The Small Things Are The BIG Things In Your Success.

Success happens with in the small things.

The small things is what makes all the difference,
because the small things are actually BIG mother f-cking things.

Have you noticed this?
I sure have luv.
I am sure that you have noticed how you can focus in on all these BIG ass boulders and you can spend your life trying to push those damn boulders up the mountain you are climbing,
with little to no movement,
and THEN,
then you do thi sone little thing,
that seem’s like nothing really.
It’s a no-duh sorta thing even,
it’s a thing that you wonder,
“Why did I never think of that?”
and you do it,
and it MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Yes success happens with in the small things.

Failure happens in the small things too.
You may understand this one a bit better.
Think about the relationships that you have had that have failed.
Was it big things or a pile up of small things that destroyed the intimacy,
the connection,
the trust,
even the love?

It was the small things , right?
Small things.
They seem so small
and so unimportant often.
They appear as though they should be easy to move through,
to avoid,
to conquer even.
And we most certainly should get over them quickly.
Small things are small hurdles after all.

And they are!
They are IF,
IF….

we let them be just that,
and we are proactive about discovering them,
and doing whatever it is that we need,
to clear the small hurdle.

Often this means,
small actions.

And in the land of success,
and moving those boulders with ease,
you have to be willing to look into things that are in your shadow,
into things that you may already be doing, ‘but are not doing where,
with whom,
or exactly how you need to be doing them.

These sort of things, are the things that can take you from zero to 60 in under a minute flat.

These sort of things,
can make or break you.

The issue always come’s back to realization of them,
and how we choose to perceive them.
It comes back to ego.
It comes back to heart.
It comes back to alignment.
Which means…..

What feels good,
and yet pushes your comfort zone.

The answer though is always in it feeling good.
Anything that does not feel good will create a low vibe in you and create chaos and destruction.
So NEVER….
NEVER EVER do that which you “think” you should do for anyone else, if it makes you feel bad in shape.
Especially if it scares you ass it may be dangerous,
it may cause some emotional or psychological issue within you, such as shame. Or it leaves you with a feeling of bitterness or fear of loss if you don’t do it.

This is not following your joy.
This is not alignment.
This is not jumping over a small hurdle to some success of moving that boulder up the mountain.

NO.
It most certainly is not.
Instead this sort of pushing through will add other boulders to your process and prevent you from success.

So put simple,
Just don’t do it.

It is okay to be selfish and say no to something or someone,
as saying now is saying f-ck yes,
to ourselves.

And being a f-ck yes to yourself will keep you high vibing!

Guess what luv,
saying yes to yourself at all cost,
is one of the most important small things you can do too.
It is the one small things that is the BIGGEST thing you can ever do to get that boulder up the mountain with ease.

But it will take courage.
It will take compassion for self first.
It will take passion,
and it will take a hell of a lot of self- love.

But YOU ARE WORTH it.

You are!

So focus in on the small things that will make all the difference today.
Focus in on the self-love that you have been denying yourself.
Focus in on the things that make you feel high vibe, make you laugh, make you smile.
Focus in on the small things as they are not small at all,
they are the BIG things.

And your success is going to totally rock out of the ethers because of these things.

Just say yes.
Say YES…
TO YOU.

And As Always,
Stop Existing & Start Living

—————————————————————————–
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It is NOT compromise. It is rape!

Are you effing kidding me?
Really?
How can you do that to your body?
To your psyche?
To your everything?

I don’t effing get it.
Yet…

I DO.

I get it because I use to do it too.
I did it so much that I grew comfortable with it.
It just became part of my norm.
And I did not see the bitterness and resentment that it engraved into my life,
into my relationship,
until it was too late.

I thought it was just how it was.
And that it was “okay.”

After all life is about compromise, right?
We cannot always have things our way,
and sometimes,
actually often,
we have to find a space that neither side gets what it wants and both give in to something that is doable to make the results the best they can be.

So, this is what I thought I was doing.
And I was.
And you are too!

But you want in on a little secret?
Not a secret, actually,
just a reality that you may not want t o hear because you may feel disgusting after you fully digest it.

In these times like I share here,
which happens to be all too many times in our lives.
In all areas of our life as I have discovered.

You are raping yourself.

Yes.
I just said that.

And I will say it again.
So happy f-cking Monday morn my peep’s!!!!

You are raping yourself.
You most likely are doing it right now.
Or you soon will be.
Or you will in a few hours or by the end of today.

Your raping yourself.
You are are bending over,
spreading yourself open,
saying “sure, that’s okay….yeah…yeah…let’s do this or that.”

You are believing that you have to do that in order to exist
You have to do it in order to keep peace,
in order to enjoy some rewards that you don’t believe you will have unless you give of yourself in this fashion.

You believe that if you were to say no.
To say I am not in the mood.
I am not turned on to this or that.
It does not feel good to me.
That actually hurts me.
I don’t like that at all.
I never get anything from this.

or…

some other statement of your lack of interest in it,
that you would loose something.

You are afraid that you would have life shut you down in some way.

