Draw the Line

Throughout my life I have been told many things about how I should deal with difficult people. I’ve been told to “be the bigger person” by being the first to apologize. I’ve been told to be nice to so and so, to be accepting, to be patient, to be kind. I even tell myself these things, to just deal with certain people. In many situations, this is good advice. But where do we draw the line? At some point, we have to think about ourselves, and our own well-being. I came across this quote recently, thanks to Facebook sharing:

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I think that this is 100% true. There are certain people, no matter if they are family or friends, who are not worth being around. There are some people that cause so much emotional damage, stress, drama, physical damage and I truly do not believe in associating with such individuals.

I have had people in my life who have caused me tremendous emotional pain and stress that I decided it just wasn’t worth it anymore. If I made one wrong move, or said one wrong thing my life would practically start to fall apart because of this person. I cried, I stressed, and I got ulcers, intense headaches and depression. There were absolutely no benefits that I could think of to make me stay close with this person.

I know that it seems harsh to cut a person out of your life. But I truly believe that in some cases, the benefits outweigh the loss. I no longer have this stress in my life, and I have no regrets about it. I’m happy, and currently have no emotional pain. I had to think about myself, and I’m glad that I did.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. It always has been, even when I was single, even when I was depressed. There is something magical about a day devoted to love. The one thing I hate about Valentine’s Day is the people who hate Valentine’s Day; people who call it “single’s awareness day.”  Yes, media advertises Valentine’s Day as a day for couples to celebrate their love, a day for proposals, a day to have a first date.

How I have always seen Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate LOVE in general. I give my mom a Valentine, I text people I care about, I make cards for people, I give people candy, I remind EVERYONE I love that I love them!

The way I see it is, Valentine’s Day is shitty and depressing if YOU make it shitty and depressing- just like any other day. If you think love is worth celebrating, celebrate it! Bake things for people, go out with a friend, send cards, and buy candy. Make a date for YOU! There is nothing depressing about loving yourself.

Life is about attitudes. If you have a shitty attitude, life sucks. You can change it in an instant. You can even choose to ignore Valentine’s Day. It is a regular day where people still have to work, after all. Just don’t shit all over everyone who DOES love Valentine’s Day. We get it, you’re single, you’re sad, and you want attention too. Either keep it to yourself or change your day by changing your attitude.

Theory of Love

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought my blogs could have a more focused topic for a while, love! We can all relate to the topic of love, we all feel love. We love our pets, families, partners, blankets, coffee, food… I’m not talking about our love of inanimate objects…this time. I’m talking about gooey love between two people. First of all, I want to share my favorite quote by Harry Harlow:

“Our assigned mission as psychologists is to analyze all facets of human and animal behavior into their component variables. So far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in their mission. The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists.”

No one can pinpoint what love is, why we love who we love, what makes love work, etc. Psychologists have developed theories about types of love. My favorite is Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. I made a cool diagram just for you:

Made by me in Excel

The corners of the triangle are different facets of love. Many people consider intimacy to be sexual. Intimacy is actually talking, sharing things about yourself, and being close with another person. Intimacy by itself is friendship. Passion is where sex comes in. Passion involves physical attraction and sex. Passion by itself is infatuation (or a one night stand). Commitment involves a decision to be together, either for the time being (a short term relationship), or for an extended period of time (til death do us part).

The sides of the triangle make up the types of love you get when you combine the corners of the triangle. We can make it into a math-like equation:

  • Intimacy + Passion = Romantic Love (Ohhhh you’re so sexy, ohhh you’re so smart, ohhh I’m so in love with you after a day and a half…)
  • Passion + Commitment = Fatuous Love (A decision to be together, based solely on attraction… this doesn’t end well, in my experience.)
  • Intimacy + Commitment = Companionate Love (I honestly see this type of love as a best-friend love rather than a relationship type of love.)
  • Passion + Commitment + Intimacy = Consummate Love… the whole package. This is the picture perfect relationship; a decision to be together and stay together, attraction/sex, and talking/knowing one another.

In marriage, commitment is a facet of the relationship that can buy time while rough patches with intimacy and passion are worked out.

Obviously making love into a math-like equation isn’t romantic. It’s a way of studying love and relationships. We can see what works and what doesn’t work so well in a long term relationship; we can know what we are looking for. When it comes to who we love and why we love them, I guess it’s up to us.

