How To Know IF You’re Seeing Things Correctly!

All seeing eye Max Pixel

Image courtesy of Max Pixel

I’m a mixed breed! Accepting that is as pure as it gets for me. Giving up trying to be a thoroughbred, of any kind, has freed me from pining about pedigree.

 

Recognizable Specificity

I don’t fit everywhere. Thankfully, I no longer want to. The assumed task of pleasing everyone is an indomitable endeavor. And, I have never been content forfeiting me. Approval can be fleeting and laden with hypocrisy. When other people celebrate you, only because you accommodate their desires, conflict is inevitable. Peace of mind can’t happen in your absence.

I know people who listen to only one type of music. That just doesn’t work for me. Rhythms and lyrics affect me, like all mediums do, and I want to have a say in the feeling I’m experiencing when I’m listening, reading, or observing. I’ve learned to appreciate difference, any single point of view could never account for my multiple channels. I have a simple requirement, I insist on being lifted up.

I avoid things that bring me down, make me conscious of negativity, or disrupt my intention to reside in a state of harmony. A single focus doesn’t mean narrow in scope. Paintings, books, science, nature, an ambient restaurant, a small child, or a cloud formation are just a few of the many opportunities for tranquility. Life is full of beauty.

Every vibe isn’t virtuous. Anything that causes me to turn-on myself has slipped past my radar. I know immediately if I’m berating, belittling, or hating on me I’m  suffering vision impairment. And, whenever I’m flirting with consternation, pouring out wrath on others, smoke is in my eyes. Clear vision builds you and others.

CORRECTIVE LENSES

Anger has never had 20/20 vision. I speak from experience. I was angry for much of my life. I plunged into being angry at my anger. Much of my anger was justified. But here is the problem; anger, left to its own devices, blurs vision. We can be upset for good reason but, unless we are willing to turn our passion into purpose, we are left to stew in destructive heat.

Eye exam staff sargent Jason McCasland USAF

Image courtesy of SS Jason McCasland via USAF

Anger is not an invitation to hate, though it is often interpreted that way. It is, in fact, a call to action. Anger is a compliment of trust. Its simply requesting our attention. Desiring to show us a way forward. Giving us opportunities for growth. Providing insight to our unique set of challenge solving skills. Anger chooses us, to make something better.

Being betrayed and violated is disturbing. Almost as troubling as personal dysfunction. When we are done wrong… (Hey, it happens, and will undoubtedly happen again) its decision time. Just because someone decides to live in the basement is no reason to move out of the penthouse. We can be thankful that we won’t be investing anymore of ourselves in things we don’t want in our lives.

As Maya Angelou so ably instructed, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I believe in forgiveness, redemption, and second chances; I couldn’t be here if I didn’t. But disrespect and broken trust leaves little to build on. Repairs are possible with collaboration. I try to remember that what people do is not as important as why they do it.  Understanding that what happened might be the best there is in the moment.

When I resist the temptation to cause pain and intentionally strive to serve my mission, serving others, that’s how I know I’m seeing things correctly.

How do you see it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Determine The Questions To Ask!

question-mark- pixabay.png

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

It was a friendly environment and the speaker seemed warm enough. I was about to ask my question when… what if it’s a stupid question? The popular adage, “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask” won’t actually protect you from uncontrollable sneering. I decided to forgo the chance at enlightenment, opting instead, for self-preservation.

THE BUFFET TABLE

The constant barrage of voices vying for influence, in our minds, can be daunting. We can grow weary and become vulnerable. Or, we can become frustrated and dismiss potential opportunities to increase understanding. Whether we slip into one of these, or some other immobility, we can’t ignore the lingering desire to learn. Being “in the know” is empowering. Questions abound but are only virtuous if they lead to solutions.

What scares us is the thought of feeling belittled, inadequate, or incompetent. Wanting to avoid negative feelings can be a strong driver. I disagree with the old saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  While fear has a place of honor,  it is often out of place. Questions are a key component of any progressive strategy. I question myself first, then I test my answer in the form of a question to others.