You are afraid that if you stated your truth,
that you would not be received well,
and then that would hurt you more than just saying yes,
when you are a no.

So you say, ” Okay.. let’s do it!
And you figure, ” It’s just compromise. It’s just the way life is. You cannot have everything you want all the time. So what’s the harm is giving of yourself this time or the next when even though you really hate it, or are shut down to it?”

Whats the BIG effing deal?

Rape seems like a harsh term to use Kendal.
I am not raping myself!
I am just compromising.
I am just letting someone else use my body, my time, my energy, my money, my life for their pleasure. For their abundance building. for their goals and aspirations.

That is the way life works.
Have you not heard?

Sure I don’t feel great afterward.
My body feels yuck.
I feel a low grade depression.
I feel weaker,
less excited about things.
I have a tough time looking in the mirror.
Or making eye contact.
I crave all the wrong foods or I feel like not eating at all.
I am testy.
Moody.
Angry.
Anxiety ridden.
Fatigued.
Can’t sleep well.
Weaken immune system.

Yeah so what.
That is just part of life.
It’s not rape.

Well, I am sorry to shed the light on this for you,
but as a woman who has experienced rape in the sexual nature a couple of times in my life,

and as a woman who has had all too much duty sex AKA self rape ( in my opinion),

and as a woman who has allowed herself to be raped emotionally, psychologically, financially, time wise and many other ways through out life here and there.

I will tell you with utter certainty.

YOU ARE RAPING YOURSELF!!!!!

And to make matters worse.
You think its normal.
Its okay.
That you have too.

OMFG!!!!!
Have a little love for yourself already.
You got no love?
How about empathy?
Compassion?

Where the f-ck is your give a shit for you?
Yet you claim you want a life worth living.
You claim you want to make changes.
You claim you want joy,
happiness, love.
ABUNDANCE.

But you think by spreading your legs and allowing someone else to have their way, to pump pump eww goo in you and get theirs that you are going to somehow succeed at having the life that you want? ( scratching my head here.)

Are you effing kidding me?
You are crazy!

That is all I have to say.
Although,
I get it.

I REALLY do.
Because I have been you.
In all areas of my life.

But you know what the reality is?
At some point,
You have to close up your rape shop.
You have to start to honor yourself enough,
to say NO.

You have to get into integrity with the most important person in your life.

YOU.
And you have to not just give it lip service, no you have to actually commit to it.

You want freedom based living?
You want a F-ck Yes Life?
You want to be in love with yourself and your life?
You want to be proud of yourself?
You want to actually succeed at having what you claim you want?

Well here is the gig.
You must stop raping yourself.

In all areas of your life.
It is time.

As always,
Stop Existing & Start Living

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The Gift of Relationship in Life Success

Relationships break us open.
Relationships unfold us to a life that is deeper than we could ever know possible on our own.
Relationships can be freeing,
Or they can be crippling.

Relationships are our defining energy of how we penetrate our lives.
They define how we surrender to the greatness of our lives.
They define how we allow ourselves to receive and create blessings and/or suffering.

Everything we do in life,
We do through relationship.

This last year I have been in this awakening of just this that I share with you today.
I have been coming into the beautiful realization of my truth and how it has manifested and shown me all the guidance I could ever want for through my relationships with lovers, friends and family.

My realization (and perhaps you may feel some alignment too) is that I have been resisting my truth.
I have been hiding from my own uniqueness and power thus of it.

In January I lost what one might say was the love of a lifetime. My heart died that day and I have been looking for a path of resurrection for it so that I can open again to the blessings that a fierce penetrative love can bless one with.

In May I lost my second primary relationship in a shocking 2 hour event that I am sure I will never understand. This relationship taught me so much about my desires, about emotion and stability. It taught me about detachment and harshness and it showed me my weaknesses in my boundaries and lienliance around many things and I was shown just how blind one can be in a relationship as well as how we NEVER know anyone truly.

These two relationships alone have revealed to me a beauty and a reality of who I am and how I have been choosing to show up in life as well as how I am willing to receive from life or not.

I have come to a realization of my set points.
Of my programs around abundance, value, love, money and joy.
I have come into a point of awareness that each of these relationships were holding me back from my full potential.

The healing must still manifest in its own way.
But the truth is that I have been blessed without measure. I have been provided with the opportunity to create the legacy that I desire for my life.

If I tried to hold tight to the energies (the relationships) that were lower vibe than what I wanted for my life, then I would only set myself on a path of further suffering.

As a former love above says, ” A reason, a season or a lifetime.”

So true is this statement.
As every relationship offers one of these.
And we never know what it is until we reach its end.
And even then,
As past has taught me,
Some relationships serve all of the above.

And everyone of them reveals more of who we are.
Everything is a relationship.

If you are struggling then all I have to say is that there is hope. You can have it all. You really can.

I swear to you,
That if this effed up single mom of of seven from the wrong side of the tracks can find hope,
Can discover her truth,
And can manifest a life that is beyond what I believed.

Then you too can have your dreams manifest into reality.

