An Introspective: My Own Happiness

I have a flaw, well I have many flaws but one of my largest hindrances in my relationships is effective communication when something is bothering me.  As I completed the writing of my previous blog,  I realized that I really am so much happier.  So I asked myself why I am happy right now, and the answer is nothing is eating away at me.  I just do not have any waiting for a fight or issues in my emotional “outbox”.  The majority of my time on this planet historically had been spent trying to resolve family issues or learn how to accept people for who they are.  To move a step forward to find the goodness and love them, even when they repeatedly would hurt me.  I would therefore keep my mouth shut about any issues that would arise and I would look past, grin and bare it.  This was how I learned to forge relationships with my family, which lead to friendships, which lead to sexual relationships.  Be who I am, but allow the person to be who they were and be the bigger person even if they said something to offend or hurt me, after all it is who they are.  I am overgeneralising a bit here, especially when it comes to acquaintances.  My foot has gone in my mouth many a time with people who have irritated me in passing by or early on in our friendship.  But when it came to love of friends and family, then this holds eerily true for almost everyone.

There is an incredibly obvious downfall to this approach, things get too big to handle.  Not dealing with issues when they were small, allowed them to grow into monstrous thorns in my future interactions.  Resulting in one of two things; there would be an emotional eruption by yours truly or else just a complete cut off from the person as I could no longer accept them.  I am fairly easy going, especially now as I get older, so has taken me a long time to really see the pattern here in my relationships.  But I finally have a little clarity, and what’s more I have support in changing this terrible flaw.  As I am writing this with the hindsight is 20/20 approach I have a flood of examples to choose from in illustrating this flaw of mine.  It’s almost scary how many I have to choose from.  I’m 90% sure that if you know me in person, you will probably know of an example yourself and that is really humbling.  If you don’t have an example, perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who I have never ever fought with, or even had a disagreement with.  This may not always be a good sign, or I am just that awesome to be around???  Nope, I most likely have just been passive and overly accepting of you being who you are and finding an inscrutable way to see you for your positives.
I have a family member who every few years or so manages to gossip and put herself into a position of wedging a rift between my best friend and I.  This has been going on every 3 years or so since I was about 9.  The same pattern always occurs, this person builds up confidences in all the family and really good strong bonds and relationships.  Then there is a disagreement between 2 people that does not concern her, however she has these confidences and decides that it is her duty to try and fix or solve the problems.  I am either one of the two people involved in the issue or more often I am asked my opinion or knowledge about the issue.  As I have mentioned before I am a straight shooter whenever I am asked a direct question and we have a fairly small family.  The result of my honesty is each and every time she tries to bate my best friend and I against each other.  Wham bam there is family drama that I get to make apologies and make atonement’s for.  I`m sorry that I cannot give specific examples and this sounds concluded, but I am trying my best to protect the identities of any of my family members who may read this.  The lesson that I learned was to keep my mouth shut whenever there are issues.  I didn`t ever want to fight or be put in a position where I could be swayed to give an opinion.  And I learned this lesson so well that it branched into all my adult relationships.
Which is a great example of why I so desperately try not point out any even seemingly little things.  I too quickly have seen how even a tiny or innocent comment has evolved into a large family battle.  These battles suck, no one wins, and everyone involved gets hurt.  So I have spent years avoiding conflict of any kind, as a direct result.  Like I mentioned there have been many many instances along the same lines of the example written above.  So what has changed and what has allowed me to try and work past this flaw making more real relationships that now have the potential for growth?  
For one, the realisation that if there is a person, even family who constantly makes me feel bad about myself or sabotages my relationships, then I can not interact with them without first letting them know.  This is such a taboo in my family, and I know there will be some major flack for it, as I have been raised that family is first.  When the most recent occurrence of the example about happened last year, I wrote a very passionate email to the person.  I tried to brainstorm out a few ways that I felt we could stop discussing any other member of the family behind there backs, thus breaking the potential for something to be said out of context.  I also requested that she give me feedback for things she would like me to try and change so we can slowly rebuild a healthy relationship free of this very painful pattern that has been developed.  I did not receive a reply.  I parted ways in the most mature way I could, where the door is open if she would like to discuss having a healthy relationship in the future, but with a clear indication that I would no longer keep things inside until they reached a fever pitch, or were drawn out of me in her manipulative tactic (whether for good intent or not).  
The next thing which I am taking in very baby steps and uses a lot of bravery on my part, is to only take a couple of minutes to decide if I need to bring something up that’s bugging me.  I historically would take hours or even days coming up with a well rounded argument weighing all the pros and cons, and in my head formulating my plan to discuss in great detail.  I was very afraid of saying something in the heat of the moment, or misspeaking, so afraid that I would ensure emotions were completely out of all dealings with issues I had.  Now I take 5 minutes or less to decide what the issue is, and trust that if it took me a whole 5 minutes to decide that when I speak about it my intelligence will kick in enough to articulate my thoughts.  Even if emotion sneaks into it, it is better it out there quicker and allow both partners the same time to discuss or think about the issue if need be.  
With these two little changes in place my happiness level has gone up exponentially.  I don’t have the lingering feeling that there is a major issue I need to give thought to.  I have the ability to send an email or try and bring up an issue in a timely manor.  If the issue can’t get resolved then it is not the end of the world for the person not to be a part of my life, family or not.  Its a sobering thought to realise how your family interacts with you plays a role in your adult relationships.  Spend some time thinking about how you bring up disagreements or issues with your partner.  Try and take it a step farther and think about how you learned to fight with your siblings or parents and what was necessary for resolutions.  I would love to hear your stories, so please add your comments or find me on twitter @k_ghislaine.