Contrary to pervasive confusion, answers are not hiding. I’m convinced answers wait patiently to be discovered.  They are positioned in merited investigation. Whenever I’m struggling with advancing toward my aspirations it’s always because I’m not asking the right questions. Intuition is at peek performance when it suggests highly personalized interrogation. We benefit significantly when we realize the gift of the question that just won’t go away.

PORTION CONTROL

The people who stock the buffet have no responsibility for what we put on our plates. One of my favorite saying from Maya Angelou is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I get her meaning. Completely. However, I’ve had to tweak its power.

What we feel is the result of the invitation being extended. How we feel is the result of the invitations we accept. Nobody can make us attach to a feeling. In order for any feeling to resonate it has to be met with agreement. If someone hands us a helping of negativity and we “know” what they’re saying isn’t true, we can turn down the invitation. If we think there’s some truth in what’s being said, we are likely to overeat junk-food.

Partial truths are loaded with hidden calories and lead to unwanted weight gain. Our positive thoughts, and good intentions, go straight to our waste-lines when they are not allowed to flourish in healthy feelings. In my quest for personal excellence, I have come to understand, my well-being is not only found in what I’m eating but in how much of it I’m devouring. I try to ask only those questions I actually want the answers to.

DIGESTION

Our world is filled with limitless information and yet, solutions remain aloof. The endless chatter seems fermented in knowing exactly, what the other person needs to do, to make things better. When remedies beg for something more we need to ask a different question. I refuse to let anyone, by coercion or otherwise, take away my right to inquire.

The noteworthy work of aligning our good intentions with our prevailing feelings demands we know the value of questions. When my best answers don’t change my trajectory, I rephrase the question. If my findings don’t improve things for me, and those around me, I find another question. Being in the dark gives me heartburn.

I determine the questions to ask based on whether or not things are working the way I want them to. The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself!

Any questions?

I demonstrate my Q & A journey in my book: If Only I Had A Dad,  http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

 

 

 

 

 

What You Can Do Without A Father!

The gash on my innards was remarkable! It affected everything about me.  My lack of understanding led me to misdiagnose who I really am. Every time I retold my story, adding polish and pizzazz,  I increased the strength of the lies. I was open to trickery and manipulation. Thank God for false teeth.

father & daughter by apdk flickr

Image courtesy of apdk via flickr

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

My grandmother put me on a chair thinking I would watch her through the window as she hung the clothes on the line. I was a year and half old. Instead, I climbed over two wash tubs and into the wringer washing machine. Mimicking her, I stuck my hand into the wringer. Half way up my arm the wringer kept spinning, round and around, burning a nice scare into my forearm. She came in to find me face down in the water.

As my body grew the wound on my arm grew too. I’m use to it, of course, but everyone who sees it wants to know what happened. Being the consummate communicator that I am, I fashioned a story of a trip to New Orleans where as a young man I wrestled alligators. Toothless, mind you. Getting pinned underneath the ferocious creature, his rough skin tore up my arm. Hey, I convinced quite a few, before I would come clean!

Things happen to us and they stay with us. Childhood issues become adult problems. We make up stories because they sound better than the truth. We learn to talk about it in a way that garners sympathy to avoid the questions we don’t have answers to. What we really want is to find resolution for our dilemmas.

The first step to coming clean is to admit there’s nothing wrong with you. Our thoughts and feelings might be askew but that’s not who we are. The issues that often plague us didn’t originate with us. We deal with generational and cultural dynamics that must be taken into account in order to be intentional about resolving inner conflicts.

I had a hole inside, the shape of my father. His abandonment of me caused an emptiness that sprouted and flourished. Permeating every segment of my life. I gave myself an unconscious pass. I didn’t know, for many years, the root of my anguish. I artificially inseminated with sex, substances, rock & Roll, and religion and nothing birthed peace of mind.

When we are able to identify the ramifications of our beginnings we are able to focus on our endings. The scars will always be there but the pain doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to implode, repeat self-destructive habits, or remain chained to propaganda. We are not wrong to see what’s right. It’s wonderful to work together, to correct errors, with the people who participated in the mistakes but, it’s not required.