Look at your relationships,
See their beauty no matter the pain they bestow,
And embrace who you are.
Embrace your truth.
Embrace your desire.
Embrace your power.

And as always,
Stop Existing & Start Living.

How to attain true success.

You want to know the secret to your SUCCESS?

It is the same as the secret to my success,
or anyone’s success.

I am not speaking about the sort of success that is just about material items, although we love a nice house and car.
We all want the finer things in life, or at least those things that we crave, enjoy and make us feel a certain way. Provide us with the comforts that we desire.

Success is more than that.
A truly successful life is about feeling good about every aspect of your life even if it is not ideal in the moment you know that it is part of your harmonic flow. You see its vital impact on moving you toward your deeper self.

Notice I said deeper self not next level self.

True success,
is about having all of the material things you desire but also the relationships that you want. The connections to others that open you further and further and help you connect even more to who you truly are.

True success,
is about accessing the feelings and thoughts that keep you in your harmonic flow and recognizing them, being in gratitude for them, and focusing in on allowing more of them to manifest into your life.

True success,
Is about….

are you ready?

% Soul Connection!

This is where you become the alchemist of your life.

This is how you command down the blessings that you know at your core that are yours.

This is how you fully step into your worthiness.

But you have to clear out ANYTHING that does not align to your Soul Connection.

And here is where us humans run into our resistance.
It can be referred to as “fear of success” or “self sabotage”
because it is both of those things.

It is one of the most difficult things to do because it requires us to face the reality of what our soul wants. It means that we have to become selfish. That we have to CLAIM our lives in full and without doubt of the future or loss.

It means that we must step fully onto the soul path and become that soul crusader where we learn ONLY TO SAY YES to our soul and have the courage, stamina and strength of heart to say no to all other calls that our world will try and enforce on us. This means that we will find ourselves in positions where we must break hearts, not show up the way others may expect or require for a relationship, and that we may have to even say goodbye to people, ways, systems and patterns that we have enjoyed but no longer serve our soul path.

Most people choose to stick with what has been.
Most people choose to stick with old relationships,
patterns, habits, feelings and comforts.

All the while “wishing” for something more because they feel the emptiness,
the lostness, of what they could be, do, have
if they just listened to soul and got in alignment to that.

But that would require a fierce connection to soul,
where hesitation to make changes did not exist or could quickly be overcome.

That would require a love for self-
and a self-worth that most do not posses.

This is why a true soul crusader is hard o find.
This is why it is the .01% of people who actually have TRUE SUCCESS in life.

Who die without or at least limited regret.
Who can say that they followed their hearts
feel like they are connected to the divine,
and living on purpose.

Is this you?
Is this what you crave?
DO you feel a warmth in your core,
a desire in your inner most being?

Does your heart tighten at the fear that you may let this life,
this precious gift that you have been given slip by without fully SAYING YES to your SOUL?

To God’s call on your life?

Then STOP saying no.
You were born for greatness baby.

It is all about you.
It always has been.
You are the center of your world and you are the ONLY ONE
who can CLAIM YOUR LIFE.

Stop Existing & Start Living
Join me in October for 5 weeks of transformation,
where YOU Claim Your LIFE in 2018 Once and For All.
Message me for details….
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Sick As Shit, But NOT Accepting This.

I most likely “should” not be doing this today, after all I am sick.
I am recovering from this nasty as f*ck cold that took over my voice, my chest, my head, my sinuses. Keeping me awake hours all night and just not letting me sleep like a hungry lover who never is fulfilled.

I most likely “should” just cancel my day and F-ck it!
I most likely “should” go to the doctor and get some med’s to help me bust through this shit quicker.

Yeppers.
That is what I most likely “SHOULD” do.

But that is NOT what leaders do.
That is not what high vibe peep’s do.
That is not what those of us who have dreams do.

No.
It sure is f*uck not.

I might be sick.
I certainly need to take some TLC time.
I most defiantly need rest and a few good nights sleep.
But incorporating a practice of “shoulding on myself?”
I am F-CK NO to that one.

That will not heal me quicker or help me reach my goals.
It will not bring my being to a higher VIBE.

It will dilute me.
It will suck me dry from the false judgement,
the ego,
the fear,
the resistance of being all of me.

It will prevent me from SHINING my Mother F-cking Light as strong as I WANT to.

The issue is NOT in the things that I say I “should” do or “should not” do.

The issue is the SHOULD.

The statement of should say’s that I am basing…
My life,
My health,
My beliefs,
My goals,
My style,
My attitude,
My sex,
My money,
My LIGHT

on what I BELIEVE the world thinks I should do or should not do/be/have.

It is not based on WHO I AM, but on who I think society will accept the most.

There is the issue.

You know this issue, don’t you?
I bet you know it intimately even.

Maybe to intimately to acknowledge even,
keeping this relationship with “SHOULD” in the hiding as much as you can.
Acting as though you are removed from it,
Like you divorced it.
You don’t have that issue any longer.
That was the old you.

The new you is…

ENLIGHTENED.

