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The fourth installment of my series on masculine and feminine energy discusses toxic masculinity, which is a popular buzz term floating around right now and one I feel should be addressed in a series about energies. (If you haven’t yet read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, I recommend you do so before continuing).
“Toxic Masculinity” is described in Wikipedia as masculine behavior that is harmful to men themselves, and society as a whole. It usually refers to stereotypical male behavior that includes violence, bullying, objectification of women, homophobia, and misogyny. In the dating and relationship arena, toxic masculinity is chauvinistic, misogynistic, and belittling and is not the empowering, uplifting, and valued energy that I’ve discussed as masculine in my previous posts.
Masculine energy is healthy when it remains balanced and focuses its strengths toward protecting, supporting, planning, organizing, and building. It goes to a toxic level when it morphs into controlling, manipulating, degrading, bullying, and destroying.
Unfortunately, the many positive traits of masculine energy are frequently not the traits that our western culture focuses upon, holds up as examples, or stresses to our young and impressionable boys. Men who move through the world in toxic masculinity often wear it as a sort of badge of honor and many express it with pride because it is so widely accepted in our society as normal “alpha male” behavior. It tends to run unchecked when men gather together in large groups or find themselves in primarily masculine environments where between one another, this toxic behavior is regularly supported, condoned, and even encouraged.
Common phrases such as, “every man for himself”, “boys will be boys”, “it’s a man’s world”, “boys don’t cry”, “he only picks on you because he likes you”, and “men are just ‘programmed’ that way” are used to excuse behaviors that are dysfunctional, unhealthy, and inherently negative towards others. In addition, toxic masculinity belittles emotions and the healthy and natural expression of them, and demeans men who openly share their emotions and feelings. All human beings are naturally ’emotional’ unless stunted by their upbringing, social norms, or environment and men who routinely repress theirs are statistically more likely to experience repeated failed relationships, disatisfaction with life, anxiety, and depression.
Non-toxic masculine energy is rich with positive, life-affirming characteristics such as wanting to protect the family as well as the members of society who are weak and/or unable to protect themselves, financially supporting the family and contributing to the building of society, the drive to excel and ability to focus, taking pride in one’s accomplishments and being driven to improve oneself and the community. All of these are expressions of masculine energy that are crucial to a happy home, healthy relationships, well-adjusted children, and a well-functioning society.
Toxic masculinity can be expressed overly, covertly, or in a passive-aggressive manner but the underlying negative current is the same. I encourage you to take notice when this energy is expressed in your environment and strive to eliminate it from your personal energy field. In a global environment that requires increasing levels of tolerance, acceptance and cooperation with others, we would do well to teach children how to channel their masculine energy towards positive expression, and to approach all forms of life on this planet with respect and admiration for the special energetic gifts that we all possess and contribute.
This month’s post explores ways that women can move into and stay in their feminine energy. Next month’s post will focus on men and masculine energy
If you haven’t yet read Feminine and Masculine Energy: Part 1, I suggest you start hereand then come back to Part 2: Shift into your feminine energy .
Alright ladies, after reading last month’s post have you come to the conclusion (as I did) that you spend a lot of time in your masculine energy? Are you in ‘doing’ mode most of the day? Do you pride yourself on how focused and goal-oriented you are? Are you out there competing with the best of them and winning? All of that is awesome and I am not here to tell you that you need to retreat or take a backseat to anyone, nor am I telling you to stifle or bury your masculine side, only to be conscious of which energy you are in and whether or not it is benefiting you.
Masculine energy is great in the workplace and those times when you need to be focused and get something done. The rest of the time, allow your feminine essence to lead you. You will become a natural magnet to men who are leading with their masculine energy. Your feminine is like catnip to their masculine (and vice versa). Why do think think women are drawn to high powered, successful men? Because these men are deep in their masculine energy and it gets our feminine all hot and bothered! This doesn’t mean that a man needs to be a workaholic or a power monger to get our attention; a man who is decisive, proactive, and confident in himself and his abilities is more than enough to make us swoon.