OUR POWER IS IN BEING WILLING TO FATHER OURSELVES

My father died without me ever getting to know him. I needed him to change my life I was in serious trouble. Let’s get real; whether your father is dead or alive moving on is your responsibility not his. We can’t hate on our fathers without hating on ourselves and becoming like them as a result.

Angry by Katmary on flickr

Image courtesy of Katmary via flickr

My third step father was the most miserable human being I ever knew. He was angry and bitter. Jealous, insecure, and competitive. I could go on with an endless list of negatives. At times, I hated his very existence. I only lived with him for a few years, leaving home at fifteen, but, I was influenced by his behavior.  I was not happy when some of his characteristics showed up in me.

Managing dysfunction doesn’t provide a path to change. I learned, the hard way, that what you hate is deficient. It’s what you love that’s fruitful. Spending time trying to alter the thinking, attitudes, and actions of others are obstacles of distractions. We can’t rewrite our own stories when we are preoccupied with the stories that other people are holding on to.

Transformation happens when we change our feeling, of being defective or damaged, to a feeling of being whole. A primary function of fatherhood is to validate children. If that wasn’t executed we have to take matters into our own hands. We give ourselves permission to rise above broken trust. If we don’t we’re apt to be a continuation of the things we despise.

Here’s the kicker, our fathers may be locked in their own fatherlessness. They may not be capable or willing of being any different. We have to make a choice about what we will do separate from them. When we accept our own value we are able to affirm ourselves, gain clarity, and establish a sense of worthiness. We then start attracting people and things based on a new paradigm.

LIFE IN THE FATHERLESS LANE

I was always excited to listen to him talk. He was someone I highly respected. I loved his concepts. Then he said this: “You don’t get what you want in life – you get what you are”. I didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. I thought, he couldn’t mean that. How could that be true?  I immediately began to wrestle those words to the ground. Guess what? Those words are frightfully correct.

In the sanctuary of our private worlds reside the potential for everything that is possible. What we believe about ourselves determines what we experience. How we see ourselves is how we see everything else. When things didn’t work out the way I hoped it wasn’t because they shouldn’t, it was because they couldn’t. Everything in life operates by principle and not by luck.

Fathers are impact players. When our fathers are missing or fail everyone involved is affected. Even if we lose a father by premature death his absence has consequences.  We are either very thankful for who they are or very hurt by who they weren’t. Good or bad we deal with the circumstances surrounding our relationships with our fathers.

Fatherless men can be unsure of themselves, acting timid or overcompensating. Living in a conundrum to love women without stealing their power and struggling to mentor their children without abuse. Women without fathers can battle low self-esteem, fear abandonment, or develop negative coping skills. Men and women can operate out of greed rather than contribution. These are only a few of the many pitfalls we can fall into and there are exceptions to every rule.

sunset victory by couguar on flickr

Image courtesy of couguar via flickr

I failed miserably before I succeeded. I experienced setbacks in love, life, and vocation until I dealt with my father issues. Don’t worry about what is behind you, be concerned with what is in front of you. And, don’t fret over people who choose to only see your past. That’s all about where they are not where you are. There’s no need to fear moving on.

All adversity has optional outcomes. We can choose to be the victim or the victor! 

For more information on personal transformation pick up a copy of my book,

If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness. http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

 

 

 

 

5 Strategies to Maximize Life Lessons!

Life Lessons mRio on flickr

Image courtesy of mRio via flickr

I heard the lady sitting next  to me, on the bus, say to her companion; “You live and learn.” I’ve heard that saying many times before. I’m certain I’ve said the exact same thing on a number of occasions. Who would disagree with the obvious? But we all know people who seem to be stuck. I’ve been there myself. Not able to extrapolate the gracious and generous message being sent to me.