Just live… Quest for Happiness

I am currently reading an interesting book which poses a debate between Freud, and CS Lewis about various subjects stemming from their opposing views on theology, called “The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life” by Armand M. Nicholi.  It’s interesting to read on how our views on religion seem to affect how we view happiness as well.  As I wrote about in my previous post, Just Live, the idea of living for yourself and being the beacon of your own happiness is instrumental.  It was really interesting to read about two intelligent individuals in our recent history having this posed debate.  I know that I will look back on my lifetime, especially in the last few years and be proud of the actions I took which resulted in attaining my current happiness level.  I will not have to include anyone else in attribute of that achievement.  This is what drives me to get up every morning, responsibility and complete control of my own self fulfillment. 

Of course we are all individuals and what works for me will not necessarily work for the next man down or even what worked for me in the past.  I have mentioned my previous believe in God and I will admit that I did find a comfort in achieving a lifestyle for him.  I worked diligently to try and follow the teachings of the bible and put my trust in a higher and seemingly more educated power.  The entity that knew inherently what was right and wrong.  In my early teenage years this was a guiding light in a very chaotic time for me.  Slowly though I discovered something about myself, and that was I felt the same sense of well being when I began to internalize my prayers.  When I started putting faith in myself and what I could and couldn’t accomplish I felt a real wholeness, and a more complete me. 

I very slowly recognized that I was blaming God for my shortcomings and praising myself for my achievements.  When this became apparent I realized that it had to be all or nothing, rationally I needed to accept God in my corner for good and bad as a Christian.  And selfishly I realized that I couldn’t do this.  I was the one living, and making choices, so I needed to accept the good and bad in me.  I could not use an alternate force in times of trouble.  I realized that, I was a strong individual and could attain peace and comfort in my own actions.  I didn’t need the navigational principles of religious teachings to be a good and sound human, it was inside me.  And further I grew to believe that our human race would not have evolved to where it is today if this basic and fundamental rational human being did not exist in almost all of us.  Of course there are always exceptions and variations which allow for cruelty and disgusting examples of humans and their behaviour, as evidenced by many of the genocides and corruption in our world.  This is an evolutionary variant and I do not attribute to any faith or lack of faith meme.
This is my journey of my self-discovery, and why I confidently say that I am the source of my own happiness.  When life is stressful or I am in the pitfall of an emotional roller coaster, it is up to me to attain happiness.  It is my choice to stay in a level of poor me, or to find a way to get out of it.  I have chosen to seek professional help when I was not able to get out of a depressed state on my own.  So I will always recognize that there are situations that we are not always able to find solutions to ourselves.  Be it a simple girls night for emotional team building, or therapy and possibly anti-depressants or mood stabilizers with a doctors strict care.
I have a very brave friend who recently posted on facebook a status regarding making mental health as open as physical health.  I couldn’t agree more, as it is with acknowledgement and openness that we are able to fix the symptoms and provide treatment versus putting our health and welfare into invisible beings and faith only. Happiness is attainable, and more than that, it should not be an end goal or a prize for life’s hard work and achievements.  Happiness should be a daily and even hourly reflection of all that we do in life.  A smile every day is the simplest thing we can do.  It’s your life, so live the best way you can, find the happiness inside and out.