Finding Faith

With most things in life, we take examples from our immediate family. We see what love is supposed to be like. We learn how to communicate… or we don’t. We see what relationships or marriages are supposed to be like. We may learn negative things as well. Some may gather that violence is a normal part of life. Some end up questioning life. Why get married if my parents were never happy? Do marriages ever work? I question a lot of things… and based on what I have grown up with in my immediate family, marriage looks… less than impressive. This is why I think we need to expand where we find our examples. We can’t just stay in our little bubble of family or friends. We need to take examples from elsewhere. No, I am not saying movies or fairy tales or reality TV. God no. Just pay attention. Do you ever see a little old couple at a grocery store holding hands? When I see things like this, I notice it, and I take time to appreciate it. People DO grow old together. Just being where I work gives me faith in people and relationships and marriages. I get to see older couples caring for each other and doing things together. I sit quietly and watch and think to myself about how amazing and wonderful it must be. I feel grateful just getting to see these things. I can’t help but realize how much I want that.

Cookie Cutters

I keep wondering when I will be able to live my life for myself. I guess I have a faint idea. When I get a job, save some money, and can live on my own. This is my personal definition of adulthood.

I can’t help but wonder that even when this happens for me, will I even be doing what I want to do? Every time I think about something I want, personally, I feel that I am looking over my shoulder, wondering what my family will think of me. For many families, including my own, there is a certain order to things.

We graduate high school, then attend college, and get a high enough degree to do something with it. Next, I am assuming, (since my sister and I have not yet been to this point) find a man (or someone), date for a while, get married, have babies. Oh but wait. Before the dating for a while or getting married part, it will take about a year and a half for my family to even approve of this someone I happen to love. Joy!

So what if I want to do things differently? I have enough hesitations about marriage, what if I don’t want that? But then I do want babies. Oh dear me. I will have skipped a crucial step. I can already see the looks I will get. I can already feel my ears burning from my entire family talking behind my back. Yes.

I guess what I am wondering is why we are supposed to follow this cookie-cutter way of life. I grew up being told that we should do what makes us happy. I was never told, “Do what makes you happy, but please submit a draft and wait for our approval and if we deny your happiness draft, please revise.”

I am accepting of people’s choices, I can only hope that no matter what kind of choices I make, people will be accepting of mine.

 

Reclaiming My Towel

Breaking up is terrible. It doesn’t matter if it was a bad relationship or a great one, it still hurts. I think that what’s worse than losing someone you cared about, is losing other things you used to love. Ever have a breakup, and then can’t stand to listen to a certain band, because that was his/her favorite band? Or you can’t eat at the same places because they love that place… or you can’t even eat a certain food, because that was their favorite food? It makes you even sadder and even angrier, because they took those things from you. But wait… did they really?

I had a boyfriend, quite a while back now, and the relationship was bad and it also ended badly. He always used one specific towel of mine. I actually handed this towel to him, (because it was the only one not pink or purple) and he used it ever since. Over this time span, it kind of became “his” towel. Once we broke up, I washed it and put it at the bottom of all my towels so that I wouldn’t use it. I really didn’t use this towel for a very long time, until recently.

When I finally used this towel again, I realized how hardly used it was! How this towel was still so fluffy and new and soft, and really, it’s the nicest towel I have because of how little it has been used! Well now I just felt stupid. I hadn’t used this awesomely soft towel for months because it was “his” towel and he made me so angry. Well what should make me even angrier is the fact that I was giving him so much power over what I used or didn’t use, and liked or didn’t like.

All I really have to say is don’t let a past relationship ruin everything for you. It’s hard enough losing someone you care about. Don’t stop listening to your favorite band, don’t stop eating at your favorite restaurant, and don’t stop using your best damn towel.

Mere Exposure

I used to believe that men and women could be “just friends.” Recently I have come to realize that this may not actually be true at all. Because of my own circumstances I thought it was possible, but now that I think about it, this seems unlikely.

One reason this is unlikely is because of the mere exposure effect. The more you are exposed to a person, the more likely you are to develop a crush on them, date them, or even spend the rest of your life with them. This is why many people end up with someone they met in the workplace, or just a place they spend a lot of their time.

We can think of mere exposure in other, less frightening ways… ever wonder why things “grow on us?” You walk into a room and don’t like the new paint color, and someone says, “it will grow on you.” What happens? Usually it does. I’m not saying this is always the case, some colors are hideous and this is not always possible… but you get the idea.

The more you are exposed to a person, the more you like them. Well crap! Right?! Maybe this doesn’t happen for you. Maybe you are with a person a lot of the time, and nothing happens… you think. Well what about for the other person? You may think you know their every thought, but you don’t.

I know, I know, this is the crap they put in movies about the best friends of the opposite sex who suddenly fall in love… or one of the people does. Well they didn’t pull this scenario out of thin air. Lets just sum this up by saying, think about it. Its not true for everyone, I never generalize to entire populations. Just be careful and try not to assume.

Like my mom always says… “it makes an ass out of you and me.”