Having the courage to end a relationship

My biggest fear over the years in contemplating a breakup (which I knew would be for the best for many years but could not bring myself to do) was that I would feel so alone in the world–and how frightening that would be.

The added money that my boyfriend gave me each month towards the household expenses was also very important to me, especially when I went through breast cancer and could not work for almost a year.

But my biggest challenge was the terror I felt about “being alone” in the world.

No matter how bad things were with my boyfriend and I, feeling a part of a unit, and having a “witness to my life” everyday who cared about the minutia, were very anchoring for me. I needed that foundation in my life to be more fearless in other areas of my life, At least I believed that.

When I finally made the break, I not only found it to be freeing and physically en-lightening 🙂 but I discovered that it doesnt matter if you are in a relationship–people have moments where they feel alone no matter who they are with. It seems to be the most natural thing for human beings to soemtimes feel alone, and for life to occasionally feel empty. I think even more so in today’s world of technology and isolationism (people interacting with the world from their homes on their devices more than going out to be with them).

I think human beings have a basic need to feel they are part of a community or group or unit. If you have no communities or groups in your life, you are apt to feel more alone. And I think of being in a relationship as being part of a group or unit. These thoughts made it very scary to give up my “unit”, but luckily, I have many other groups and communities that I belong to.

I put an aphorism on my phone as a reminder every day that “I am not alone. I just have no plans!” haha   This is so true!   When we are busy, out in the world, mingling and having fun, we dont feel alone. This aphorism takes the sting out of the meaningfulness that we give to “being alone”. It just doesnt have the same meaning when I read this aphorism 🙂

Now I realize that as a human being, there are going to be moments when life feels empty or meaningless, and that I feel all alone in it. This comes and goes, and the important thing is to not get STUCK there when it happens! Let it pass right over you! It will be gone soon. Just get busy doing something fun, something you are passionate about, or call a friend (or your kids! haha) Making a moment like that “meaningful” can get you down–if you really believe it. It’s important to remember that it isn’t TRUE. It’s just a momentary thought and sensation that doesnt have to be given any more meaning than that.

It has been such an “aha” moment for me to discover that I am happy living alone–that I have tons of people who love me and want to spend time with me–and I am free from the resentment and upset I felt for 18 years living with the wrong person. I did not like who I was in that situation–and I have reclaimed me. Thank goodness I was finally able to break free from that, and have the courage to live alone.

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Did we win? or lose?

Did you ever give thought to what was won and lost with women’s liberation?

Of course we needed equal rights and pay in the work place, and to be treated like equals by men everywhere, and in a respectful manner. And not to be treated as sex objects. Something had to be done, and my generation of women did it!!  I’m glad!

But sometimes I think about the consequences, and I’m not always happy with those. The roles of men and women got confusing.

In the old days, women took care of the home and the kids, and men went out to earn a living to support their family. Men were supposed to treat women like ladies, and treat them on dates, and bring them flowers and gifts. That sounds so nice 🙂

But women were treated as “less than”, and were not allowed into certain professions, and were treated as sex objects, and did not receive equal pay or opportunities. It was quite humiliating to be treated that way. I have first hand experience of that.

So, the women’s liberation movement made sure things started to change. Not all at once, but the process was put into place (and laws!), and women started to hold their heads up high and compete.

I know this was confusing for many men of that era. Suddenly, they were being told that they had to stop treating women a certain way, and allow them into their companies, jobs, and clubs. They were told to stop treating them as children, or as sex objects. Women were demanding to earn money, and left the home to do that. Roles were changing.

Could men of that era be sure of what was and wasn’t appropriate behavior? I believe it got very confusing. They weren’t sure if they would get thanked, or yelled at, if they offered to pick up a check. Or if they assumed that a woman wanted to be taken care of in any way.

It got VERY confusing.

For instance, I once went out with a guy who didn’t offer to pick up the check. When I eventually was able to bring that incident up, he defended it by saying “Well, I didn’t know if you would be insulted, with women’s lib, and everything.”

To this day, I am not sure if that was a sincere statement, or just an excuse. I really don’t ! 🙂

But I honestly felt like I had no defense. Because I feel like we are asking to have it both ways.

How can we demand to be treated as equal, and then tell them they have to treat us as special? It’s a paradox.

But I just had an insight, that maybe the answer is that I want to be treated the way I would treat other people.

I am generous and caring, and I offer to treat people sometimes. That is my nature.

And I want a guy to have that generous, caring nature too.

So regardless of women’s lib, and roles, I can still want a guy to show I am important and treat me to dinner.

And i will do that for him sometimes too.

It is more an act of generosity and an act of caring, than it is an act based on a role. Right?

OK. So now I’ve settled it. Regardless of any confusion that women’s lib might have brought on for men, we can adjust to the new roles, and just be kind to each other!

Yes, I still have those days where I wish a guy would come along and say he will support me so I can retire and do whatever I want. Boy do I wish that some days 🙂 But that is not a real wish. It is just a little pity party!

That thought is rooted in an old philoposhy where women stayed home and the men supported them. But that is not me!

I have never been comfortable with that model. I have always wanted to be independent and support myself and my family–and not answer to anyone. That is what women’s liberation was all about.

The truth is, I don’t really need someone to treat me to dinner. I just want to be treated like I am important!

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FEAR and ACTION

Something I learned a long time ago is that FEAR and TAKING ACTIONS can co-exist.

Often, we want to take an action, and we are stopped by fear. This is natural.

But if you can separate fear from action, you can take an action regardless of the fear.

This is a very powerful ability. Fear stops us from doing so many things we really want to do.

It is okay to have fear. It is so natural. And it is possible to do something you really want to do regardless of that fear.