On the flip side, feminine energy is creative, bonding, connecting, family, allowing the other person to lead, unity, healing, non-judgement, accepting, surrendering, yielding, passive (not weak), playful, lighthearted, laughing, non-competitive, collaborative, fluid, and empathetic.
So how do you shift into feminine energy?
First, get out of the compulsion to be ‘productive’ with your time. It can be challenging to do nothing when you are so accustomed to doing something, however, ‘doing’ is masculine energy, so allow yourself less ‘doing’ and more ‘being”. Masculine energy is thinking, evaluating, logical and linear so move from your thinking/head space into your feeling/heart space. Feminine energy is emotions, feelings, connection and the senses; pleasing sounds, decadent tastes, intoxicating smells, stimulating touch, and visually beautiful images will connect you with your feminine.
Sing, dance, paint, write, create! Spend time with other women, spend time in nature, listen to uplifting music, eat healthy and nourishing foods, take long bubble baths (or steamy showers), swap the industrial soaps in your home with homemade artisan bars, rub luxurious oils into your skin, light scented candles, buy fresh flowers every week (then let your man take over that task once he sees how much pleasure they bring you), spend the day at a spa, and design your environment to be tactile and sensuous instead of functional and modular. Although you don’t have to wear frilly, girly clothing to be in your feminine, keep your tailored attire for the office and slip into something that is flowing, luxurious, silky, and moves. Not only will this type of clothing awaken your senses, it will awaken the senses of those around you.
In short, laugh joyously, love generously, know your emotions and express them honestly, and remain open and receptive to all that life sets before you and you will be radiant in feminine energy.
For the next several months, I’m going to focus on feminine and masculine energy and how they affect our romantic relationships. In this article I give a brief overview on feminine and masculine energy and what it looks like in a relationship.)
A male friend of mine made an observation recently that on the surface didn’t seem to have anything to do with feminine and masculine energy or the polarity of the sexes, but the self-exploration I undertook based on his comment let me to a strong realization – that I move through this world primarily in my masculine energy. How is that possible given that I am a woman? Aren’t I feminine by default? Well… no!
All living things have both masculine and feminine energy. Think of the soft, fragile petals and the hard, thorny stem of a rose – masculine and feminine. Think of a tree with its sturdy trunk and unyielding branches laden with succulent, juicy fruit – masculine and feminine. Both energies are within us and optimally we want a balance, but when it comes to romantic partnerships, there must be a difference in polarity in order to have a strong sexual attraction.
Gents, have you ever met a beautiful woman with whom you felt an instant attraction but once you starting talking that attraction diminished?
Ladies, has a man ever caught your interest but after spending time with him he ended up in the ‘friend zone’?
It’s quite likely that the beautiful woman was leading with masculine energy and the friend-zoned man with his feminine. Don’t misunderstand – there is nothing wrong with a woman in her masculine energy or a man in his feminine energy. Both energies have their place, yet when it comes to coupling, polarity (or lack of it), will make a difference in your level of satisfaction and sexual desire for your partner.
The confident, independent, take-charge part of me that sets goals (and meets them!), problem-solves, thinks logically, is super organized, and multi-tasks with the best of them is great for my business (and can be helpful when raising kids), but it’s a hindrance in my romantic relationship. I only recently came to understand that those are characteristics of someone in his/her masculine energy. If you’re a strong, independent, “I can take care of myself”, career-oriented woman you are in your masculine energy and I suspect that many of my female readers can relate to that description.
Masculine energy is giving. It is purpose, drive, leadership, making things happen, goals, a ‘mission’, success, overcoming challenges, breaking thru barriers, logic, structure, building, competition; it’s an ‘active’ force. When dating, this energy takes initiative – it plans dates, pays for dates, is decisive about where you will go, and is punctual. In a relationship, this energy is stability, commitment, leading, protecting, serving, and providing.
Ladies, if you are doing any of the above in your dating and relationship life, you are leading with masculine energy and you will attract indecisive, non-committal, and wishy-washy men. The more you take it upon yourself to ‘push’ the relationship forward, reach out, initiate contact, suggest meet-ups and plan them, the less you are in your feminine energy and the less likely you are to attract a masculine partner. As a matter of fact, you will repel the type of man who would naturally take the initiative to be the leader and provider. If you are hoping for a take-charge man with whom you can just relax and trust that everything will be taken care of, you need to move into feminine energy.