Right?

Hahahahahahahahah…..
Okay sure.

I will let you sit there with that.
And I will sit here with mine.
And we can just sit in silence of our hiding our truth for just a second longer.

But here is the issue in that….

I can ONLY sit here a second with it.
I simply don’t have the time to give my life to all the “SHOULD’S and SHOULD NOT’S”

I simply KNOW with CERTAINTY that they will NEVER provide me with anything that I want.

They will only steal my breath.
They will only take my dreams and bury them in the waste land of a life that COULD HAVE BEEN.

They will only fill my soul with REGRET.

No.

I sure as F-CK DO NOT have more than a second of my time to sit here with you, in the silence of not chasing my dreams.

I know with CERTAINTY that God has my back.
I know with CERTAINTY that anything I truly put my mind, heart and attention to will manifest like f-cking magick for me.

I know with CERTAINTY that you can have this too.

But FIRST.
First you have to let go of your shoulding nature.

First you have to say goodbye to it,
let yourself cry your tears of mourning of letting go of all that holds you back,
(she coughs)
Yes your hold backs, those things that feel so f-cking safe and comfortable.

I KNOW you don’t want to admit it.
I KNOW you want to cringe at the realization of it.
I KNOW that you find yourself holding your breath,
feeling guilt or shame even around it,
But it is F-CKING TRUE.

Isn’t it?

Imagine if you just FINALLY accepted that you were limitless.
Imagine if you just FINALLY decided to get selfish.
Imagine if you just FINALLY chose to say YES,
Yes to YOU.

Who would you be?
What would you have?
Where would you go?
What would you do?

Imagine if you just stopped shoulding on yourself.
What would it FEEL like with out the should in your life?

Seriously,
I am the one who is SICK AS F-CK here…
I am the one that “should” be crying in my yogurt about how crappy I feel,
How tired I am,
How shitty my body feels today,
How much I still have to do and have no energy for.

F-CK THAT!
You won’t catch me doing that.

Instead,
Instead you will see me leaning in to the discomfort of
SAYING YES….

YES, to the most important person in this Mother F-cking world.

YES to ME.

Saying YES
to self care,
telling myself that I am worthy,
that I am lovable,
that I am unf-cking stoppable,
that I am powerful,
beautiful,
magnetic
and healthy.

Sh*t Ain’t Going To Get Me Down.
I will step past that “Should Pile” and I will put on my shoes,
eat my yogurt and strawberries,
drink my coffee and water,
write out my commandments of manifestation,
BREATHE in Life.
And SHINE.

Now the ONLY Question of the day that remains,
Is what will you do with your “should pile?”

STOP Stepping in it!
That is what I highly recommend.

And As Always, 
Stop Existing & Start Living

Join Kendal TODAY for a F*ck Yes Life experience. Limited time access to 1:1 coaching and online coaching programs to help you master your FREEDOM based life NOW.

The Hidden Issues of Marriage- How Care, Respect, Interest, Play, Attention, and Power Determine Success and Failure in Our Relationships

Money, sex, in-laws, vacations, communication, children–these head the list of explicit concerns couples struggle with in their marriage. But there are deeper and more significant issues. Often these are hidden from direct discussion or awareness. Care, respect, interest, play, attention, and power are the real issues couples have. These are the themes that make for happiness or misery, that fulfill or destroy dreams. Couples who have harmony in these realms have relationships that hold together, breed vitality, and foster creativity. We are creatures driven by invisible currents, often imperceptible to the casual or the inattentive observer. A case-in-point: What may seem to be a couple’s routine argument about which movie to see may be a hidden power struggle. One partner feels that she has been capitulated too many times to her husband’s preferences, even though in a less competitive moment his first choice would also have been hers.

In this article I will define and illustrate what I consider to be six below-the-surface issues in marriage and offer observations on how we might approach consciously living-out these themes in less destructive and more positive ways.

Care

John and Sarah (All names and identifying data have been changed.) are starved for caring. John grew up in a love-deprived home without a mothering mother. His mother, in and out of mental hospitals during his childhood, looked to her elder son to take care of his three brothers. After doing his own school work, he would make sure his siblings did theirs, clean house, and make dinner for his depressed mother and his exhausted and overburdened father. His parents were so absorbed in their mental and financial survival, respectively, that they did not even thank him. His sole comfort was managing to keep a semblance of sanity in the family and save his mother some visits to the hospital. When he met Sarah, a lovely young woman with a soft voice and an appreciation for his good efforts, he was joyfully overwhelmed. Here at last was one who understood, here at last was one who wanted to create a family in which thought and feeling and aspiration could be shared and executed together. He felt cared for.

For Sarah their meeting was equally promising. She had also been brought up in a family devoid of emotion–an austere mid-western family, in which mother never hugged and father sat remotely over ceremonial occasions, but had little else to offer. Sarah suffered from diabetes and John’s sense of order promised to help her maintain a regimen for optimal health. She believed she had found the man who would warm her heart and take care of her temporal needs. They, of course, fell in love with each other–for what is “falling in love” but finding another whom we believe meets–and will continue to meet–our needs. They married and, alas, a failure of “caring” soon began.