IDENTIFYING THE POINT

The body is designed to heal itself. When it doesn’t, something has gone wrong. The argument is a strong one; most medical practices treat symptoms not causes. And the side affects of treatment can be dire. Symptoms are an invitation to change something we’re doing or not doing. Ignore the message and most likely we will receive a stronger one shortly.

When I joined the Marines, in 1974, I maximized the physical fitness test conducted in basic training before graduation. I was the only one in my unit to do so. I was considered undersized. So, they made me eat double portions to gain weight. I’ve often joked that the government is responsible for my undesirable growth later in life.

When my military service was over my physical activity diminished. I stayed  involved in sports, initially, but lifestyle changes slowly brought me to less and less exercise. I ignored my diet, eating whatever I wanted without regard for where I was headed. I didn’t heed the gentle signs my body was sending. It took a heart attack to get my full attention. Could it have happened if I did a better job of taking care of myself? Absolutely. But it is also a possibility that I could have prevented or delayed it.

Many good decisions follow bad ones. What if we made better choices in the first place?Part of our reality is the artificially induced connectedness of technology. For all of our efforts to gain intimacy through social media platforms we are more isolated than ever. We ignore the benefits of authentic relationships with other people and, more importantly, with ourselves. The feeling of missing out has, you guessed it, caused us to miss out. We don’t get quiet enough, long enough, to receive the vital signs of emptiness.

MISIDENTIFYING THE POINT

Shame is the elephant in the room. While it’s true that we don’t get what we want, in life, we get what we are, we need to clarify the adage. We don’t get what we deserve we get what we feel we deserve. Positive thinking has many virtues. I’ve submitted to the practice of thinking good thoughts for many years, even speaking positive things, and lived with a feeling that contradicted my best thoughts.

Feelings attracts thoughts that reinforce feelings. And feelings dictate outcomes. Positive thoughts, by nature, are trying to change the way we feel. If the feelings are dominate, the thoughts, no matter how noble, will fail to bring about difference. This understanding has changed my life. Nobody can make me feel anything I don’t agree with. If someone says something disparaging to me, and I think it’s true I will feel the negativity of what was said. But, if I know it’s not true, I’m empowered to not feel a thing.

THE POINT OF AN AHA

From childhood until this very moment I have received a continuous flow of Aha moments. Many of them never converted to defining moments. I’m driven to communicate. I will immediately start sharing any and every revelation that comes to me. Sharing is good. Right? I would give away what I captured in my mind before I captured it in my heart. The results were sometimes excruciating, as I watched the wisdom change the feeling in other people while my feeling remained the same.

I’ve lived much of my life feeling damaged. I held on to what wasn’t working with a better thought bouncing of the walls of my mind. Clinging to my feeling prevented the insight from taking root. Powerful thoughts, which were working to align me with truth (I’m not damaged) couldn’t become foundational because my feeling kept shooing them away. Core beliefs are not only what you think – they are what you feel, about you. If we don’t change our feeling our mind and heart will continue to be at odds with each other.

When we possess the feeling of what we want to obtain, as though we already have it, our thoughts will rush to accommodate us.

APPRECIATING THE POINT

Oh what tangled webs we weave when, in fact, we are deceived. (slightly altered) I have an innate dislike for the saying: everything happens for a reason. It gets used like it sets us free from figuring out what we need to know. If we choose a conspiracy theory as our guide we insure a repetition of life experiences. If we can’t dissect what happens then what happens is meaningless.

Rejection is often redirection and not a denial. I’m now able to appreciate things that didn’t work out. I was trying to force things that were not meant for me. My desires were based on limited knowledge that led me to believe there was a singular way to go about things. That there was only one way to be in the world. What I was really doing was attempting to validate myself with infertile approval. I was sincere but confused.

The real detriment of comparison, is lose of identity. We’re subtly driven to be someone else because we think that’s the best version of ourselves. That’s just plain inaccurate. Our uniqueness is our assignment. It’s where we discover significance. I’ve wrestled with overwhelming disappointment because of the demeaning story I wrote, and lived out about myself. Good things are an indication of what’s in-store for us.