Feminine energy is receiving. It’s creativity, bonding, connecting, intuition, allowing the other person to give and lead, unity, healing, emotions and feelings, accepting, surrendering, yielding, fluidity, empathetic, passive (but not weak), playful, lighthearted, collaborative, non-competitive and non-judgement. The sex organs are the perfect example of the polarity of these energies – the male organ is penetrating, hard, forceful; the female organ is soft, open, receiving.
It is important that you are aware of which energy you are moving in so that you don’t shift into the opposite energy unconsciously. When a man is in his masculine energy, it helps the woman move into her feminine and vice versa, but a woman can quickly shift into masculine energy mode if her man is not leading and taking charge, and a man can shift into feminine if his partner is too aggressive and controlling. If a man is in his feminine, the woman will no longer feel safe and relaxed but will feel as though she must take charge of the situation and handle it herself. Likewise, a man will soon feel emasculated and useless if his partner is always stepping in to ‘over-rule’ him, criticize him, or insists on the final word.
So ladies, how can you move into your feminine? And how does this impact the issue of equality between the sexes? Those topics will be explored in next month’s post. Meanwhile, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on feminine and masculine energy. Much love to you!
For my last blog post of 2018, I’m inspired to combine two of my favorite topics: the Five Love Languages and self-love. Although I’ve written about each of them in previous posts, the importance of applying your love language to the relationship with yourself, is a topic I’ve not covered, yet seems vital. Bestowing self-love via your preferred love language seems the surest way for your heart and soul to understand, receive, and thrive from your love. Imagine the pleasure of your partner showing his/her love to you in a way that is meaningful to you and allows you to tangibly feel that love, and then imagine being able to give that feeling to yourself – WOW!
If you are not familiar with the Five Love Languages or aren’t sure which of the five is your language of loving, you may take the quiz here. You can also check out love language basics in my previous blog post here. Once you are clear on which love language speaks to you, continue reading for tips on how you can strengthen the relationship with yourself through the language of love.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION: Do you have an inner critic that points out what you’re doing wrong or tells you how unattractive, inefficient, ineffective, and lacking you are? Words of Affirmation is about speaking kindly, empathetically, and lovingly to yourself. Become aware of your self-talk and get into the practice of stopping it the minute it goes toxic. Replace harsh and unfair condemnations with words of praise for the many things that you do right and good. Thank yourself every time you make a decision that is in your own best interest. Always speak positively to yourself, thank yourself for all the good decisions you make, and show empathy to yourself (instead of criticism) when you haven’t lived up to your own ideal. People blossom and grow through praise, not criticism; allow yourself to flourish by focusing on encouraging rather than discouraging yourself.
ACTS OF SERVICE: Acts of Service are the physical ways in which we show our love. Just as you would ‘do’ things for someone you love like preparing their favorite foods, running errands for them, or helping them with a project – you can show love to yourself through your actions. Prepare tasty and nutritious meals and serve them to yourself on your best tableware. Clear up your ‘to do’ list by tackling tasks you’ve been procrastinating and free up the space in your mind that’s burdened by them. Cut yourself some slack in your busy schedule by allowing yourself to ‘play hooky’ and spend the day at a spa, an amusement park, or enjoying the wonders of nature.
RECEIVING GIFTS: Loving yourself through Receiving Gifts isn’t about taking yourself on a whirlwind shopping spree and buying out the mall, the crucial aspect of this love language is the thoughtfulness and care behind the gift. Giving for the sake of giving isn’t the point – the point is loving through giving. Show self-love by buying things that you genuinely connect with and make you feel good. Choose quality over quantity and spoil yourself through your purchases. This isn’t a green light to overspend or over-extend yourself – work with the budget you have, but don’t skimp on yourself – gift as generously to yourself as you gift to others and buy things that you love rather than what you will be ‘satisfied’ with.