Sarah, it turned out, notwithstanding her gentleness and eagerness to be helpful, had only a rudimentary sense of empathy for emotional nuance. She knew how to do what she believed were “caring’ behaviors, but lacked a heart that matched John’s sensibilities. In their first year of marriage John’s brother was made paraplegic in a car accident. As he lived in the same city as John, he balanced his own families needs with attending to his brother, returning to his bedside and taking on his care much as he had looked after him when he was a little boy. Sarah attempted to be supportive, but John’s absence from the home, his drives across town twice a week to fill in for the nurses, his continually being on the phone to doctors, began to sink Sarah’s heart, as she wondered what happened to the man she married. She no longer felt John’s caring.

Caring is the constant and tender ministrations that we all look for in our partners. In many couples the most fundamental question is: Does she or he care enough? How precious is the statement that “He really does care.” How poignant the transparent defensive posturing, “I really don’t care what she does.” We need for persons to intend the best for us and to have us in their minds and to carry out acts of caring. The absence of caring breeds shame and worthlessness. Explicit issues of being home for dinner when expected, taking out the garbage, driving slowly when one’s partner is anxious about speed, or speedily when one’s partner is anxious about dawdling, are not “little things” but significant carriers of caring feelings. These are as intensely important, as urgent as the deepest demands of the human heart. In fact, that’s what they are.

“I care for you.” “He doesn’t care for me.” These are among the tenderest, most sought, and most feared sentiments persons express to one another. When caring behaviors become sparse, couples are fading in their vital attachment to one another. Caring behaviors are those acts subtle or blunt by which we convey to the other that we wish his or her happiness, safety, fulfillment. It is caring to feel deeply for our partner’s most searing fears and griefs; it is also caring to listen to her talk about her high school reunion. Caring is wishing the person well and acting to back up that wish. When we care we go the proverbial extra mile. Caring also conveys, implicitly, commitment, for caring is being present to the other as long as we are needed. We “are needed” a long, long time. Few in-love couples pre-arrange their breaking-up.

Take a look at your relationship. Do your feel cared for? Do you care deeply about your mate? Talk with your partner and let him tell you how he feels. Summon the courage to hear that she may not feel nearly so cared about as your have imagined. In fact, you may have forgotten actually to care, and you may have become so used to being in an uncaring marriage that you aren’t even paying attention to the state of caring between you. Examine what has happened to your caring. Did it evaporate? Was it ever there?. How does your caring interweave with other themes of your relationship–with power and respect, for example? What do you need to do, to have your partner do, before caring can be revived? Do you need the help of a guide or therapist? Is it worth your investment of energy? Are you really serious about trying? And if so, how will you begin? How much energy will you give to realizing this possibility?

Respect

After their first idyllic months together, Ellen and Newton composed a gradual crescendo of disrespect which climaxed in a bitter divorce. What began as a story-book romance–a chance meeting in Key West where each had, uncharacteristically, taken solo vacations for introspection and R&R– she seeking refuge from an abusive marriage and he solace from a series of failed relationships. Newton was present and comforting to Ellen as she recounted the emotional and physical abuse she had suffered for years in an attempt to keep the marriage together for the sake of her children and in deference to her family’s pressure to avoid, at-all-cost, divorce.

Ellen, at first enamored of Newton’s vast intellect, and proud of his talent at engaging any person in fluent conversation, came to despise “his narrow academic interests” and his “pompous colleagues.” She deplored his long work hours and his extended field trips. She panicked about his regularly having several drinks before dinner. He showed no desire for children of their own. Fundamentally, Ellen did not respect his interests, his style, his friendships. Though she “tried” to persuade herself that she could learn to admire him, that he had a “right” to do what he did without her standing in judgment. Yet, in her soul she was negative to and threatened by many of the ways he lived.

Newton, at first attracted to Ellen because of her needfulness, after a few months of marriage began to see her less as loveably vulnerable than as one whose unhappiness was a drag on his contentment. He began to realize that he who had begun the relationship as the “white knight” for helping her escape from her unhappy and entrapped marriage had now become the oppressor. Her vulnerability became, to him, a contemptible craziness and instead of being with her in sympathy for the way the world was treating her, he became part of the world that was tormenting and abusing her.

The relationship, having made an 180 degree turn from affirmation of each other–their styles, looks, habits, values, commitments–to denigrating practically everything about one another, found itself on a steady course of decline and, eventually, divorce. To be trapped on a path where each partner judges the other as not living an admirable life is fatally demoralizing. Ellen “tried” to see Newton differently and the more she tried the more it was evident that underneath her posturing sweetness and positivity, there was repulsion. Many times Newton resolved not to attack her with “crazy-making” accusations, but when she would get upset at one of his absences or pretensions, he would forget his resolutions and “go for the gut.” Newton and Ellen had neither power, nor awareness, nor will to face straight-out that they did not admire one another. They repeatedly fought over mundane differences, ignoring the deeper angers and judgments that made them crash-bound. Hardly a marriage survives in this atmosphere; none happily. Theirs did not.

