Everything Else Is Optional

Earlier this year, I was asked to help someone find love. For some reason, this lonely soul thought I could wave a magic wand like some fictional faery godmother and get him a girlfriend. It doesn’t work that way. I’m not sure how it works. Since I haven’t had a successful romantic relationship my entire life, I can only humbly provide the magical recipe of love that I follow.

Step One: Love thyself.

I know you’ve heard this before, but it is the essential ingredient. Love without self-love is like making bread without flour. You could have all the other ingredients, even the yeast, but nothing is going to happen if there’s no flour.

Let’s put it this way: You come into the world alone and you leave the world alone. In your travels, the only person you can’t get away from is yourself. You even go to bed with yourself every night for your entire life. You can’t say that about any other person.

With this fundamental principle in mind, if you don’t love yourself, you’re a miserable SOB. And misery loves company. So if you don’t love yourself, you’re going to attract other people who don’t love themselves either. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Step Two: Everything else is optional.

Honestly, the only thing you need to do is love yourself. I’m not talking about staring-in-the-mirror-all-day, I’m-the-only-person-who-matters narcissism. I’m talking about the kind of love that quiets the negative soundtrack with warm, fuzzy facts about what a lovable person you are. I’m talking about the kind of love that chooses to satisfy self in the context of the win-win situation in an emotional transaction with another person. Self-love isn’t greedy, needy or self-serving. It’s love and it’s everything that word truly means.

And then there’s the addictive portrayal of love, which is not love, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

Humans spend too much time searching on the outside for things that can only be found on the inside. Magic is not about spells and chants and whirling dervishes, though these elements are great psychological foci. Magic is about changing your inner landscape so that the outer landscape changes to match. Like attracts like. Love attracts love. Hate attracts hate.

Build a relationship with yourself—the kind of relationship you want to have on the outside. A good relationship fosters self-acceptance, empowerment, and establishes strong, caring boundaries. According to those in the know, the rest will follow. I’m still working on it.

Poor Adam or Why Women Lie

I’ve been thinking about the stories of Adam.  Lilith left him and Eve led him astray. Poor Adam. These two stories have sparked centuries of debate among theologians on the duplicitous nature of women. Why do women lie? A better question to ask is: Why do people lie?

How We Teach Our Kids That Women Are Liars

This article addresses the pressure from society  to view women as liars. Interestingly enough, when I looked up “are all women liars” on Google, there were pages and pages of articles about the lying nature of women. When I Googled “are all men liars,” I found a couple of articles on the first page and then all the other hits were for a movie, All Men Are Liars. My experience is that PEOPLE lie for various reasons, but hey, let’s get out that tar brush and paint in wide strokes over half the world’s population, shall we?

I’m thinking women haven’t cornered the market on lying.

Are All Women Liars?

This was an eye-opening read because it showed a wide spectrum of how men view women. Yes, women lie. I have lied. But believing that all women lie would mean that I could believe all men are absent the emotional spectrum to have hurt feelings. I sensed crushed, male feelings in this offering and rightly so. I also sensed balanced, male perspectives. You have to read past your own biases.

Women Are Not Liars

Then there is this lovely treatise on the anatomy of feminine emotions. This rang true for me. Women have a different emotional perspective as a general rule. It is part biological and part cultural. Women are wired differently. Biologically, we serve as the vessels of humanity’s continued existence. Culturally, containing something is a far different experience from penetrating something, and the actions you are able to commit will affect your experiences and the ordering of your priorities.  The mystery in all of this is that you are in charge of how you see things.

In my journey, I’ve discovered that people lie because they are afraid: fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of success, agoraphobia (hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve suffered it). I’ve also discovered that if someone is lying to me, more than likely s/he started lying to self first (unless of course the subject is a sociopath and I’ve dated plenty of those).

Perspective is everything. Once you understand the motivation, you can’t stereotype. You are able to stop yourself and ask, what fear is motivating this behavior? And women are afraid. Women have been afraid for millennia, but that’s a post for someone else to write.

And Have A Plan To Kill Everyone In the Room

My son posted a rant on his FaceBook. Of course we’re friends on FaceBook. I have him designated as a Close Friend, so if he so much as farts in cyberspace, I get a notification.

No, I’m not that kind of mother. I’m the kind who cares enough to say something like this (after covering my eyes and peering through my fingers to read every word):

“Boy, there are two things you should avoid doing throughout the course of your life if you want to succeed. First, don’t burn bridges in haste. Choose with utmost care the bridges you burn for they may never be rebuilt. Second, don’t rant in public. It pisses people off and you look like an ungracious ass.” In other words:

Words of wisdom to my son.

Granted, I only said something after he came to me complaining that some of his colleagues were offended by his less-than-professional post .  He’s twenty-one.  I think every young adult should get a pass on a gaffe like this as long as the error is corrected.  He was smart enough to come to me with his dilemma.

What my son ranted about is exactly how things are, but public, in-your-face rants don’t change things. Ask the politicians seeking our votes. They rant and rave on their soapboxes, but when they get elected, they quickly discover that their rants for change are up against a much bigger monster than rhetoric can conquer. They tow the party line after a while. Those who don’t disappear into obscurity.

After some careful explaining, and validating his feelings (hey, feelings are feelings and it isn’t my place to tell him not to have them), I instructed him on the best course of action. “Son, only rant to the choir and do it before the congregation arrives.” I also advised him to take down the post. No apologies necessary, just “don’t do it again or you’ll get a reputation for that kind of behavior.”

It’s okay to be angry about how the world is. It’s okay to want to change things. There are even places where rants are effective  (like in songs or comics or IDK, the arts in general – think Spaced Repetition), but you have to consider the audience. Subliminal messages work better. Subtlety will slay the biggest foes. And my personal favorite, kill them with kindness.

My son doesn’t realize it yet, but I’m managing his career. He will not get the opportunity to make mistakes with such spectacular regularity as his mother. I can crash and burn. My gaffes are expected, even anticipated, but he has a pristine field of opportunity out there and I want him to soar much higher than me before he takes another nose dive. Hopefully, I can head him off at the pass before he jumps.

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