For instance, I am starting a new business and have a fear that people won’t take me seriously, and that I won’t have any credibility. This thinking can stop you in your tracks.

But my desire to make a success of this new business is huge. And I know the actions that I have to take to make it happen.

I can take those steps, take those actions, even though I have a fear of failure or embarrassment. 

What is the worst that can happen? What is the best that can happen?

Weigh those two things. Isn’t it worth taking a risk to reach your dreams?

I BELIEVE IT IS!

Fear is just an emotion! Those come and go. They don’t have to stop us.

Next time you want to take a step toward your dream, and those thoughts start creeping into your head telling you why you can’t or shouldn’t bother, take your action anyway!

Allow FEAR and ACTION to live side by side! They CAN co-exist!!!

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Notice! Interrupt! Replace!

I’ve realized recently that people, and especially the women I know, often look for validation from the men in their lives–especially that special man. This is probably true in many relationships, heterosexual or homosexual.

We tend to look for compliments and praise from our other half. And when we don’t get them, we feel bad, like we’re not good enough., or not pretty enough, or not deserving.

What a set up! What are we doing to ourselves?

We set ourselves up to feel bad by craving this acknowledgement. What if we don’t get it? Are we going to just keep waiting for it? and letting this determine who we are, and how great we are? NO!!!!

We are going to create the acknowledgement for ourselves, from within ourselves! We are NOT going to wait for it, and we are NOT going to feel bad when we don’t get it! The truth is, you know your own greatness and don’t need anyone to tell you. But we have this terrible habit of convincing ourselves that we are not great until that special person tells us we are. Why do we do that??

When that voice in your head tells you to feel bad because he forgot a special occasion, or because he didn’t tell you how great you look, or because he went some place and didn’t invite you, STOP !

NOTICE that your voice is sabotaging you and making you feel bad.

INTERRUPT the negative conversation, and the evidence gathering, and remembering the litany of other similar incidents that you can pull out of your mental file to prove you should feel bad. Remind yourself that your other half doesn’t do things to hurt you. He just does things! (or doesn’t! 🙂  It’s not personal, and it’s not on purpose. It is usually by omission. And it doesn’t mean anything! It especially doesn’t mean anything about YOU! It means something about HIM!

REPLACE those negative thoughts with positive thoughts and positive actions. Call someone who really loves you and knows how great you are and TELLS YOU, (like your mom or a good friend).

Arrange to have lunch with someone special in your life, or get a massage, or take a walk.

These negative thoughts are only thoughts! They only have the meaning that YOU give them!

YOU can interrupt them and replace them with something great!

SO DO IT!!!!

Notice, Interrupt and Replace!

Take a stand for yourself, your greatness, and your happiness!!

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Are we having fun?

I always imagined that when I get to the pearly gates some day, that God will ask me, “So, did you have fun?”

Can you imagine if we are here to enjoy ourselves, and all we do is find things to suffer about every day!

The joke would really be on us!

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Who ARE You?

Did you ever wonder who you are? I think we all wonder that at some point in our lives. Maybe every day! 🙂

There are so many ways to answer that question. Are you what you do? Teacher, mother, swimmer? Are you who you are to other people? a good mother, a caring daughter, a fun friend?

There are so many layers to who we are–especially who we REALLY are.

If I asked someone who knows me, “Who am I?”, I might be surprised at the answers if they are honest. I don’t think we can ever really know how other people see us. There are the obvious adjectives, nice, generous, smart. But what about the characteristics that our friends and family see, that we DON’T see about ourselves? The ones that they don’t always share with us–perhaps not to hurt our feelings, or to avoid a confrontation.

I like to think that who I really am is not always what is showing. My hopes, my dreams, my commitment to be a better person, my striving for inner peace and contentment in my life–these are on the inside.  How can anyone else know what is on my inside? Therefore, how can they really know ME?

The total person is many things. What you do, feel and think; how others perceive you; your dreams and goals; what you want your life to mean; what you stand for; what you strive for.

Who you are is an evolving you. Your life is a journey that continually changes you. Hopefully, you never stop learning and evolving.

There is no one else like you! You are unique! You are whole, perfect, and the best YOU that you can be.

We can spend a lifetime searching for the “real” me or trying to define who we are. And that is part of life. But revel in the fact that you ARE, right now in the present, and YOU ARE GREAT!

Find 3 things to be grateful for today!

Barbara Ganin

www.barbaraganin.com

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Having A Life You Love, Part II: What Do You Really Want?

Now, what are those things you really want to do that you aren’t doing?

There are obvious answers like “I wish I could go rafting more” or “I wish I had become a doctor” or “I wish I had time to exercise every day.”

It may sound simple to ask yourself what will make you happier in life,  but it can be very tough to figure that out.

We are so busy doing what is expected of us, and taking the path of least resistance, that maybe we never figured out what we really want. Perhaps you will need to dig deep to define your dreams. Or maybe you have a bucket list already.

Think about what might make you happier or more content in life. Set some goals for yourself. When you reach them, you might discover that it isn’t really what makes you happy, but that’s okay. Eliminating something from your list is good too! It gets you closer to what you really want. This is a process!

Before anything can change, you have to believe that you deserve to be happy. That belief propels you forward. If you don’t always feel deserving, find someone in your life who believes in you! I have my own “go-to” people that encourage me to reach for my dreams. Even if I can’t see possibility for myself, or if I feel fear or feel “stuck”, they remind me that I deserve to be happy and that I have the tools to move myself closer to my dreams! And it makes a big difference!

The combination of a drive to have a great life, a set of clear goals, and seeing the possibility that you can reach your goals, is truly motivating! These three things will call you to action! And when you start taking action, anything is possible!

Find three things to be grateful for today!

Barbara Ganin

http://www.barbaraganin.com

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