Respect means liking and affirming your partner for who he or she is in the world. Of course, being separate creatures with our own prejudices and definitions, some things about others we like, some we do not. But loving relationships that are truly satisfying are founded on mutual respect. We need to feel that others believe the attitudes we have, the professions we pursue, the charities we support, the jokes we tell are, for the most part, pleasing to them. If this is not happening, then there is a major problem brewing. People kill each other when they feel disrespected, and couples kill their marriage when disrespect prevails.

If you feel that respect in your relationship is becoming thin, take a long look at yourself and attempt to understand just how deep this disrespect goes. Have you, for some time, been feeling negative about how you partner leads her life, and have you been less than direct about it? Or perhaps you can look within yourself, at your own values. If you are failing to respect your partner, you may want to examine your behavior and see if you are emphasizing negative things to the detriment of the positive. Sometimes things are correctable, but you must address problems before the toxins of disrespect have ravaged your connection. If you want to develop respect, there is no better way to begin than frankly talking with your partner about your failings in this arena and beginning to construct a new basis for respect. If you can’t find it, then you are indeed in trouble.

Interest

A common way of describing a relationship is when persons acknowledge being “interested” in each other. “Interesting” covers a lot of territory. Though nature may have first created interest to assure replication of life, sex, recasts as interest, extends far into realms as diverse as intellectual complexity, athletic skills, winsome personality, and playing a mean game of chess. One of our strongest drives is the compulsion away from boredom. Losing interest defines depression.

Mitchell and Lori had only been married a couple of years when Mitchell lost interest. In the beginning their fascination for each other never cooled. He was strong and quiet, she, shy socially, but super-active athletically. She led him out of himself into a new world of sports and outdoors. He offered her a quiet refuge and protection from the many times she over-extended herself with activities. All went well until her job began to keep her into the evenings and weekends. He depended on her for stimulation, for keeping things going that were fun and engaging. Only a few months after Lori’s absence-making schedule began, Mitchell initiated afternoon dalliances with a coworker that quickly blossomed into a passionate affair. When Lori discovered his infidelities, the ensuing struggles, the threat of loss, and the reminder of their strong early attraction to one another reignited their desire to make a satisfying marriage.

Research indicates that affairs are seldom primarily sexually motivated. Most often they are persons’ attempts either to stimulate their life, or having lost a feeling of being desired in their relationship, discover if one can still be attractive to other partners. Nothing flattens a couples energy more than to have lost interest in one another–if the trend continues downward, persons can lose interest in being alive.

How can you make the uninteresting interesting? By paying acute attention. Anything looked at up close and personal is interesting. If something is interesting it sparks our creativity, it brings out our most primitive organismic sense of pleasure in relating to reality outside of ourselves. Interest brings us into heart and mind augmenting connection with the world. And persons are infinitely interesting for they are in continual ferment, discarding old and taking on new forms in a cacophony of novelty and growth.

Love is continually renewing interest. How many good films do you see where there is no “love interest.” (Note, “love-interest”–it’s almost a single word.) Interest is the life of relationships. Lose interest, death of the relationship. How do you retain and engender interest? By being willing to be open for it. By not expecting the other person to carry the full responsibility of being “interesting” to us. It is just as true–and perhaps a truth of more import–to say that you are responsible for your own ability to be interested. The lazy brain is the uninterested brain. Further if you are not interested you hardly accept the other as he is, for you are always looking for “something else” to carry you out of your stupor of disinterest.

Play

Play is the purest and fullest expression of joy–the most basic positive emotion. There are many forms of play. Sexuality may head the list, but not far behind is walking around the block, enjoying family rituals, laughing over the comics, watching a child grow up, matching rhythms and harmonies with one another. Play is pure; it is without pretense; it aspires to be nothing but itself. It is nature’s way of letting us know we are in the flow of experience. To play together is both to be in sync with the world and one another. We become couples, in large measure, because we play well together. Whether we are attending a lecture, going to the beach, or venturing into Eros, the compelling meeting between two persons can best be described as play. Persons are attracted to each other, not because they work well on projects together, but because they enjoy playing with one another.

When Rosemary and Spaulding met they were beautiful and talented young people who enjoyed parties, romance, and fanciful dreams of success. After their marriage they moved from a small town in the south to a large eastern city for Spaulding to attend law school. It turned out that he had talent for patent law and paternity, and before long his practice was successful and his home full. Rosemary bore five sons and gave herself to twenty years of active and consuming motherhood, along with making a home for her work-laminated husband.