ACCEPTING THE POINT 

It it’s not fun, reconsider. We aren’t meant for hardship and struggle. The battle isn’t to acquire by force; It’s to cooperate with our purpose. From money issues to peace of mind the only conflict is what we believe (feeling + thought) about ourselves. We can separate from abuse if we are willing to stop abusing ourselves.

If I have to be you to be me I have a problem. The point of every message being sent to us is to ratify our reason for being here. Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. But, let’s not do it over and over without considering why we are doing it. Determination is not the same thing as stubbornness. What works and doesn’t work is very personal to each of us. Every one of us has a reservation to the flow of life. Our mission is to find it.

If we discriminate against ourselves we have, most assuredly, missed the point!

What is your greatest life lesson?

 

 

 

Is Your Flight Overbooked?

LIFE FLIGHT 

According to the Air Traffic Controllers Association, 87,000 flights crisscross the United States, every day. With a population of over 300 million people there are countless dreams and aspirations filling our air space. Gifts and talents, robed in passion, attempt to take-off and land successfully every minute of the day. Over-booking is more common than the average person notices.

possibilities

Image courtesy of Janine Forder via LinkedIn

Over half a million people were voluntarily or involuntarily denied boarding a scheduled commercial flight, in 2015. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) If there was a way to actually see, how many people had their dreams grounded, we could all share in the collective disappointment. It’s empowering indeed to be able to order discouragement off your plane.

It’s legal for Airlines to overbook flights for the sole purpose of insuring their success. They need us but, aren’t afraid to abuse us, when it serves them. We can fill our plane with too much and too many. We can’t do everything; we aren’t meant too. It’s all to common to spread ourselves so thin that we aren’t proficient at anything. Many of us are too busy to be successful. Talk about turbulence! Rising above the clouds is about being able to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

Some things are not within our control. Many things are. Sometimes we have excess baggage. We can carry it with us, if we are willing, to pay the high rate for the privilege. If we will take the time to analyze, value verses cost, we can streamline our travel experience. Things like self-doubt, fear, and intimidation are unnecessary items. Removing them from our luggage makes for a more pleasurable flight.

Flight Path

The unexpected can happen, anytime. Careful planning can help minimize negative effects or manage jubilation. If what we don’t want shows up, it can throw us into chaos. Even getting what we hope for, can catch us off guard, and cause our plane to shake, rattle, and roll.

orbit-free-pic-on-pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay

Prioritizing requires honesty and  sound decision-making. Keeping goals out in front eases inner conflicts. The new trend is to manage tasks instead of time. We should protect ourselves from the illusion, that all activity is productive. We can work tirelessly without getting the results we’re looking for. Doing things that lose sight of our mission is a trap to be avoided. Most people relax once takeoff is accomplished. We mustn’t forget the importance of landing. Success never just happens.

Our daily routine must include an inspection of our flight controls. If we hope to get air-born and safely touch down in our deepest aspirations, it’s a good idea to insure everything is working properly. Repairs are wisely done on the ground. Lots of effort is used up on things that aren’t getting us any closer to accomplishing our dreams. Many things that are distasteful or unpleasant, must be attended to, if we hope to see progress.

TRAVEL AGENT

I used to travel often. Back when flight crews were fun and the skies were friendly. More often than not, nowadays, your treated like a cold-hearted obligation or even an inconvenience. How dare you board our plane with any expectation of quality care! Too many service providers have forgotten, or decided against, great service. I appreciate quality and attention to detail. Something I encourage is a customer first mentality.

hangglider by pampy96 on commons.wikimedia

Image courtesy of pampy96 via commons.wikimedia

Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you! Then treat others the same way. Distance yourself from haters and dissenters. You are within your rights to bump them from your flight. Your success might depend on your willingness to exercise courage. One reason there are so many flights is because everyone is not going to the same place.

Success will forever be a foreign country to some. Once you decide where you are going you can work on your passport. Since we define success for ourselves we educate accordingly. Jack Canfield and many other experts travelers, offer this frequent flyer tip; “success is found in your daily routine.”

