Category: Relationships

What Your Man Really Needs From You

We hear a lot of talk about oppressed women, but do we hear much about repressed men? Quite frankly, I never have. At least not in the way I’m about to explain.

As a life coach and hairstylist for 28 years, I have had my share of personal conversations with men. I have also had countless conversations with women. I’ve always been fascinated with relationships and human nature and have compiled a large amount of organic data through both my careers and personal relationships.

The one thing I have seen repeatedly is what I call “The Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome.” This syndrome is comprised of women thinking a man is going to fill all the gaps in her heart. He will ride into her life atop his steed, emotionally healthy and always doing the right thing. He will be complete and whole in his emotional body and deliver her from all the evils of the world.

It’s about time someone advocates for the men out there because quite frankly, this has gotten way out of control.

Somehow through the passage of time and in addition to television, movies and fairy tale stories, a “good” man has been stigmatized to have to be darn near close to perfection. Women have gotten the insane notion that this God-like human is going to sweep into their lives and rescue them from all the bad men who came before them and heal their insecurities. 

He’ll know just what to say and just how to do it. He will build me a beautiful house, buy me pretty gifts, let me cry on his shoulder, put his jacket over rain puddles, brush my hair and always, always make me feel special.

What a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a person. No wonder so many men are afraid of commitment. I would be too.

Today I am going to bat for the repressed man — the human who’s not allowed to feel. The boys behind the brawn.

The boys who had their heart broken by a parent or were bullied through school. The boys who weren’t allowed to share their emotional pain or given tools to heal their hearts. The boys who repressed their feelings not to feel ashamed, unmasculine, weak or unworthy.

I know men who have gone through all types of painful backgrounds and dysfunctional relationships and here’s the whopper…

Are you ready for it?

Men feel deeply.

They just don’t show it.

We do our men a grave disservice when we attach a persona to them they cannot possibly live up to and then feel let down when OMG he’s not perfect!

Today I’d like to give our men a fighting chance to heal their hearts and their stories. My deep desire is to see men get the emotional support they’ve always deserved. I’d like to see women everywhere treating their men like they wish themselves to be treated. By giving their man the same love and support they desire when they’re afraid, betrayed, confused or in pain.

You see, our men are not given the opportunity to be human. They are not allowed to cry, fail or be weak. I heard a man say to an author at a speaker’s conference, “My wife and daughters would rather see me die than fall off my white horse.”  That broke my heart in more ways than I can say.

In that moment, I decided it’s time for a world view shift. A radical change in perspective regarding the males in our lives

Men suffer painful stories as equally as women; however, they are taught to repress their emotion by the repressed men before them. And the pathology continues. To the men reading this (because I know you are) I ask if you can recall a time you were told to:

Suck it up!

Stop being a pansy!

Man up!

Quit being a baby!

Men don’t cry!

I bet the farm you have. In fact, I imagine it’s a high percentage of you.  You are in good company.

If men were “allowed” to openly discuss their pain, the shame attached to feeling emotion would decrease immensely!

Ladies, it is time for us to stop this madness not only for our partners and the state of our relationships, but for the children we’re raising. It’s time for us to shift the outdated perception of:

Man = Invincible

to

Man = Human Being

Unhealed wounds is the number one cause of divorce. Behind any disempowered behavior is an unhealed wound. This is not a gender specific issue; this is a human being issue.  As the sacred feminine, we have the power to help our men heal their wounds and teach our sons a new way of being in the world.

Your man’s heart is as big as yours. He loves as deeply as anyone else and he is hurt just as easily by the words and actions. Just because he isn’t openly displaying it does not mean it’s not there. Bring me any man’s unsavory behavior and I will find the unhealed wound behind it.

I was recently read this quote on a yoga studio wall:

“The role of every woman is to birth the God in every man”.   Sigh…

That quote was my inspiration to write this article.

What I hear in these words is that a loving, good woman has the capacity to serve as the gateway to a man’s healing if she chooses to see him as imperfect and fallible, but lovable nonetheless. We must understand that men are not put into our lives to save us. As a couple, we are put into one another’s lives to save each other!

