Archive for December 2012

When is a Relationship Worth Fighting For? – part 1

 

After more than a year together, Casey leaves Taylor.  Taylor wants to stay with Casey.  Should Taylor fight to get Casey back?

broken-couple

 

I think the first question I would ask is: Does Casey want to be with Taylor?

 

If the answer is yes, then perhaps the two could fight the barriers that split them up, working as a team to stay together.

If both people want to be in a relationship, then that relationship
is worth fighting for.

 

 

If Casey has already made a firm decision that it is over between them, then Taylor’s fighting to get Casey back would only make Taylor seem needy, clingy or desperate, while Casey would be further driven away by Taylor’s behavior.

 

Taylor’s more mature reaction would be to accept Casey’s decision.  Regardless of how Taylor feels, if Casey has made a firm decision, Taylor will not be able to change Casey’s mind.

 

This would be straightforward, except that some people don’t always say what they mean.

 

Casey may tell Taylor that its over because Casey wants to see Taylor fight to stay together.  

Casey sees this as proof of the love and commitment that Taylor has for Casey and their relationship.  Taylor works hard to please and placate Casey.

Casey gets the needed reassurance of the strength of their relationship.

 

Casey may tell Taylor it’s over simply to test how much effort Taylor is willing to put in to their relationship.

This could be counterintuitive for Casey  because the question asks,

“I want an end to the relationship.  How much can you accept that as an adult, I know what I want?”  instead of,

“I want to know how important this relationship is to you, and how much effort you will put in to keep us together.”  

 

question-mark

 

Asking the right question is important:

If you need reassurance, ask for reassurance.

If you need a sign of your partner’s love and commitment, ask them.  Tell them that you need it.

If you need time to yourself, tell your partner that.

If you want it to be over, tell your partner that.

and if you ask for it to be over, your partner may construe the relationship to be over.

 

These guidelines could save a lot of heartache, if only they were more common.  Unfortunately, some people don’t say what they mean and don’t speak for what they need.

How Your Thinking Can Affect How You Live and Parent

How Your Thinking Can Affect How You Live and Parent

 

A wise man once said, “You become what you think the most about.”

I remember hearing a story about a small group of soldiers that really demonstrated the power of the mind and the power of positive thinking:

Image credit: philipus / 123RF Stock Photo

This small group of soldiers were in the jungle when their Jeep got stuck. They had no way to radio or signal for help and were unable to push it out of the mud. The senior man on the team told them that they were all very strong soldiers and that they COULD and WOULD be able to free the Jeep. With unparalleled strength the men worked together and lifted the jeep enough to free it from the muck.
They got back to the base and related their story to others. The others didn’t believe the soldiers. They said it was impossible, that the men were lying, and that they could never lift a Jeep. No small group of men would be able to do that.
The men were challenged to repeat their feat in order to prove what they had done earlier in the jungle. With the crowd of sceptics expecting the men to fail, they did. The men were unable to lift the Jeep.

This shows the great power of encouragement and discouragement.
Think about this story before you express your fear or support.
Are you setting up someone for success or failure?
Are you empowering them or disempowering them?
Are you projecting some of your own fears or issues onto someone else?
What is the true rationale – not just the surface rationale – behind your words and actions?

While it is important to address concerns, issues and negative possibilities, focusing on and dwelling on these often make them more negative, sometimes distracting one from seeing the whole picture. Most often, the big picture includes positive, negative and neutral aspects. Focusing on the negative breeds negative feelings, which then encourages negative results.

As a parent, it is normal to worry about your child/ren. It is normal to expect that they will experience headaches, heartache, and failure. While a parent may wish the child to avoid these, it is important for the parent to recognise that when only the negative is considered, the parent not only sets up the child for failure, the parent actually encourages and helps to facilitate the failure, while reinforcing the parent’s fear of the child’s possible failure, and expressing the belief that the child is incapable of success. This creates an even more negative reaction in the child as it breaks down the child’s confidence and self esteem. When the child is old enough to take responsibility for his/her own successes and failures, the adult child may realise that the negativity from the parent is avoidable by limiting contact with that parent.

Again, there is value in addressing and acknowledging negative possibilities; the harm is when the positive and neutral possibilities are ignored and the negative is the main or sole focus.