QUALITY TIME: Spending Quality Time with yourself is important no matter which love language you speak, but even more so when it’s your preferred love language. Our lives are so full of distractions that I bet we spend considerably less time alone than ever before. If your free time is consumed with television, computer games, surfing the web, or scrolling Facebook, you are taking quality one-on-one time away from yourself. This love language requires that you regularly disconnect from diversions and just ‘be’ with yourself. Go for solitary walks, meditate, ride your bike, dance to your favorite songs, nurture a hobby, or start those tango (or guitar, or skydiving, or French) lessons that you’ve been yearning to take but haven’t made time for.
PHYSICAL TOUCH: Self-loving through Physical Touch means knowing and nurturing the physical side of yourself. Instead of jumping out of bed in the morning and rushing into your day, take a couple of minutes to stretch and feel your body in the morning. Ditch the perfunctory shower and luxuriate in an indulgent bubble bath, gently exfoliating your skin with a loofah and scented oils. Use high quality soaps and lotions, natural bristle brushes, and natural fabrics. Be conscious of physical sensations in your body and learn what feels good and what feels bad to you. Touch is one of only five senses that we’ve been given with which to experience this world so allow yourself the freedom of self-loving through physical touch.
“The feeling that you want to feel already exists inside yourself.”
I no longer remember where I read that statement, but I remember how intrigued I was by the implication. “What does this mean?”, I silently questioned, “That the feelings of happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, and BEING LOVED are already inside of me? I don’t need anything on the outside to happen in order for me to feel those feelings?”
I wasn’t really getting it. Actually, I found it very difficult to wrap my mind around the concept, but somehow the statement was begging for me to try.
“So the happiness and pleasure that I want to feel are emotions that already exist inside of myself and there is a way I can produce those feelings without an outside stimulus? Hmmmmm – okay, I can see how that might be doable, challenging, but doable. But feeling loved? I can feel that without someone else loving me?”
This idea was mind-blowing.
“How can this be true?”
And then another thought started worming its way into my consciousness….what would it feel like if I gave myself the acceptance, respect, admiration, and love that I’m seeking from outside – specifically, from a romantic partner? What would that feel like? And just for a moment…. I allowed it…suddenly an expansive, heart-bursting flood of joy washed over me – pure happiness. Wow! I really felt that! And it was amazing! I genuinely had a brief glimpse of what it would feel like to unconditionally and fully love myself! The sudden understanding that fully accepting and loving myself would create real feelings of happiness and fulfillment in me seemed like an amazing secret that I had just discovered.
The quote is accurate; it is possible to feel all of those feelings that we long to feel, right now. And I had another revelatory thought – how can I possibly expect someone else to accept things about me that I have not yet accepted about myself? How many times do I get on the scale and berate myself for weighing more than my ideal? How many times do I look into the mirror and have an uncomplimentary thought about the face that looks back at me? How crazy it is to seek a partner who will focus on my ‘inner beauty’ and ignore the extra pounds and wrinkles when I don’t even do that for myself? Isn’t it illogical to demand something of a partner that we are unable to give?
So here we are dear readers, at what for me is a life-changing revelation – I’ve got to love myself fully and unconditionally before I go out looking for someone else to do it. And with that unconditional love for myself will come all the happiness, joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction that I am seeking – plus the awesome feeling of being loved. Any other love that comes my way will be icing on the cake.
Try it, dear reader. Try it right now – give yourself a minute of unconditionally accepting everything about yourself exactly the way it is right now…tell me if you don’t feel it, too….
(An article about the female form might not seem to be related to relationships but make no doubt about it, the way a woman feels about her own body is intricately tied to how she interacts with others, how she feels about herself, and how relaxed and open she is in her romantic relationship. And although this article is geared toward women (sorry gents!), male readers can benefit from more clearly understanding the female form, embracing their partner’s natural shape and encouraging her acceptance of it, without comparisons to other females.)
When browsing YouTube recently, I discovered a beauty culture that focuses on five basic female body types and how to choose clothes, colors, accessories, and hairstyles that accentuate your specific shape to create your own sense of style. This was interesting and I learned some great styling tips, but what fascinated me most was the realization of how ridiculous it is to want someone’s else’s body type (which is impossible) instead of accepting, loving, and accentuating your own!
