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love

How to Know Whether or Not to Break-Up

How to Know Whether or Not to Break-Up

Whew. Now that's a million dollar question. But I'm going to help you answer it because I'm going to guide you towards your inner wisdom--that thing called intuition--which, if you can be brave enough to listen, will help you separate the wheat from the chafe. 

First, I see a lot of people breaking up that don't need to break up. They are usually projecting all kinds of malarky from old relationships onto this new person and then breaking up with those ghosts. This is why you probably need therapy. Because you're breaking up with someone who isn't even real. You're likely delusional. Relational trauma will do that. It's an over-active fight/flight/freeze/fawn response. That's why getting calm is the number one relationship skill. 

I read a lot of articles and Instagram-quotes about moving on from people who don't treat you like a queen. If you need to be treated like a king or a queen in order to feel loved, your love tank probably has a hole in it that no human being can ever fill. So keep searching for those loyal subjects and move on from them when they act human or imperfect or have the gall to have needs.

But. Maybe you're on the other side of that equation. Maybe you're the partner who keeps on trying to make your partner feel special, loved and valued--and it's just. never. enough. They act insensitive, cheat on you, aren't available, and generally aren't interested in adult conversations about emotions. 

So how do you know when it's time to walk away and time to just hang in there and do your own work? I apologize, that's a bit of a trick question: because the answer is always in doing your own work FIRST. 

When you do your own work, you won't actually have to do anything except speak how you feel.

An awesome partner will welcome you speaking your emotional truth because they are interested in knowing more of you. They want to be intimate. But a partner who isn't interested in a relationship will be unable to tolerate you doing anything but agreeing with them and/or doing what they want. They will also be unable to tolerate that they might have failed you in some way. They don't know how to live in their humanity.

"Narcissists are very good at finding their 'victims' - the people who don't feel worthy enough of a healthy, happy relationship, and who will play second fiddle just for the sake of being in a relationship. When you've learned to truly love yourself, a narcissist simply cannot operate in your orbit. You will not be able to feed his or her need for adulation and acquiescence at all costs. And you will trust yourself to know when to walk away. That's why, for anyone struggling in a difficult relationship, the fastest path to answer the question, 'Should I stay or should I go?' is always to learn to love yourself. " --Gay Hendricks

That all being said, often, talking and talking and talking will actually drive a quality man away. When I say, "speak your truth," I mean open your posture and your heart space--and tell him what you ache for. Don't tell him what he's doing wrong, tell him how when he wraps his arms around you you feel like nothing in the world can harm you.  When I was in graduate school we had a saying: “speak the truth in love,” that comes from the book of Ephesians. Before you speak, always, as much as you can, ask yourself, “am I going to say this truth in the spirit of love and growth? Or fear and destruction?” The tone you use has the potential to either increase the conflict or help you grow closer together.

#10—Nurture your Connections: How to have Positive Body Image (Continued)

#10—Nurture your Connections: How to have Positive Body Image (Continued)

“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. Yet, separation from the wildish nature causes a woman’s personality to become meager, thin, ghostly…we are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to chase, to birth, to create life. When women’s lives are in stasis, ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge.”
 –Clarissa Pinkola Estes

If you hate your body, it is because you are disconnected from your natural state. You have forgotten (or never learned) how to connect in a way that is life-giving. Women who feel connected to their tribe do not consider the size of their dress to be a problem. It is only when she feels worried about being loved or cared for that she begins to think about these things. 

Embrace your natural role as a connector, a nurturer, and a lover. Nurture the people around you and your relationship with God. It is said that "God is Love." Turn your mind towards the great Lover. Marianne Williamson talks about love like this, "love is energy. It's not something we can perceive with our physical senses, but people can usually tell you when they feel it and when they don't...fear is to love as darkness is to light." (Return to Love, p. 21). When we meditate on love instead of fear, then we can move forward in loving those around us. Loving thoughts are the foundation on which healthy relationships and communities are built. Love is a balance of giving and receiving.

Love yourself. I am always surprised by how difficult this is for women. They will tell me, "it feels selfish." Unless you are nurturing your relationship with yourself, you will be giving to others from an empty well.  Become your own best lover. How can you teach someone else how to love you if you don't know how to love yourself? Drink in the beauty of your curves. Your creative power.  Your strength. Buy yourself flowers. Buy yourself silky lingerie. Go on the trip you've always wanted to go on. Speak kindly to yourself. 

Love your children. Love is not planning the perfect cupcakes for their birthday party because you are afraid you will be judged for not having perfect cupcakes. Just stop and look at them. Drink in the deliciousness of their sparkly eyes, marvel the transformation from pooping loaves of bread to fast, spunky, sassy creatures that make your head spin.  How often do they say, “watch me! Watch me!” It is so hard to “just” watch. We are constantly pulled into the how-to lists and to-do lists and all that is always undone. The wild wolf mama has no concern about appearances and does not use her children for her own ego. She is concerned about her children's survival when she is gone. 

Love your female friends--your sisters. Form deep bonds that are forged from the fires. Talk late into the night about anything and everything. Dance with them. Hug them. Text them simple emoticons that let them know you are thinking about them. Do not compete or compare with the beautiful feminine soul that calls you her friend.  Compliment each other without reserve. Delightedly exclaim how beautiful she is--even, and especially when she is falling apart. The wild woman knows she needs her sisters and never tears them down. 

Love your brothers. Don’t be afraid to accept them as friends and partners on this journey of life. They want to stand by you, protect you, and help you. For too long men and women have been adversaries. And it’s true—I know—we have all been hurt by mean men at some point in our lifetime as women. But shutting them out (as a gender) only perpetuates the problem. I’m not saying be nice to mean people. No. The wild woman always growls when her territory is being invaded or members of her pack are being threatened.  Re-new the idea of a deep friendship with men.

Love your lover. He* longs to be wild just like you.  Do not get in his way or try to tame him. Because of our fear, we have not honored their desire to protect, to serve and to fight for and with us.  We have pushed men away. Receive from him. Let him rove like you want to rove. Open your heart to him. Believe that he wants to love you. Reward him with your affections without fear. Feel the euphoria of his arms around you; surrender to the feelings. When you do, you will discover the heart of a warrior. 

If you do these things, you will feel the bliss of your life.  You will forget about the size of your jeans. Let love fill you up.

(Wolf art by Travis Parr--a top sheet for Icelantic Ski company. For more of his work please visit  www.parrstudios.net and www.icelanticskis.com).

*I speak from a heterosexual perspective, only because I am heterosexual and I am most comfortable speaking from that orientation; however, I believe these ideas can be interchangeable—namely, the issue of trying to “control” our mates.