A Course in Miracles speaks of the difference between a Holy Relationship and a special relationship. The Holy Relationship is one where both parties equally show up to help one another heal their fears and pain while supporting their growth opportunities and potential. A special relationship is based on ego: what we can “get” from our partner. The special relationship says, “What can I get from you?” not “What can I give to you?”

It has been said, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This does not mean a man cannot achieve success by himself. What is does mean is men (and women) achieve far greater success and achievement when they are supported by a loving, compassionate partner.

Like any human being on this planet, we all need a soft place to fall. As depicted in movies like Braveheart and 300, the “hero” had a strong, loving woman supporting him who allowed him to break down and cry on her breast. She didn’t judge him, she supported him. She stepped up to meet his heart and offered her love.

Ladies, the truth is this, men are not going to say, “Hold me” Or “I just need a good cry.” They need us to read between the lines and have compassion for their situation or story. They need us to offer the security of our unconditional love. Your man does not need more negativity, shame or stigmas attached to him. He needs your kindness, love, security and tenderness.

Love heals all wounds. Ego, fear, control and manipulation perpetuates them.

The next time you feel compelled to attach a perceived persona to your man and then feel disappointed when he falls short, ask yourself this: How can I better support him right now?

Don’t be discouraged if your new course of action doesn’t work right away. If you have a backstory of non-support, he most likely won’t trust your motive. Instead learn to see the soul inside your man. Learn to understand his hidden emotions and act from this new perspective. Teach him that you are trustworthy of holding his innermost feelings and fears sacred. Provide a solid place for him to open his heart.

He may try to push you away, tell you he’s fine or he doesn’t need your help, but I implore you to keep on. After all you are dealing with an ingrained societal norm that won’t be dispelled easily.

This doesn’t mean become pushy or smothering. It means teach him over time that you have his back. That he can trust you like no other person on this planet. That you see both his strengths and his weaknesses and love him just the same.

What Does Broadcasting Love Mean?

Awhile back I answered an email regarding what it means to “broadcast love”. Usually when one person asks a question, there are others wondering the same thing. So I decided to share my reply. I have removed the person’s name for privacy purposes.

Hello,
Learning to broadcast love by being a conduit of light is the most effective method available when dealing with difficult relationship situations.

When we are in difficult situations where emotions are high, most often our ego or lower self steps up in attempt to “get power back”.

This is only a distraction and never works for true resolution because Love is the only reality. When we come from a place of Love (meaning any word or behavior rooted in Source Energy) we act from Truth and actually steer situations to better outcomes/results.

I used to say, “Why is it I always take the high road and I don’t get to see results?!” That was my ego wanting revenge, to be right, or to see someone’s karma returned. The problem is we don’t always get to see the results quickly or if at all.

When we “broadcast” love, true healing begins even if we can’t see it right away. There is an energetic shift we are often not privy to. Stuff happens behind the scenes we are not privy to. And people start to grow in ways we are not privy to.

In some instances I never got to see the results, but in other situations I have. One time it took 10 years for a person to own their shit and in another instance it took the person 10 seconds.

Only the ego wants to see results quickly. Our soul does not. Our soul is only concerned with how WE show up to the situation.

By connecting with Source, we position ourselves to live a better life. And when a person comes from a place of Light, it often illuminates the way for others as well!

Just to be clear, rooting ourselves in Love does not mean we bow down. It means we come from a space of Love whether it’s setting a healthy boundary or removing yourself from the situation. Either way, we pray for an outcome that is best for all concerned.

When we seek to come from our Highest Self and learn to detach from outcome, radical shifts in healing and personal evolution ensues. When Love is the essence we exude, healing is the result. We just don’t get to choose how or when that will happen.

At first it may seem difficult to choose Higher Self over control, winning or the need to be right (ego), but I assure you over time you will begin to see the results and think…

“Wow, it really is that simple..”.

Why Your Boundaries are Not Working

boundarycartoon

“I keep setting boundaries and they are not working!” Said the distraught and frustrated person.

Boundaries are often misunderstood and therefore, improperly used. Thus, having little to no effect on the disrespectful or hurtful situation you are trying to remedy. So, let’s have a little Boundary 101 lesson on what boundaries are, why they are not working and how to set them effectively.