To be more specific, I want us to love the body that we’ve been blessed with instead of the constant comparisons to a shape that we don’t have and will never have! Let me give an example – let’s say you have a “Romantic” body type. A ‘Romantic’ has soft facial features and an voluptuous hourglass shape. A Romantic will never have a slender ‘model-type’ figure no matter how many calories she restricts herself to or how many kilometers she runs. So romantics can stop beating themselves up for not having boyish hips. In addition, those long, angular model types (Dramatic) will never experience what it’s like to embody an hourglass figure with soft, ‘feminine’ curves. It’s just not gonna happen. And my point is, that’s okay! Let’s embrace our own type, play up the awesome features that we’ve been naturally given and stop trying to be something and someone else.
You’ll find plenty of online info on the five basic types (each basic type has ‘sister’ types, so there are actually thirteen total types), but I’ve provided a brief overview along with a celebrity example of each body type to get you started. I’ve also listed some links of channels that explain the concept in a concise and informative way, and give lots more examples. I’ve even linked to an online test for you can determine your own type.
Dramatic: 5’5” and taller, long, sleek, straight and angular body – slender and narrow with long legs and arms – angular body and face – when gaining weight, tends to be in the hip or upper thigh area – almond eyes, thin lips. will never have lush full facial features or an hourglass figure. Standard ‘model’ type. Example: Tilda Swinton
Romantic: Moderate to petite – 5’5” and under, soft and voluptuous, hourglass, curvy, small waist in proportion to hips and bust, fleshy arms and legs, small bone structure, small hands and feet (might be slightly wide), rounded facial features – lush, full and sensual eyes and lips, if overweight, will become more rounded with a fuller face. Will never be extremely tall or have a straight or boyish figure. Example: Marilyn Monroe
Natural: medium height – moderate to slightly tall up to 5’8” tall, slightly straight and angular bone structures with blunt edges, blunt, angular facial features, moderate to large hands and feet – muscular body with somewhat flat hips and bust, long arms and legs- might be long-waisted, slightly broad, blunt, or irregular facial features – if overweight, the body stays straight- usually the midsection gets more broad but the body shape doesn’t become ‘curvy”. Will never have an hourglass figure or be extremely petite or tall, will not have symmetrical features. Example: Angelina Jolie
Classic: medium height between 5’4” and 5’7”, symmetrical bone structure tending toward sharpness, slightly angular, slightly straight body, moderately sized hands and feet – evenly proportioned waist, hips, bust – if overweight, the body remains symmetrical. Will not be extremely tall or extremely petite, will not have full and lush facial features. Will not have an hourglass figure. Example: Grace Kelly
Gamine: 5’5” and under – angular, sharp, narrow, delicate bone structure. hands and feet are moderate to small and tend to be narrow. Tends to be flatter in bust and hip area and not a very defined waist. Long arms and legs, shorter torso. large eyes, moderate to thin lips – if overweight, it will show in the hips and waist areas. Will not be over 5’5”, will not have large bone structure, will not have an hourglass figure, will not be symmetrical in facial features. Example: Audrey Tatau
‘The Four Agreements’, written by Don Miguel Ruiz as “a practical guide to personal freedom” can enrich all of your relationships and elevate every aspect of your life. Romantic relationships can be greatly enhanced and misunderstandings considerably reduced, by following these four agreements.
If you’re not familiar with The Four Agreements, let me give you some background. Ruiz writes that his four agreements are based on Toltec wisdom, an ancient philosophy and way of life that promises to increase your happiness. What could be wrong with that, right? The four agreements are tenants of Toltec tradition which if followed consistently, are said to reduce stress, give a renewed sense of personal freedom, and reduce our self-sabotaging behaviors leading to greater happiness and more loving interactions. Personally, I have found The Four Agreements to contain common sense and deep wisdom presented in a straightforward style that instantly ‘clicks’ with the reader.
Although I will focus on romantic relationships in this post, I will present you with each of the four agreements, which you will see can be applied to all areas of life: work, family, friendships, personal growth, and romantic relationships.