Just Live

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)  Although this quote was written directly against using God or Gods to guide your life, I believe that this quote has so many applications to ones happiness. I have written specifically about my view to not live life with regret.  Taking responsibility for your own life and the way you live it goes hand in hand.

When I am on my deathbed,  I want to clearly understand that I lived my life with as much happiness and fulfillment as humanly possible.  I do not ever want to be in a position to say, that so and so treated me badly and held me back.  I have heard time and time again that God has judged my friends and that they feel that they let him down.  But what does that really mean?  Are they just to afraid to admit that they let themselves down, or that they did something that made them feel great and are afraid to admit it? Some of the things I have written on my blog so far, I do not think I would be very pleased if my grandparents read it. 

There is a generational gap and a respect that I have for them, also there are just some things that I would not feel comfortable discussing.  I do have to catch my self either over censoring myself or under censoring myself knowing that I do have family members that read this occasionally.  In the long run it does work to keep me honest about everything written.  I will look back with pride that these are truly my thoughts on specific subjects and I can back the information up with knowledge and research.

My dear readers with any religious affiliations, all I can say is please live your lives to please yourself.  Whether God exists or not, you live with you.  Make yourself happy, and know that when you die it will not be God giving your eulogy, it will be your peers and family members.  In a perfect world, we would not need religion to govern the masses and their behaviors.  There would be a free flowing system of ideas and thoughts, and criticism would lead to debates and more research not violence.  I welcome feedback and criticism when it comes to my views on sex and relationships.  Sometimes even male perspective is appreciated.

My Experience In Monogamy

I gave my best shot at an 8 year long monogamous happily ever after type relationship.  The house, the ring, the dog and cat, and the future of children all with one man.  I should point out that the man loved me in his own way, and that was made even more apparent after I ended things, but back to the point.  He was strong, intimidating, opinionated, and a very sociable male.  I slowly turned into a woman who no longer felt attractive and free, but rather just a woman on a pedestal whose life was turning into that of woman in the 50’s.

Let me explain, we had many mutual friends and friends of friends which happens when you are together that long.  Each and everyone of them was afraid of flirting or taking anything too far with me for fear that the ex would “kill” them (melodramatic I know).  I was only around these same men, over and over with absolutely bare minimum attention from anyone, and in public even less from the man I was with.  So I had to make the first move to get that ego boost with these men.  I was not looking to cheat, just to get a high that flirting gives.  That adrenaline burst,  or better put, that rush and excitement.

I found myself in compromising positions that I initiated and the guilt and remorse that followed was unbelievable, but the longer I went without that rush the worse I felt.  Well lets just say I ended things around year 7 to chase what I needed and keep myself from “cheating”.  I was getting that much needed attentiveness and kindness from a male friend who was not a fan of the ex.  It was exhilarating to have something new, something fresh, someone seeing you with whole new eyes.  However shortly afterwards the ex and I got back together, but inevitably ended things a year later, permanently.

It took me a long time to add everything up about why that relationship failed so miserably.  He was jealous every time I was alone or slightly flirty with any other male resulting in my complete isolation.  The only male giving me affection was him, and he was bad at it.  The self esteem and confidence was being replaced by an emotionally starved stranger whom I hardly recognized in the mirror. And I now know why.  Men and woman need that extra in life, that something new, fresh and exciting.  It also strengthens and keeps fresh that love you have at home.  That love that I am missing terribly right now.

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