Step One – Setting a Word Boundary  

This will look something akin to…

“I feel disrespected when you often make me the butt of your jokes in social settings. I’m requesting that you please stop doing it.”

Your person will respond in one of two ways:

(a.) Understand and honor your request which allows both parties to continue forward happily. Or…

(b.) Disregard your request and continue to do it.

With response (a.) you’re good to go!

With response (b.), unfortunately, you’re not finished yet…

Many people think a boundary is set only with words and if you’re lucky, it will be. But if our person chooses to disrespect our Word Boundary, we must be prepared to back up our words with action.

Step Two – Setting an Action Boundary

The difficult part about Action Boundaries is oftentimes the most effective action/boundary we could choose may be the hardest or scariest one to set. We are terrified what might happen or what we’ll lose if we stand behind our words with action. Thus, we repeatedly use words over action in a feeble attempt to feel “safe” by disrupting as little status quo as possible. This is where we become the most frustrated.

Ugh… I don’t want to go further with this. Why can’t my person just heed my [word] boundary?!

The answer is simple. Because your person is not motivated or has reason to introspect or adjust him/herself. (Self-reflection is something many people avoid like the plague unless motivated or inspired to do so) Additionally, you have shown your person over time that your worn-out words mean nothing. They can continue to say and do as they please because there are no consequences.

what you allow

By providing a “consequence” or action behind your boundary, you will provide the necessary motivation and inspiration to introspect because they will lose something of value if they continue with the same behavior.

Setting healthy Action Boundaries is in direct proportion to our level of self-worth. When we have a healthy self-worth in place, a firm boundary is easy-er because our joy, worth and value are not reliant on another person.

Healthy self-worth says: I understand my value and won’t allow another person to minimize it no matter what. My job is to take care of me.

When we are continually hurt or disrespected, we have two choices only:

Put up with the crap. Yay, I get to live with this for eternity.

Or

Remove yourself or something from the relationship/situation until your person acquiesces to your respect request. There is hope this situation will change!

Action Boundary Sample:

 “I will no longer attend _______ with you because I will not put myself in position to be disrespected by being the butt of your jokes.”

And don’t attend again.

Ever.

Unless or until Mr. or Mrs. Disrespectful stops making you the butt of his/her jokes.

Are you getting the picture here?

For a Boundary to reign success, the offender must feel a consequence of their action. Otherwise, they will have no reason to introspect into why he/she is being a shit in the first place.

Boundaries Serve Both Parties

The best and most awesome part about boundary setting is it can serve both parties. Our boundaries and clear sense of self-worth can shine light on our person’s dependencies, controlling tendencies or disrespectful behaviors and potentially start them on their own healing path.

menholdinghands

It’s important to remember what others are doing is oftentimes a pattern set in place long ago and they may not even be aware how detrimental their behavior is. When they begin to receive the message enough, they will eventually have little choice but to take a good hard look at themselves.

Above all else, remember this…

If words are not working, back them with action.

 You matter.

You always have.

They will not respect you until you respect you by setting a boundary that says: I’m worth more than that!

Get it?

I knew you would.

Ladies: Is Your “Number” Getting Too High?

tic marks

There’s a pop culture term for the amount of people we’ve had sex with. It’s called “your number”.  The mere fact this is a thing within our youth, says a lot. People are always paying attention to how we conduct ourselves sexually.

Historically society has made promiscuity okay for men, but multiple partners takes on a completely differently meaning for women. Throughout the centuries, one might typically be called a whore or a slut if her number is too high suggesting she is giving away the “cookie” (as Steve Harvey refers to it) too often and easily.

However, I see a high number in a completely different way. So, let’s take the words whore and slut out of this conversation because judgment will only interfere with this very important message.

Without even knowing you personally, I can bank on a few reasons why you continually give up the cookie too soon:

  1. You believe sex will secure the relationship.
  2. You believe a man’s sexual desire for you means he is interested
  3. You have no idea how truly valuable you are.

Most men are driven by a primal need to disperse his seed. It is built into his physiology to procreate. He is easily turned on visually and when touch is added, he’s quickly pushed to the point of no return. Most often he will do or say anything to get what his body is craving. Remember the Meatloaf song “Paradise by Dashboard Lights?