To avoid getting bumped from life, pick up a copy of my book: http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

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Check out the new online magazine; Read My Mind. Supported by an International collaboration of authors, bloggers, and artists. Subscribe today for free;  http://eepurl.com/cBEDZP

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret of Creative Competition!

AWARENESS                                                                                                                                                       I was born with it. I’ve lived with it. I’ve dreamed about it. I’ve nurtured it. I’ve left it sitting idle. I’ve picked it up again. I know it will never leave me alone. In spite of moments of frustration, if it disappeared, I’d be lost. It’s the thing I’m meant to do.

outoffocus Harry Pointer en.wikipedia

Image via en.wikipedia.org, courtesy of Harry Pointer

It can be overwhelming. How do I get this thing out of me. How do I make it live in the real world. I’ve trained. I’ve learned. I’ve worked hard at my craft. I’ve tried to focus on the things that are supposed to get me where I want to be. One set back after another has caused me to doubt myself. My gift. My purpose. I’ve walked away. I’ve come back to it. Like a revolving door I’ve gone round and round. I’ve danced with it. I’ve ignored it. I’ve held on to it for dear life. I can’t let go because it is me. It’s who I am.

Comparing ourselves thwarts individuality. We have common destinations – we do not have common journeys. Being exactly like someone else could only result in the loss of uniqueness. The distinction we are born with isn’t meant to turn us into plebs. Our struggle is more about how we are pursuing than what we are pursuing.

Broken Systems                                                                                                                                                 Magic happens when someone emerges from the masses. The declaration is undeniable, the message is clear, I’ve found myself and this is who I am. While imitation might be the best form of flattery, we can miss the point. Personal empowerment isn’t to follow in the steps of someone else. It’s to observe how they stopped following in the steps of others.

Divine intention is embedded in each of us. When we sacrifice the significance within we submit to being wrapped in the heap of those who never break from the doldrums. To find the sum of who we are we need the right equation. It’s not the stars on stage that we should count, it’s the stars in the sky.

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Image via flickr.com, courtesy of George Hotelling

Human aspirations are often cloaked in designer rhetoric that stunts our own growth. Following dictates of idolizing is a good way to render our lives idle, immobile, and unfulfilled.

Celebrating others is required for personal momentum. If it becomes more than appreciation we may be forfeiting our creative genius. The very thing that is fighting to be set free.

ASSESSING CORRECTLY                                           New research points out that the pursuit of happiness has become a burden for many. Causing stress, which defeats the reason for searching for it, in the first place. Trying to be someone or something you’re not is certain to hold bliss at bay. Defining meaning is personal.                           

insanity Connor McKee commons wikimedia

Image via commons.wikimedia.com courtesy of Connor McKee

There’s consensus for finding success in daily ritual. The desire to achieve greatness is often bewitched by ignoring small and consistent actions. Discipline, as it turns out, is not profane.

Affirmation, clarity, and identity doesn’t come after accomplishment – they come before it. We aren’t waiting for the world to recognize us, the world is waiting for us to recognize ourselves. Our routine speaks to how we see ourselves.

 

THE FINAL FRONTIER

We all begin with something to complete before we are finished. Competition is the single greatest threat to completing our assignment. When I heard Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, share that he was turned down 144 times before he obtained a publisher, I understood something. When you know what you are supposed to do you do it until you can’t be ignored. With over 500 million copies in print worldwide,  Jack didn’t see competition, he saw completion.

makeyourmark supermom_4110

Image courtesy of pixabay via supermom_4110

The Breakaway’s, those that rise to the top, don’t see a field of competition; they see a field of completion. External competition is imaginary. It’s an illusion. A distraction. Competition feeds the ego, dabbles in deception, and pollutes our best virtues. You can prevent the very thing that’s trying to find you. Completion is about peeling back the layers until all self defeat is gone.

The secret to creative competition is to know, deep in your soul, your only competition is inside you!

 

 

 

 

 

Exacting Opposites!

