Lately I have had a lot of time to think about relationSHIPs. This is another long post so bear with me.
I emphasized the SHIP part of the word because a relationSHIP is kind of like a SHIP at sea. Two people decide to jump on board and they start on a journey together that is always moving and changing. Outside factors influence the relationship, the wind and storms, waves and currents… the ship is fragile. Heading out on the open sea can be daunting.
Your ship can wreck at anytime unless you are careful. Together you must be able to navigate the hazards of the sea and steer the ship in the right direction. It is essential that you and your partner agree on the final destination and how you want to get there. Working together is the only way your ship will stay intact…roles in the relationship should be clearly defined so that each of you will know exactly how to keep the ship moving in the right direction. Each partner should have confidence in themselves and where they want the ship to go. Any inner conflict or conflict between partners will lead to disaster.
Having a serious relationship fall apart recently has given me a lot of time to learn and grow. I have had an enormous amount of time for self reflection…to set goals to improve and become a better man. If we don’t choose to learn from our failed relationships then what was the point? Only one relationship will ever end in happily ever after so we might as well choose to learn. Perhaps we are in a cycle of failed relationships for a reason and that reason is most often YOU. Sure you can blame others all you want…some do it their entire lives and they never own up to personal change. I believe relationships are sacred and that if you seek enlightenment from them, they can be the best way for us to recognize our weaknesses and see what we need to change.
I want to share personal insights I have gained through this time…first I will share what I have learned about myself and then what I have learned about gender roles in relationships in general.
A good friend of mine who was married for 6 years and then went through a nasty divorce recommended a book to me when I was going through my break up. It’s called “Making the Shift” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The concepts helped him achieve inner peace and to not let the actions of another person (his ex) affect his happiness. I downloaded the book on audiobooks and started listening right away. I can’t possibly go into everything he helped me see about myself and the world but the approach of the book is to find and accept your divine self.
We are all born with the seeds of divinity within each of us…but the world convinces us to follow an EGO driven life. The EGO is fueled through competition to get ahead, to get more money, more material possessions and more power and control over others. The EGO centered person is selfish and seeks to control or manipulate others. After awhile of following this EGO what we end up with is a FALSE SELF. We wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and we are not happy. We are at conflict with ourselves, our relationship partner, our family, and the entire world really. We have strayed from our divine purpose and we scare even ourselves. If you think of life as a clock…we start out at the 12 and then we fall to the 6…we are the furthest away from home and this is a rock bottom which is different for everyone. “Making the Shift” is all about going from 6 back to 12 o’clock by re discovering who we are…a shift from the EGO driven self to the GOD centered life and purpose.
The way to make the shift is to change the way you see yourself. This starts with controlling your thoughts. Thoughts make you what you become. In order to make a shift you have to spend quiet time contemplating with thoughts that match your true divine self…your original self. We all have God within us…the answer to our problems is not outside ourselves in the ever-changing world but already within us. We simply have to open a door inward to our soul and reconnect with the God within us.
A friend of mind challenged me to a 21 day meditation program recently. For me this has been the perfect opportunity to spend quiet time contemplating who I really am. It’s a little hippie sure but we would all be better off to embrace a little bit of the hippie within us. Some of the most successful people practice meditation regularly. I have made it through one week of meditation, a 15 minute time commitment before bed or right when I wake up and I feel a huge difference in my life already. The power is within me to change whatever I want to change about myself. I can feel more of a clarity in my life and its cleaning out my subconscious that has had way too much of the EGO shoved into it. I would rather be a host to God than a hostage to my EGO.
You can eventually reprogram your subconscious mind to make your deepest wishes come true. When you block out all your senses and tell yourself you already are what you want to be then you are on your way. You start to ASSUME THE FEELING OF THE WISH FULFILLED. Whatever you want to be, just start acting and assuming you already are that person. I have a friend who used to say “even though I’m single I’m going to start acting like the married me”… When he would make choices he would ask himself if the married version of himself would do that…I saw an amazing transformation in him and he met and married the love of his life…his wish was fulfilled because he assumed it first.
Even when you have made bad mistakes…the good and potential is still within you to become what you want. A friend of mine shared this quote with me during an extremely difficult time…
“Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
We must be true to the heroic heart we have all been given and chose to get up when we fall. We must be ever seeking and striving to find our true self once again. After all we are only confined by the walls we have built ourselves.
This is not saying that we can all be whatever we want to be if we simply think it. We can’t all be pro football players or concert pianists or the president of the United States…because this is not the true and natural self for most people. Each of us is born with certain talents and abilities…it is this passion and talent within each of us that we need to tap into and expound. We cannot afford to be fighting against this true self or try to be something we are not. Duality and inner conflict inhibit progression. Matthew 6:24 says,
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
The only way you can be properly aligned with your true self is to live your life according to the 4 cardinal virtues… kindness, honesty, service and reverence for all of life… When you are aligned with these virtues you are tapped into the spiritual realm of your own being then the right things and people will come into your life. You will start to live and operate on a higher plane. You will see clearly and have clear direction to fulfill your deepest purpose in life.
For my personal return home it has been a return to the innocent kid I was growing up or right after my mission…refined through experience and with more knowledge than before.
It has been a journey of accepting my true self which is a natural-born leader and teacher who lifts and inspires others with passion, enthusiasm and positivity. I love to write and my blog has been part of my journey. I love to sing and joining the ward choir and learning to sing bass has also been a significant step. Coaching high school girls volleyball renewed my love for volleyball which is a big part of me I was missing. Accepting and diving into my career as a dentist has also brought stability.