Agreement Number One:Be Impeccable With Your Word
Many believe that to ‘be impeccable with your word’ means to be honest and to keep all verbal promises you make. Yes, that is part of it, but to be impeccable with your work goes much deeper than that. With your partner, to be impeccable with your word means that you consciously chose to speak kindly and compassionately and give thought to what you are about to say. Words are powerful and can be as damaging as any physical strike. Avoid accusatory tones and ‘always/never’ comparisons. Focus on the facts and be willing to hear your partner’s side of the story without interruption or defensiveness. Your ‘Word’ is powerful and can change the emotional state of another person – always be aware of what you are creating with your words. Are your words enhancing and enriching your relationship or are you contributing emotional chaos and pain? To be Impeccable With Your Word also includes not speaking badly of your partner to others and not venting your most recent irritation or the disagreement you had. Always speak lovingly about the person you have chosen to share your life with and hold loving thoughts of that person in your mind. Don’t let negative thoughts, judgment and blame erode the emotional foundation of your relationship. It’s a real challenge to live life in this mindset, but the more you focus on bringing light and love to your relationship with your Word, the easier it will become. Be impeccable with your word.
Agreement Number Two: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Wow – if we could master only this one agreement, it would be a life changer. How many times have we heard or spoken the phrase, “Don’t take it personally”? Too many to count, right? That’s because deep down, we know it’s true but all our baggage, fears, and insecurities drown out the common sense logic of what we already know – it’s really not about us. What someone else is doing, saying, feeling and how they are acting truly is not about us. We may have done or said something that triggered an emotional flashback in the person, but it’s not directly about us (or them).
We are all living in our own reality bubble and this is from where we react. I’ll give a very basic example, let’s say your partner asks if you’ve gained a little weight. Now, if you don’t have any issues with weight and are completely comfortable with your body this question will only get a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘maybe’ response from you and won’t create any drama. On the other hand, if you are self-conscious about your weight and you, yourself feel that you are overweight, then the comment might lead to a full-blown, drag out fight. You’ll be certain that your partner intentionally brought up your weight to put you down and you will accuse him/her of hurting you. There is nothing inherently hurtful in the question, but because you already believe you are fat, you project your insecurity onto your partner, get mad because he ‘thinks you’re fat’, and the day is ruined. Another example might be that your birthday rolls around and your partner gifts you a simple store-bought card and some flowers. For some, this might be more than enough of a gift, but if you were expecting a piece of jewelry, or a thoughtfully chosen gift, or a night on the town, you may immediately jump to the conclusion that your partner doesn’t ‘care’ about you and has dissed you by putting the least amount of effort into it. But maybe birthdays are not a big deal to your partner, so you received what your partner expects to receive – a simple remembrance that has nothing to do with lack of care or love. In both of these cases, being able to communicate with your partner about your insecurities and expectations can do wonders for the relationship, but first you have to begin with not taking anything personally.
Agreement Number Three: Don’t Make Assumptions
In many ways, ‘Don’t Make Assumptions” can overlap with “Don’t Take Anything Personally”. For example, in the above story of the birthday, the recipient made the assumption that his/her partner didn’t care enough to put effort into commemorating the birthday, when the reality is that birthdays have a different level of importance to each of them. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind, or ‘know where you’re coming from’, or know what you expect of him/her in the relationship without ever having come right out and stated it.
If you expect your partner to greet you at the door with a kiss and spend a few minutes discussing the day before opening the mail or changing their clothes, you’re going to quickly feel neglected if their habit is to walk in the door, grab the leash, and take the dog for a 20 minute walk after work. This doesn’t mean he/she loves the dog more than you, it means you haven’t had an open conversation about your needs and expectations. Never, ever, ever expect your partner to read your mind. Life just doesn’t work like that – in fairytales maybe, but not real life. It’s a holdover from childhood when our parents anticipated our needs and met them without our asking, but your partner is not your parent. You need to come fully into yourself and state your needs clearly and calmly. Making assumptions takes many forms: “Why isn’t he home yet? Is he doing something that would upset me?”, Why doesn’t he help more around the house? Does he think I’m a maid?”, “What did he mean by that comment? He must think I’m an idiot and can’t figure things out by myself!” All of these are assumptions about someone else’s actions that have no basis in reality – they are based out of our fears and insecurities. Most assumptions are not truth, hence the saying “To assume makes an ass out of u and me.” Don’t make assumptions.