TIME WILL TELL

There’s a great line in the movie “The Quick and the Dead.” As the bad guys were pursuing their victims, they were being killed off one by one by Sam Elliott’s character. As they determined to continue forward the line goes, “We’re going but, we are going to go real slow, because I ain’t riding in to no head shot.”

Any man attempting to explain what a women wants from a man, needs to proceed with caution. I’m certainly no expert on the subject. I have learned some things and improved my relationship with my wife. This blog is not meant to be exhaustive. I’m simply engaging in conversation. I’m willing to share my experience, data, and some of the opinions shared by others.

It appears, with heavy consensus, men and women often want the same things but, have different ideas about how to get what they want. Even when men and women use the same words they often have different meanings. For instance, when you ask a man what’s wrong and he says nothing, nothing means; leave me alone. But when you ask a woman what’s wrong and she replies; nothing, nothing means you had better figure out what’s wrong and, be quick about it.

There’s a strong argument that men don’t want women to read their minds, with one exception. But, women not only want you to know what they’re thinking, they expect precision and speed.

I like to give watches as gifts because it fits an idea of mine that it’s important to know what time it is. There’s a time for everything. A time to stand your ground and a time to compromise so you have ground to stand on. A time to talk and a time to listen. There’s a time to pay attention and yes, there is a time to ignore. If you can’t tell time it will be difficult to be where you need to be when you need to be there. Women tend to be time keepers and men will be well served to synchronize. Timing is everything!

SELFISHNESS HAS NO HOPE OF EVER BEING SATISFIED

Most of the time what we want from each other is logical, meaningful, and appropriate. Many times our methods are what’s lacking. To stay committed to a strategy that isn’t working is an indicator of the presence of selfishness. When habits fail to produce desired results a change of habit might be in order. Nobility and virtue can not flourish when we insist on getting what we want in only one way. A decision has to be made if you want progress. Which is more important to you; getting what you want or getting it the way you want it?

Many people spend years educating themselves for a career. But one of the most important decisions we make is who we choose for a mate. Too often, more time is spent planning a wedding, than planning a marriage. You can’t just decide to be a surgeon and show up in an operating room without any training. And yet, many of us enter marriage without investing in learning what we need to know to be successful. Pre-op and post-op are there for a reason. If your relationship is ill, and it’s important to you, get a diagnosis, have the surgery and go to rehab.

Women tend to live from the inside out. When their heart is aroused hope is released. They are wired for nurturing. Women are creators of life. They think about taking a man in the womb and incubating him to perfection. Men, on the other hand, are wired to be gatherers, hunters, prone to be finished when they catch the girl. He concludes his work is done when she says, I do. Everybody needs to Wake Up!

The different wiring is designed to be complimentary to each other. Love, like life, is a delicate balance of tension. Stretch it too much and it snaps. Give it too much slack and it’s not functional. Understanding, appreciating, and respecting the different wiring allows for a pleasurable and fulfilling relationship. When we try to rewire one another we have an ongoing battle of the sexes. Men and women are wired for optimum coexistence.

Things like family of origin, societal pressure, and life experiences are often not considered when choosing a mate. Everyone has some baggage, dysfunction, and immaturity they bring into their relationships. Love has the potential to conquer all. But, when we aren’t skillful in the way love works it can easily breakdown and fail. Love is a great feeling but, unless you feel like working to maintain it, that feeling will pass.

STAY IN SCHOOL 

My wife and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage in May. We have much to celebrate. So much to be thankful for. I began more charming than prince. I have made some mistakes that only love and forgiveness could rectify. I am determined to be the man she wants. I’m the romantic in our relationship. I court her. Woo her and continually try to win her. Why catch her once when I can do it again and again? I was not a man, by my own definition, when I married. So, I became one.

I don’t spend any effort trying to change her. I have made myself a student of my wife. I learn her moods, hot buttons, pet peeves,  and emotional needs. I’ve learned her likes and dislikes. I have a grip on interpreting her code words. I wish I could say I do it perfectly. This is an art form not a science. It’s a way of life. I see her as a gift, a treasure, the most valuable part of my life. If I fail here no other success will compensate.