I am also a loyal lover who has a sensitive side with my feelings. My most recent relationship has helped me rediscover that side of my heart. I don’t need to try to hide my feelings or act like a jerk just because that’s what the world says helps you get the attractive woman. I don’t believe the saying “treat a girl like dirt and she will stick to you like glue”… I think that when the right one comes along I will treat her like a queen and she will recognize it and really appreciate it not want to let me go ever. She won’t shove me away because I am nice. At my core I am a nice guy and I believe that nice guys don’t really finish in last. I can selflessly love someone and all other girls will fade away.
My return home has also been a return to virtue. Virtue is power…I don’t have to let my hormones control my thoughts and actions. I can choose to control them and to bring more meaningful experiences to my life rather than random and fleeting encounters. I am so grateful to be on my way back home and find inner peace with myself and God’s plan for me.
I know that part of God’s plan for me is to be apart of a meaningful relationship and I have been able to take a step back lately and learn a ton about how that is supposed to work.
Another book I have been reading lately is called, “The Way of the Superior Man.” This book dives deep into gender roles in relationships. The “Superior” in the title means being the best man you can be…it is not meaning that a man is superior to a woman. Both the man and the woman are equal and neither is greater in God’s eyes (1 Cor 11:11).
I believe that a big reason why families and relationships are so broken these days is because Men and Women are mixing up gender roles in relationships creating disharmony. Men are becoming more feminine…skinny jeans, earrings, long hair are just the superficial manifestations. Women often become ultra independent, stomping on men and squashing them into a role that is completely submissive, where they don’t provide and protect. Society is shifting backwards when it comes to gender and many people are left confused.
Don’t get me wrong I think that some of the advances of society are good…it makes woman much more dynamic and it helps men connect to a woman’s heart by exploring his feminine. Both partners should be able to assume their feminine or masculine sides in order to connect better with their partner, but still not lose sight of their true role at their core.
For me in my life there has never been confusion. I have always considered myself a man’s man…and I am attracted to the ultra feminine types… but even then there is so much to learn. I want to be the best man I can be.
Again I can’t share even 1/100 of what I have learned from the book but I can give you an idea. A “superior man” is someone who stays connected to his deepest sense of self and his deepest purpose at all times, regardless of what the woman does. A woman should feel that by getting to know her man she is coming closer to God at the same time. When she feels your heart she wants to feel the heart of God.
She should feel the peace and safety and stability of the divine within her man. BUT a woman will not feel that if the man is in conflict with himself or doesn’t know his purpose. A woman will also become confused if the man becomes swallowed up in her to the point that he loses his sense of self. As a man the woman should be a source of light and inspiration to help you accomplish your deepest purpose through God. As a man you should not make the woman the most important thing or the only thing in your life.
A woman’s heart and feelings are like an ocean and they can’t be confined in a box or in sentences… Their world is one of abundance and love and for them it is all about feeling. Life is a dance or a song or painting a beautiful picture to them. They are very much connected to the world and spirit around them and this gives them their intuition. They know when something is off. As a man you must appreciate this power of the woman but not let it tell you what to do. It will keep you in check in the moment but you can’t try to analyze or dissect it because its far too complicated for that. Women are not really meant to be understood only to be loved. They are meant to be embraced as they are and not meant to be fixed.
It is important not to get swallowed up in these emotions so much that you lose stability. No woman wants an ultra emotional man. They don’t want to be smothered. A woman wants a man who will continue giving his gift with or without her. You must be able to come into the woman and share in her world…feel with her and appreciate it for what it is but then go right back to giving your gift of creation and deep purpose connected to God. A man will then be able to guide the relationship with the trust of his woman in love.
In my most recent relationSHIP looking back now I think a big reason it didn’t work out was because of mixed gender roles. I could have done so much more as a “superior man” to stay connected to my partner without losing myself in an emotional roller coaster. This is very difficult to do when your heart is invested and you care so deeply about someone. She was a single Mom and so she has had to be a Father and a Mother for her little boy for a long time. It was a very scary thing for her to give up that masculine in her and fully embrace the feminine in the relationship. In many ways I could not be the man I wanted to in the relationship because she would not let me. But maybe if she would not have felt any conflict in me at the beginning or more of a connection to God through me she would have been able to let me guide the relationship and to trust me.
The most important lesson I have learned from all of this however is that no one can have pure joy in their relationship with self or a romantic partner unless that person puts full trust in God. When you begin a journey in a new relationship it is wise to rely on the Savior Jesus Christ. He will guide us in life and love and allow us to find joy in fulfilling our deepest purpose while sharing our hearts with the person we love. He has shown us the way and only He can safely navigate our ship through the waves wind and storms that make up this-worldly experience. Without him we are lost at sea, we will be tossed every which way with no real course and we could end up at the bottom of the ocean.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn these deep lessons over the last little while. I know that as I continue to learn and grow only good things will come into my life. I know my final destination and that is to return home to live with my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the people I love forever. When I get married it will be forever. It won’t be the end…It will simply be a decision to get on a ship with someone who chooses to be guided by the same captain, Jesus Christ and who wants to end up at the same place. He created the earth and is the one who calmed the raging sea. If we let him into our hearts and into our relationship I know he will show us the way back home.