Considering these hard facts, it’s almost stupid how easy it is to get a man to have sex with you. (To be frank, it’s really no great accomplishment)

Then once in throes of tongues, thrusts and sweat, the cookie-giver tends to think: Look how much he wants me. I’m special and different than all the other women. He won’t be able to live without me!

Until he loses interest and stops calling. Ouch.

goodbye

Why? Because to a man sex is never about securing a relationship. Period.

There’s a sad truth afoot here, ladies… men can pretty much get their rocks off with anyone, even with himself.  You are not special and you are not different than any orgasm before you.

At least not yet!

When we have sex with a prospective partner too soon, we mistake his sexual desire for love and affection. Sure, he may think you are cute and funny, but he hasn’t even gotten to know you. All that happened was you provided an outlet for his innate primal desire.

Even if he does stick around for a bit, he hasn’t connected to your personality, your values or your soul. He wasn’t given the time. The only thing that’s been established is you are willing to screw. Is that really what you want your worth to be judged by?

I didn’t think so.  Please read on.

The point when a man truly connects with and commits to a woman does not come from sex. It arises organically when the woman keeps a steady pace of abstinence until the man has earned the right to be with her.

I’m not making this up. Any emotionally healthy, self-aware man will tell you this.

Emotionally healthy men are highly attracted to and stay with women who are confident, know their worth and formulate healthy boundaries for him to honor and respect.

Unless or until you start treating yourself as valuable, your number will continue to increase without the payoff of a lifetime partner you so desperately crave.

Let’s break this down into 3 Simple Truths:

Simple Truth #1:

Your vagina is not your worth.

 If you could readily adopt that idea, I’d stop writing right now. But chances are you don’t yet fully understand.

Stop listening to the BS society and the media throws at you. Your eyebrows, hair, clothes, toenails and fancy Cirque de Solei sex positions is not what secures an emotionally healthy man. He may enjoy those things, but they will not ensure a lifetime commitment. Sure, there are superficial dudes out there who only care about how you look on his arm, but all you will ever be is a thing to make him feel better about who he is.

Not really what you’re looking for is it?

Simple Truth #2:

A man wants a woman who is authentic, open-hearted and acts in alignment with her own worth.

After years of poor choices and behaviors stemming from my own unworthiness, I learned a man is truly looking for a woman to feel safe with. Yep, you heard me! He craves safety and intimacy just like you do.

A woman tossing out the cookie left and right does not yield safety I assure you.

A safe woman is one who understands her value and is willing to act in accordance with her worth thus becoming a shining beacon amidst a tumultuous hurricane of cookies flying everywhere.

When a man feels authentic truth, self-worth and integrity within a woman, he will do what it takes to secure her to him. This is the point she becomes special and different. And if he doesn’t, he is not a man of integrity and you should move on as fast as possible.

Simple Truth #3:

Men desire connection and safety just as much as women.

An emotionally healthy man will choose a woman who makes him feel safe over a flamboyant romp in the sack every time.

Have you ever stayed in a relationship too long waiting for him to commit only to watch him marry the next woman he meets? What did she have that you didn’t? Oftentimes, a man doesn’t even know what he is looking for until that glowing, confident, self-assured women whirls into his life. She can be a game changer for even the most steadfast of bachelors.

foundsafety

Sisters, there is a way out of the ever increasing “numbers” game and into the arms of a wonderful man so listen up.

Step One: Recognize you have a pattern of giving up the cookie-too soon.

Step Two: Let yourself off the hook. You are not a whore. You have only mistakenly believed that you could gain love by offering your body. Give yourself grace and forgiveness for acting in a way that did not support your highest self.

Step Three: Stop dating until you do the work to heal your self-worth and unequivocally know you are able to protect and support your sacred self in your next relationship.

And always remember there is nothing more attractive and stimulating to an emotionally healthy man than a woman who values herself.