I do dishes, laundry, help with house work, and do much of the cooking. Routinely, not just on special occasions. Tina works out of the house while I work from home. Sharing the load is not some gift I give her but an acceptance of responsibility. I arrived at this point having originated from thinking these things were her job. I’ve simply learned how to make love to my wife when we’re not having sex. Sharing is caring!

Personal growth brought me an understanding of the practical ways in which men and women are affirmed. Men are moved by being praised and women are moved by being heard. So get moving. Why sit hardened in stubborn cement. Since one great fear of men is incompetence, criticism will shut a man down quicker than anything. A man will go round and round before he will ask for directions. Internally, he is fighting incompetence. He doesn’t want to be seen as not knowing where he’s going. It is a wise woman who will employ this insight. A subtle consequence of GPS is the salvation of many marriages.

Something I caught years ago, before my wife worked outside the home, was her need for me to listen to her when I came home from work. I had been out all day slaying the dragon. When I came home I was ready for my man-cave. The last thing I wanted was to talk. She had been home all day collecting all the things she couldn’t wait to talk to me about. This was a point of contention until I was willing to extend my studies.

There’s some debate about actual numbers but it’s generally accepted that women use about 20,000 words a day to a man’s 7,000 words. At about three words in I got what she was saying. I used to get upset when she insisted on continuing to explain. I got it already. I was solving the problem while she was still painting the picture. Will you please just stop talking?

She did not want me to solve the problem. She wanted to be heard. My job is to provide this space for her. My need for recognition of my competence dictated my quick response. I’m a problem solver. Why can’t she see this? Actually, I was creating a problem. I, eventually, found bliss in giving her my undivided attention. No multitasking. Just sitting calming, engaging the woman I love, while she expressed herself. For as long as it takes. I might not even get to offer a solution but, I have prevented a big problem for myself.

Tina is intelligent, intuitive, and wants the right to fix things herself. There might not even be a remedy. She might just need to vent, complain, or get something off her chest. I learned to use the time to admire her. To look deeply into her eyes. To show her I care about whatever is important to her. Her rant might even seem trivial to me, but she’s not. And, I want her to feel how important she is to me. The payoff is this makes me feel competent and her validated!

BEING HAPPY IS BETTER THAN BEING RIGHT 

I discovered a goldmine when I learned that the last word doesn’t always require syllables. Using love as the period to every conflict sustains the melody of the heart. A tender embrace, an assurance of safety, and a willingness to seek mutual resolution is perhaps the pearl of great price. Empathy has endurance. Romance is tied to understanding. Humor works wonders too.

If I win the argument, and I’m rewarded with an iceberg, what have I gained? Nobody crawls into bed with a loser and brags about the good time they had. Who wants leftovers from a fragmented and shattered opponent? Nothing is more distracting than feeling taken for granted, unaffirmed, and obligated. Dousing the object of your affection with a bucket of indifference is certain to cause the wrong kind of sparks. Happy is right in front of us if we will open our hearts to it.

CHECK THAT GREENER GRASS MYTH

If fantasy is greater than reality it’s time to call Houston, for we have a problem. There’s nothing more connecting than agreement. The greatest harmony is found in singularity. Deep fulfillment isn’t possible if the needs of both are not met. Balance is found in equality. When one person is elevated above the other disorientation ensues. If disillusionment sets in we have turned down a dead-end street.

No woman should stay in an abusive relationship and no man should stay an abuser. And vice versa. Love is worth living for – it’s not worth dying for some distorted version. You are worthy of a rich, rewarding, and abundant life. Give it to yourself and you will attract someone who agrees with you. Maybe even the one your with now!

If you know what you want you are ahead in the game. If you know how to get what you want you are remarkable. Giving up before we have exhausted every possible remedy makes us less likely to find what we’re looking for. Apathy tends to define a Blamer. Try being the mate you wish you had. You might just find your mate doing the same thing.

I found some keys to unlock my dysfunction. I share my discoveries in my book. If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness    http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t