There comes an important time to recognise the value of letting go, including a parent letting the adult child become independent. The adult child still needs the parent, but in a different way. This is when both parties can greatly benefit from re-evaluating the relationship and the parent-child dynamic.

Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation

Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation

Lately, I’ve been getting a number of questions about gender: What makes someone male? Female? Transgender?  How does sexual orientation fit in with gender?

A question of gender: “male” or “female” can be much more complicated than a simple binary answer.  Sex, gender, and sexual orientation are each part of a spectrum, with some people identifying on either end of the spectrum, and others identifying somewhere in the middle.

 

Biological Sex:

There are at least three components to biological sex: physical, genetic and hormonal.  These components do not always correspond to the same sex in an individual, which can result in intersex or other variations.

Biological sex is uncontrollable without surgery or hormone therapy.

From a physical perspective, sex is often defined by genitalia and reproductive organs with males having a penis, scrotum and testicles and females having a vulva, vagina, clitoris and ovaries. In some cases, babies can be born with ambiguous physical sex.

Sex-determining chromosomes, most commonly known as XX and XY define genetic females and genetic males.  There are variations in these combinations including XO, XXX, XXY, XXXY, and more rarely XYY which can result in different physical development in individuals.

Hormones do not determine sex but they do influence it.  The careful balance of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, androgen and other hormones influence physical development of humans.  A hormonal imbalance or insensitivity to certain hormones could influence a person’s physical appearance, including the genitals.

 

Gender Identity: 

Gender identity is one’s personal awareness of being male, female or other.  This sense of self is usually defined by the age of three years old and may or may not conform to the individual’s biological sex.  Many people feel that they are or should be male, female, ambiguous or other.  This is often taken for granted with cisgender people who identify as the gender commonly associated with his/her biological sex.  Transgender people identify as a gender different from what is associated with his/her biological sex.

Gender identity is independent of biological sex and sexual orientation.  It is an internal perception of self that is not chosen, but just is.

 

Sexual Orientation: 

Sexual orientation is independent of biological sex, gender identity and gender role.

Sexual orientation refers to the gender(s) that an individual is attracted to.  Dr. Alfred Kinsey developed a Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale based on people’s sexual experiences.  In broader terms, sexual orientation includes sexual, romantic and emotional involvement and fantasy.

 

Sexual orientation is a self-defined term about how a person identifies – not just their behaviour.  For example, a person may practice homosexual activities but identify as heterosexual.

Some common sexual orientations are:
Heterosexual – someone who is attracted to people of the opposite gender
Homosexual – someone who is attracted to people of the same gender
Bisexual – someone who is attracted to men and women
Pansexual – someone who is attracted to people of various genders (male, female, trans, queer, etc.)
Asexual – someone who is generally not sexually attracted to others

 

Summary:

Biological sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation are independent of each other and may not correspond with the same sex/gender match in some individuals.

Learning about and acknowledging these differences, and using the correct terminology are the first steps to acceptance and respect of others.

Communication and Expressing One’s Needs

Communication and Expressing One’s Needs

 

A friend of mine was telling me about his honeymoon and the fight that was caused on the way there:

 

The two were married in an arranged marriage.  They didn’t know each other much before the wedding.  He brought her to Canada and planned their honeymoon driving around the province showing her around.  He was a truck driver who enjoyed long drives and was used to driving long distances without stopping.  

On the first day of their drive, after they had been on the road for a few hours, he asked his new wife if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

They stopped for gas a while later and he asked again if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

Later on the drive, he asked her once more if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

When they got to the hotel for the first night of their honeymoon, she was furious!  She had been hungry for hours and he hadn’t stopped for food anywhere along the way.  

He didn’t understand her anger because he had asked her multiple times if she was hungry.  

She explained, “I should not have to tell you what I want or need.  You are the husband.  It is your job to make these decisions, not mine.  You should have known that I was hungry after so many hours!”  

She had expected that he would stop for food, even if she said she wasn’t hungry.  

 

Their story demonstrates the importance of communication and voicing one’s needs.  I believe in the importance of taking responsibility for oneself, one’s emotions, and one’s needs.  No one else can truly know what another person is thinking.  Yes, some needs can be anticipated, but if someone asks you what your needs are, share them.  The other person may need some guidance in order to better support you.

