – Now, if you meet someone and after a month or six you realize that they are nothing but a bag of BS, you send them merrily on their way and carry on with your life.  Most of the time it leaves you with nothing but a sense of “whatever loser!” and you are able to giggle at the idiocy of it all.
  2. The ones who leaves you feeling robbed – These slippery critters are dangerous ones and will do and say whatever they need to in order to con you out of something.  They are generally speaking related to the leech family and will stick around as long as there is something for them to gain from the relationship – be it financial, emotional, materialistic, anything.  These will leave you angry, poorer in some way or another and, quite often, disappointed in yourself that you were not able to spot it sooner.
  3. The final group is the toughest ones to crack and more often than not, the ones who leave the most broken hearts in their trail.  You meet someone, you become friends, you fall in love.  It is the classic boy-meets-girl fun fest.  The problem comes in when the butterflies in the pit of your stomach decides to take a breather and the fairy dust produced by their wings settles down.  When you start listening with your head as opposed to your heart.  When the “true colors” comes out.  It does not happen overnight.  It’s a slow and steady poison that infiltrates the relationship.  By this time you are head over heels in love and a terrible internal battle ensues.  You feel cheated and angry; denial kicks in.  You do everything in your power to convince yourself that a) no you were not stupid to belief all the BS in the beginning and b) it is not your fault.  When you finally realize that you are in the company of this critter it is too late to walk out without a broken heart.

I have never been able to understand the insecurities that goes with trying or pretending to be something you are not.  The problem is that, despite the fact that we know about these critters, we are often blinded by circumstance or emotion from spotting them before it is too late.  I’m not saying that you should regard everyone with suspicion to see whether they are Humeleon or not, but when it comes to matters of the heart, trust your 6th sense and listen to your head, quite your heart for a moment and listen to your head.  You will end up saving yourself a lot of pain.

Getting back to the Note from the Universe, being yourself is the biggest favor you could do yourself and society in general.  People will always know where they stand with you and what to expect from you.

If you are new to this, try it, you might just be surprised to see that people actually appreciate you more when they actually know what they are dealing with!

Start writing your new chapter, it’s your time my friend

chapter

How easy it is to tell someone to let go of the past and move on!  The act itself is something completely different from those eight words, I know.  I had a phone call from an old friend today and we spoke about exactly that.

Moving on, or rather moving forward, with your life entails two very important processes, which are intrinsically linked:  Letting go and doing what is right for you.  What does this mean?  The words to follow may seem harsh, but do yourself the favor and take it in, digest it, mull over it – it will make sense sooner or later.

Let Go!

junk

Us humans are strange creatures who tend to hold on to every memory we ever had, the good and the bad.  We can use those memories and the emotions that went with it to work for us or against us.  Letting go means that you teach yourself to make those emotions work for you.  Use the good ones to uplift your spirit as opposed to it making you sad when you think about what is no more.  Remember the good times and how they made you feel.  Focus your energy on that feeling and use that feeling to catapult you into a new direction.  Use the bad ones to be a driving force to find better / do it better next time around as opposed to turning it into fuel for anger and resentment.  If you keep focusing on the negativity of how you felt at the time, you continually poison your soul.

Letting go means that you make peace.  Not only with the person or the situation, but also with yourself.  Accept what happened.  Accept where you went wrong.  Accept where they went wrong.  Accept what happened.  Acceptance is one of the most powerful tools available to us.  With acceptance comes peace.  I’m not saying forget.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel the hurt.  Allow yourself the luxury of grief, but don’t grief forever.  Unless you go for hypnosis or suffer severe amnesia, you will never forget.  Accept it and forgive the person / situation that offended you.  If you are mad at your mother for not hugging you enough as a child, you carry that anger with you and it poisons future relationships.  If you are mistrustful of people because someone cheated on you, the poison that you carry with you will ultimately destroy your next relationship, and the next until you decide to let it go.  You control your destiny!  Only you have the power to decide what influences your life.  You choose which forces you want to allow to interfere with your future.

Do what is right for you!

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Believe it or not, but this is perhaps the most difficult thing to do.  We get so caught up in the expectations that others have for us – spouses, bosses, family – that we don’t really know what we want.  We think we do, but in the end it just turns out to be more of what someone else wants for you.  If you are stuck in a relationship that is not feeding your soul, uplifting your spirit, you would feel that you need to get out.  The other person might not necessary see it that way and walking out would leave them with a lot of questions.  The journey to find out what you really want is a scary one.  It will leave you to question your believes about yourself, about society, about life.  Take it from someone who has been down that road, it is worth it in the end.  Be still and know.  Once you tune out the noise and listen to what your soul is trying to tell you, you will know what is right for you.

One last quote before I go:

hardest

The Green Eyed Monster

greeneyedmonster

Tell us about the last time you were really, truly jealous of someone. Did you act on it? Did it hurt your relationship? 

What is jealousy?

jealousy

 

Jealousy is something which all of us experience at some point in our life.  Don’t deny it, everyone get’s jealous, even saints are tested.  The biggest form of jealousy I have ever felt was when I was around 7 or 8.  My parents divorced when I was only 5 and, through circumstance, my sister and I ended up living with my grandparents for a couple of years.  These were fundamental years for me and I will forever be grateful for the example they set for us.  There was just one thing that really got to me.

My cousins lived not to far from us and we attended the same school.  To me, they were a prime example of what family should be: dad working, mom at home cooking and baking, holidays away, new clothes the moment they outgrew the old ones, etc.  My sister and I received their hand-me-downs, which I was very grateful for.   I hated them for this.  I always felt somewhat inferior to them and it took me a long time to get over that.  I love my cousins to bit and their parents have always been there for me.  It was simply a matter of my own insecurities.

greeneyedmonster2

The example I’ve given above is, to me at least, an “acceptable” form of jealousy.  Once the realization is made that you are not inferior to the other person, you can learn from it and grow past that.

What is unacceptable jealousy then?  It is that green-eyed-monster that festers inside your mind and heart.  It destroys you, bit by bit.  It destroys all the good in you and sucks the life right out of your soul, leaving you nothing but an empty shell.

Unfortunately, jealously have been the downfall of countless relationships.  People get hurt, I get that, but how you choose to make that work for you, is key to all future relationships.

I live on the principle that you can either learn from it or suffer by it for the rest of your life.  If you choose to let go and move on, you can grow and become a better person.  This makes you the winner.  If you choose to hold on to the pain, it will forever rule you and you will suffer.  That makes you a loser.  Face the reality: the person who hurt you is still the winner!  He / She still determine your happiness and ultimately the outcome of your life!

greeneyedmonster1

You may meet the person of your dreams, but if you allow the monster to live, that relationship will fail.  That is a guarantee my friend.

No one can make you love them or trust them.  These emotions can not be forced upon you, ever.  You have to make the choice to feed the positive.

You have the choice whether you want to suffer or love!

What is trust?

trust

 

When Luke asked me to explain trust to him, I found the following to be most effective:

  • Trust is like an eraser, the more you abuse it, the smaller it gets; and
  • Faith and fear both requires us to believe in something we can not see.  Faith will uplift your spirit and leave you feeling better.  Fear will drag you down and suffocate you.

If you choose to believe in fear, if you choose to feed the monster, it will consume you.

No one said letting go will be easy.  That is why there are trained professionals to help you (and your partner) along the way.  Having these fears are not a weakness, but choosing not to do anything about it, now that is a weakness.  You are effectively choosing to live an inferior life and no one deserves that.

Use your common sense, have faith and love fully.