Rosemary craved play. She didn’t know its name, but she knew she needed something. She tried tennis, encounter groups, therapy, religion, dancing. She discovered she liked all of them. Relieved of the demands of her large brood of children, she was ready for grown-up play. She learned to look people in the eye, talk about her feelings, claim her sexuality. She desperately wanted to engage her husband with her in her newly found playfulness. Rosemary urged, demanded that Spaulding join her, but his manner of play was to sit quietly with the newspaper, worry about the stock market, keep up with sports, and follow his sons’ progress. His games she could never play, and as for her parenting, it was time for a change of venue. She needed a playmate–i.e. a man to share with her in the new pleasure and creativity she had discovered in her life, and he hardly filled the (play)bill. For Rosemary play was the avenue to closeness and Spaulding’s inability to play with her caused a severe gap in their happiness together.

From the beginning we play. We virtually come into the world playing. Play is losing ourselves in unplanned pleasurable abandon of mind and body. Play feels good. Play expands the body, loosens the breathing, rushes the blood, releases endorphins and epinephrine and dopamine. When relationships form there’s a lot of playing. So many activities for couples are play activities. Dating, dancing, going to the movies and…sex are play. Sex is high and vital adult play; when it’s work it’s no fun. Play is an accepting activity for it exists for its own sake. This is perhaps why play often gets such a bum rap.

You and your partner probably don’t play nearly enough. As heirs of Puritanism, you may feel that everything should be “purposeful,” that present activity–even play–should be leading to something else that justifies your effort. But acceptance is not future oriented; it is receiving and enjoying with your partner what is in the present–and no activity is more “in-the-present” than play. If you can’t play, you are much too anxious about what is “not yet.” Play releases, it transcends a “not-now-consciousness” to enter an “experiencing-now-consciousness” that is pure enjoyment. Being able to share the play-moment makes you indeed partners in living life freely and for fun.

Attention

Jerry wants to be “heard.” He has countless stories about how Jennifer repeatedly paid no attention to what he told her. On the first thanksgiving visit to his uncle’s (the grand-old-man of his family) home when he implored Jennifer never to reveal that they had lived together before they were married. He knew that his bachelor uncle was notorious for his Victorian morality, which dwelt alongside a great mind and loads of money to distribute solely to his two nephews. Jennifer, after several of glasses of Chateau Rothchild, let the secret of their cohabitation slip. Uncle abruptly asked them to leave and seven years later has neither spoken to nor about them.

Jennifer’s story is of her futile attempts to have Jerry listen to her terror of his family. Again and again she had stressed to him that his family’s loud and condescending ways made her shrink with discomfort and fright. She told Jerry that the only thing that could help would be to medicate her anxiety with wine, and that she knew that she sometimes got out of control. Jerry paid little heed. Through their failure to listen attentively to each other, they lost family and inheritance… and gained anger and disappointment with each other.

From our beginnings, we must be attended to. Children not “heard,” neither mirrored not understood, whose sense-of-self is grossly handicapped by the indifference of others, literally do not survive their childhood. Did you ever speak to someone when you thought he was in the room with you, perhaps voicing a thought about a shared experience, and found he had walked out of the room leaving you talking to air. You felt disappointed, foolish, annoyed. That is what it is like not to be heard, not to be attended to. You begin to think that actually you don’t exist.

Like so many who do not feel heard, Jennifer and Jerry resort to aggressive and sometimes ruthless measures to gain attention. Jennifer demeans Jerry’s manhood, talks about old boy friends being more appealing to her than he is–“They listen”, and threatens further havoc on his family, aimed this time at his parents. Jerry scowls and yells, or alternately he takes a passive, withdrawn stance, hoping to invoke such guilt in Jennifer that she will pause and listen to his side of things. Both are so caught-up in trying to force the other to hear them, that they are like the United Sates attempting to save Vietnam by destroying it.

As a marriage therapist, I see an endless parade of persons who drag their partners to counseling with complaints about how they are not being attended to. The complaints come in many forms: not being heard or listened to, not being seen or sought out, not being thought about or remembered. All of which make the unattended-to person very insecure about whether she or he is truly valued by the other.

If you are to learn better to attend and be attended to, you must become aware that listening, indeed, is your deficiency. You need to check out your narcissism to see just how self-absorbed you are and how effectively you take in what is real about your partners. In many households, persons go weeks without ever so much as inquiring after their partners feelings or even their everyday experiences. Are you one of these? And if you feel you are rarely attended to, pay close attention to your experience, are you often wishing for more or different than your partner can give? If all else fails, ask your partner if he or she feels attended to and known. If you and she are not reassured by her response, then undertake a course of training–with friends, therapists, family, books–to see if you actually want learn and develop the courage and skill of empathy.

Power

Human beings abhor feeling “less-than.” We can’t bear for another to get the upper hand. We have many ways to even scores. The recent popularity of “First Wives Club” and “Waiting to Exhale,” gives strident witness to the “fun” and satisfaction we have in seeing others get their comeuppance when they become too powerful for the good of both partners. We fear that our partner may be ahead of (translate better than or superior to) us, or worse, that she or he may be “feeding-off” us. We attempt to correct this by conscious and unconscious balancing designed to make sure we do not end up on bottom. We work, all out, to stay on top. Case in point: Paul washes the dishes and points out to Anna that she should appreciate his efforts; he claims that what he does more than compensates for her vacuuming the house; she then agues that, not only did she vacuum but she shampooed as well and this puts her ahead….and on it goes.