 

If you never ask, you’ll never know…

 

Direct communication is often effective, but the problem with it is that by voicing one’s needs, some people may see that person as demanding or intimidating.  Some people who hear another’s needs feel obligated to meet those needs, and feel pressured simply by hearing those needs.  The person expressing his/her needs may only be voicing their needs, without expecting others to meet those needs.

Those who prefer direct communication often take for granted that other people will do the same.  This can result in missing social cues where the direct message is not the intended message.  This can be frustrating for all involved.

There are many communication styles that work for different people.  Some styles are more difficult for some people than others. Learning different communication skills and styles can be one way that we can better understand each other, including our partners, friends and family.

We may not always agree with each other, but when we understand the other’s perspective, it is a lot easier accept.   

 

 Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.

– Deepak Chopra

Proper Care for your Kitty

Proper Care for your Kitty

Some people don’t realize the care that kitties need. Kitties can survive on their own with little or no care in some environments, but if you want your kitty to have a happy and fulfilling existence here are a few tips to take care of her and her needs.

Photo used under Creative Commons license: Lawson, Traci. OM NOM NOM. 2009. soopahgrover's photostream. flickr. Web. 2 Dec. 2012.

Photo used under Creative Commons license: Lawson, Traci. OM NOM NOM. 2009. soopahgrover’s photostream. flickr. Web.

Cleaning:

Keeping your kitty clean helps to keep her healthy but also keeps her from scaring away potential friends. Proper cleaning of your kitty includes external cleaning only. Be gentle when cleaning your kitty and make sure to clean around all her outside folds. Avoid internal cleaning, which can cause health problems by taking away some of her natural chemicals.

Health Care:

It is important to have regular check-ups to ensure proper health, as well as additional check-ups if she has been put at risk for catching anything.  Some signs of illness are easily evident while others may not be noticeable at all. Some kitties mask illness very well.

If you notice any lesions, unusual discharge or foul smells, take your kitty to the doctor right away. Many conditions are easily treatable or easily managed. If you allow her condition to worsen, it could result in permanent effects.

Grooming:

Some people prefer kitties to be groomed a certain way. Whether you choose to groom your kitty or not is a matter of personal preference. Kitties do shed a bit so some people find that gentle brushing or combing occasionally helps to remove the loose hairs. This is generally more important just before a petting session.

If you have a hairless kitty, be aware of the potential for ingrown hairs and take appropriate precautions. Ingrowns can be quite painful for kitty’s sensitive skin.

Feeding:

Kitties get hungry from time to time, whether it is for a large serving or a small one. Make sure you have enough liquid to help smooth the way. Make sure that whatever is going into kitty’s mouth is clean or she could end up with an irritation or infection.

Sometimes kitty’s insatiable need to stuff her mouth will seem almost distracting. Make sure that you are still aware of what goes into her mouth and that you use the proper precautions with each item. Some items are not suitable for kitty’s mouth while others need to have a coating or dressing to ensure her safety.

Playing:

Most kitties enjoy play time. Some kitties are more active than others. The activity level varies from kitty to kitty. Contrary to belief, kitties do not lose interest in playing as they reach their senior years so make sure to give your kitty some attention even as she ages.

You may want to play with your kitty alone or bring someone along to play more games. Playtime is healthy exercise for your kitty and also helps her to stay happier by releasing certain chemicals when she is having fun.

Photo used under CC BY 2.0 Photo by Eirik Newth. WINTER CUDDLE. 2007.  Eirik Newth's photostream. flickr. Web

Photo used under CC BY 2.0 Photo by Eirik Newth. WINTER CUDDLE. 2007. Eirik Newth’s photostream. flickr. Web

Affection:

Like any being, kitties need affection. Give your kitty the appreciation and love that she deserves. Some people don’t give kitty the full benefit of loving care, or are ashamed to pet or love her. Become acquainted with your kitty and what she likes. As you get to know each other better you will find it easier to make her happy.

Overall:

Overall, enjoy your kitty. Treat her like a princess and cherish her. Be attentive to her needs and best interests. She will thank you for it and your feeling of satisfaction will grow with her appreciation.

Happy Petting 🙂

 

originally posted February 2010