Agreement Number Four: Always Do Your Best
Can you imagine how awesome and guilt-free every aspect of our life would be if we always did our best? No unnecessary pressure to be perfect, just to be the best we can be at that moment. We are not robots; what is our best today when we’re feeling energized and ready to take on the world may not be our best tomorrow when we’re feeling drained and overwhelmed with tasks. If we do the best that we can do in that moment – no matter our mood, energy level, or what is demanded of us – well, you really can’t ask more of yourself (or others). Doing your best in your relationship means that whatever your partners needs, demands, or requests of you – you will do your best to meet it and to strengthen the relationship. And you will always give the best that you can give of yourself in any situation. This doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be a doormat; doing your best includes being able to say ‘no’ when there is something you really cannot do.
Let’s say you’ve got a project deadline on Monday and you’ve set the weekend aside to completing it and it happens to be the same weekend that the family is celebrating your sister-in-law’s birthday with a big bash and your husband insists that you attend. What is your best in this situation? You may feel a lot of pressure to attend the bash, but you know that doing so will likely result in missing the deadline or submitting less-than-stellar results, and no matter which you choose to do – you will feel guilty. To do your best would be to brainstorm all possible compromises to the scenario and decide on the one that feels like your personal best solution. Maybe you can move the work deadline to the following Monday, or maybe you can agree to block out two hours to celebrate with your family, and then go back to work on the project, or maybe you have to decline the bash this year. Whatever the ultimate decision, let it be decided upon calmly and with compassion for the pressure everyone is under – including yourself. Always do your best.
I would love to hear what you what you think of The Four Agreements. Have you read the book? Do you think they could help your relationships? How would you apply them in your life?
Most of us can quickly list the values that we seek in others: honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, and compassion. But do you know your CORE values? Do you know what you value on the deepest level? If asked, would you likely repeat the same short list? I’m guessing that most of us would, but when you consider the variety of people that you come into contact with, would you say that we all share the same core values? It seems unlikely, yet when I read dating profiles, I find that same list of values, both when describing what someone seeks in a partner and when describing themselves. Maybe this is why so many dating profiles are boring and repetitive.
If you were to write out all of the possible core values, you will actually end up with a very long list and would likely find that your most basic core values are a lot more finely-tuned than you thought.
Why do core values matter and why should you know yours? In a nutshell, if you are not living in accordance with your core values, you will be unhappy and there will be a disconnect and unease in your life. For example, if one of your core values is ‘transparency’ yet your job in marketing requires you to deceive in order to sell a product, this will create a conflict inside of you leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness, yet if you are not aware that transparency is a core value of yours, you might not know where your unhappiness is coming from.
In dating, knowing your core values is equally important. If your core value is flexibility and you are in a relationship with someone who is very rigid and demands that things be done in a very specific way, you’re going to have a lot of conflict. Both you and your partner will likely become frustrated with each other and try to change each other’s behavior without really understanding that you simply have differing core values. Your partner’s core value may be ‘perfection’ and being flexible might feel too much like accepting imperfection.
Knowing your core values will enable you to walk away from situations and relationships that are just not aligned with you. You will learn to quickly spot those situations that align with your values and only get involved with those, which will allow you to flourish and grow and ultimately feel a deep satisfaction with the way you live your life and the people you share it with.
To discover your core values, Google ‘core values’, or click this link to view a list of 500 core values (yes, there are that many!) to read over. It may sound overwhelming, but when you start reading the list, you will find yourself connecting with some of the values and not with others. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t judge yourself. If you find that one of your core values is ‘money’, that’s okay. This isn’t a moral quiz and there is nothing inherently wrong with valuing money. Don’t judge, just skim the list and when you find a value that resonates with you, write it down. Once you’ve gone through the entire list, look over what you’ve written and choose the ten most important values from your list. If you want to get really intense, whittle it down to your top five.
Now that you know what you value on the deepest level, you can start living in harmony with your inner self and make choices in life and love that will lead to increased fulfillment and joy.