Dear New Wife

FriendsStrangers

Dear New Wife,

I remember the first time I met you. It was at my son’s birthday party. I was pleased to see my ex-husband as happy in a new relationship as I was in my new marriage. I was eager to get to know you, the newest member of our big, loving family!  When we were introduced, you hardly smiled or acknowledged me. Although it took me aback, I continued to welcome you, smile and talk to you, but again, you scarcely acknowledged me. Something didn’t feel right about that, but I quickly discarded it and went on about the business of being myself. After all, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for the new love to meet the ex-wife. 

As months passed, I felt you somewhat warm up to me and life moved forward. We continued with the pre-established status quo of joint holidays and occasional joint vacations with our kids. It was nice. After all, we had been divorced 10 years and had figured out a way to be friends. And man, did our kids benefit from it! So much so that they often told me they never felt the heartache of typical children of divorce. Win!

You see, my own parents had modeled ex-ing beautifully for us and I was so grateful we were able to do the same. It’s the best thing for the children and the circle of family involved. Divorce does not have to equal division, bitterness and hate. It can be the beginning of something new and wonderful!

But something seemed to change after my new husband abandoned our family a year later. It became apparent that my new status of “available” was threatening to you. I tried to ignore it and work around it, but it only gained force like a hurricane slowly making its way toward shore. I was shocked and perplexed.

Couldn’t you see with your eyes and feel with your heart that I was nothing to fear?

My children began to notice their parents’ friendship compromised for the first time in over a decade. They witnessed their father’s kind and respectful behavior toward their mother change to cold and distant. They also noticed how unwilling he was to stand up for or protect them in situations where a father should. It became unwittingly clear he did everything possible to quell your insecurity even if that meant choosing you over them and treating me as if I was a non-person. He put aside his priorities and his personal freedom to appease you.

Perhaps you can trust his devotion to you now.

Sadly though, none of this needed to happen because there’s something I don’t think you understand. Just because people divorce, doesn’t mean they don’t love one another anymore; oftentimes, the love has only changed forms. My ex and I simply morphed from husband and wife to a sibling-type relationship. He became my brother. It was a friendship built on healthy boundaries and respect for each other and their personal lives. We cared about each other’s well-being as family would. We were often told we modeled a new paradigm for what healthy divorce and co-parenting can be. We were proud of our friendship.

Why weren’t you thrilled to have a drama free ex-wife like me?

I tried to ease your mind and calm your fear that Spring morning in Starbucks. For two heartfelt hours I explained my ex and I’s friendship. How he and I would help each other out with tasks from time to time, work together to meet our children’s needs, but not once had we crossed the line of “friends” since our divorce. In fact, we hardly even hugged save an occasional holiday. Our only crime was being nice to one another.

I had compassion for what I was sure was your backstory of pain. I understood. You see, I did not see you as an enemy or someone trying to hurt me. I saw you as a sister. Another woman who did not yet understand her worth or trust in a man’s love. Couldn’t you feel the truth and integrity in my words? But no matter what I said, how gently I said it or how compassionate and transparent I was, it was clear your mind was made up.

My ex and I don’t talk anymore. We no longer share joint holidays with our children. We don’t help each other out with tasks or work together as cohesive co-parents. His relationship with his children has suffered terribly as they’ve watched their father bend and stretch to make you comfortable. They watched the life they knew, enjoyed and felt safe in dramatically change. Where there was once unity and peace now lies the moss covered headstone of a dead friendship.

I’m still perplexed how this situation is better than the amicable situation we had before? Are you really at peace now? I wish I could say you are, but I continue to hear stories of your insecurity aimed toward other people. Perhaps it wasn’t me after all, but you all along.

The good news is my children and I discuss life issues openly and with higher purpose and direction in mind. The years have passed and they have grown and cultivated a new relationship with their father based on forgiveness and compassion for his fear of standing up for those he cares about.

They love him more than anything. Just as you do.

I have chosen to grieve the friendship my ex and I had, keep my distance and settle into this new format of ex-ing. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him or ever will. Love does not change, but situations do. And when my brother feels the freedom to enter back into my life, I will gladly accept him and you as well.

I pray for you often, sister. I ask God to help you find your worth and self-esteem. I pray you see the gift in peaceful ex-ing and open your eyes to the good woman I was then and still am today.

Until that time comes, I will be over here enjoying a great life.

Sincerely,

The Ex Wife