There are several varieties of roles that are used in the power struggle. A couple of favorites are the victim and the saint (variations: nag and “Nice Guy,” wimp and the tyrant). The victim is always “down” and refuses to allow the other person to enjoy their “up” position. Victims blame; they invariable see the problem as the bad behavior of the other. Elizabeth is an assertive and demanding victim, as she approaches most of their talks with Brian, her husband, with a full agenda of grievances for his “failures” in treating her well. Brian is ever eager to please, but nothing he does ever seems to be enough, nothing ever seems to work. If his behaviors are “right” then his timing is “wrong.” Always, he is either agreeable or compromising, yet what he does is bumbling and only succeeds for Elizabeth half-way. If he comes home early one night, she reminds him that his job is less secure this year so he had better take no liberties; when he is late she speaks of the children feeling neglected.

Brian is the model “Nice Guy,” a sort of Sensitive Man version of a saint. He listens to Elizabeth; he “empathizes” (i.e. he insists he “understands what she means”); he smiles at her with sweetness and reassures her of his love. But there is a darker side in this hidden power struggle: he is “injured” that she does not appreciate his efforts more fully, for underneath he feels “put-upon” and “had-it-up-to-here” about her demands and pleadings. He neither lets himself or her know just how disgruntled and resistant he is. She tries to get him to admit it. She tells him “Don’t you resent my going-on all the time about wanting more from you?” He responds, “A bit, but I understand that you are really hurting, and I want to do the best I can.” But, from time to time his real upset is apparent even to him, when he says flat-out to her insistence that he interrupt his racquetball to be home “on time” for dinner–” Well, I just can’t do that.” Underneath this “Nice Guy” trait there resides the resentful mind of one who feels he is being more misunderstood than is his wife. His attitude is strength and availability, but beneath the surface there is determination not to be “used,” not to be made accountable for what he believes in his heart-of-hearts is more her “fault” than his. He is fighting her and she him. The explicit issues of their marriage, his time availability, his forgetting anniversaries, his financial instability are rendered trivial by the velvet war they are raging for dominance. Bit by bit they have lose confidence in mutual good will and caring. And without this assumed reciprocity of energy and love, a power struggle sets in.

When the dynamic themes of your relationship are suffering from failures of loving connection, developing “power-over” often becomes by default the mode of choice. Power is the booby prize for failure of respect, care, et al. If we can’t be with our partners, at least we can exercise power over them. So we become obsessed with being winners. There are so many ways to have power struggles: they can be well disguised as content discussions or battles over “important” things–when the deeper theme is showing who can win: we may feign willingness to give our partner what she wants, but our deeper intention is to dilute her justifiable anger for our inconsiderateness; we can bring up issues in public that have not been worked out in private in order to get help from one of our friends whom we know shares our opinions.

You probably did not fall in love with your partner because either of you demonstrated power over the other–relationships are rarely fueled by the winner enjoying being related to a loser. Should you find yourself lost in power trips, ask yourself just what are you feeling inferior about that you might go for the “win?” Know that your love and positive connection are out of kilter, and you have surrendered to a power trip disguised as a marriage. Are you willing to invest in the delicate and vulnerable reinvention of a balanced and reciprocal marriage?

How it all adds up….

In all of these hidden issues there is a common theme, whether care, or respect, or interest, or play, or attention, or power: acceptance. We are social creatures and the central question of all human existence is: Do you accept me? Am I OK with you? Do you embrace me, or do you push me away? What is my future with you? Are you a refuge, a safe harbor? Or do I have to worry about being alienated from you? At the core of the human psyche and soul is the yearning for the continuation and fulfillment of the unconditional love often provided for us as infants. We are born of parents whom nature, at its best, provides with instinct and wisdom that they may lovingly respond to our needs–simply because we are. Beginning within the womb and beyond, when things go the way nature intended, we experience ourselves as given-to as though we were a pure gift of joy to our human companions who are pleased with us and we with them. This is the imprint by which all our social life, and most centrally our marriage life, is measured.

The hidden themes of marriage are variations on acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is life’s first gift, and our lifetime task is to recover and amplify, in the specifics of our relationships, the infinite variations on this theme.Care is acceptance as we recapitulate the mother’s tender loving gaze and gentle ministrations for each others’ well being. Respect is acceptance as we honor the particularity of our partners in ways that they feel their life “as is” is highly esteemed. Interest is acceptance as we let our partners know that they draw our energy positively and vigorously. Play is acceptance as partners’ flowing, mindless, expressions connect with high pleasure with one another and all life. Attention is acceptance as we feel heard and known by one another, and by this experience confirm our entitled place in life. Power is the energy of acceptance fostered when one surrenders to being with one another, never dominating thus relieving fear, and gathering the synergy of true mutuality.

 

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Robert Caldwell, M. Div. has a private practice of individual, couple, and group psychotherapy in Bethesda. He is a Licensed and Certified Professional Counselor.