Posts Tagged ‘disappointment’

A Solid for my Single Girlfriends

Friday, May 19th, 2017

RvL°n

I began this blog thinking the title might be “What I Love About Being Single” but realized I wouldn’t be entirely honest in saying I LOVE being single. Like almost everyone, I always hoped to find lasting love in a partner—but here I am, over 50 with no partner! WTF?! How did this happen? I was supposed to be celebrating my 30-year wedding anniversary surrounded by our loving children, looking forward to the annual summer trip to Europe with my hubby… NOT SO! Instead, I’m divorced, coming up for air after two post-divorce, crash-and-burn, long-term love affairs (the last one was a doozie, let me tell you!), one daughter who still doesn’t speak to me 10 years after I left an unhappy marriage with her dad, and no time for a vacation because I work for myself.

Now, I will be entirely honest. This whole “relationship” thing pretty much sucks! Obviously, the first few months are awesome: the sparkle of new romance, the flattery and attention, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling, and of course…amazing sex (my memory is getting foggy on this last one). Red flags? Please! Doesn’t every single person have “red flags”? Someone who doesn’t have any…well, isn’t this, in itself, a red flag?

Okay, so I didn’t believe the guy who told me upfront he was an alcoholic… And certainly, I was shocked by the one who secretly released a fire extinguisher all over my car because I pissed him off (I saw telltale footprints from him and his little chihuahua Uma in the powder). And then there was the one who was seeing several other women behind my back (and doing strange things with them involving coffee grounds. Don’t ask!). Looking back, it’s feasible that I’ve had some challenges in the picking area. What can I say? All the above “eligible” bachelors were damn cute, charming, sexy, and fun. What’s a girl gotta do to be with a non-insane, honest guy who isn’t extremely homely, boring, ignorant, and/or pot-bellied?

Since it’s probably too late for me anyway, I figure the least I can do is pass on the wisdom from my years of fun-but-futile frolicking:

  1. Watch out for guys who don’t answer your text messages for, like, a day or two. Talk about being near the bottom of their priority list!
  2. If someone says they drink (or smoke, or eat, or gamble, etc.) too much, but that they’re “trying to stop,” this stuff generally gets far worse before it gets better, if it ever does.
  3. If someone likes to be alone more than they like to be with you, start making really good friends with yourself.
  4. If someone avoids (at all costs) talking about your future together, you’re likely dealing with one of the zillions of commitment-phobes out there. They can be really clever and drop little “hints” to keep stringing you along, or silently nod their heads as YOU talk about your future together. The truth is in the action (or lack thereof).
  5. To highlight that last point, if a person says one thing and does another, believe what they DO.
  6. Beware adult males who live with their parent(s) in the name of “taking care of them.”
  7. Beware loner types. There’s always a reason they’re loners, and it’s usually not a good one. Let’s not forget the Unabomber…
  8. If the only time you hear anything about a guy’s inner thoughts and feelings is when you’re in bed together, he may be a maestro at sex, but have real problems with intimacy.
  9. If someone you’re with digs porn magazines – “soft”, “hard”, whatever – or porn websites, don’t be naïve (like me) thinking, Don’t all men read “Playboy”?
  10. If there’s “another woman” in his life, and she happens to be his spoiled, grown daughter who doesn’t think you’re good enough for her daddy, get out fast!

These are just some of the things I’ve learned…love is a battlefield, as the song says. Believe what I say, though—I chill on my bed with my bichon, Oscar, and my kitty, Turnip, and we hash these things out. Fur is very absorptive, by the way. Thankfully, these two besties of mine are the only ones in my life right now who have excessive facial hair.

Thoughts on Hope

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Hope is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all…   — Emily Dickinson

Hope. Even hearing the word brings to mind comforting thoughts of relief, satisfaction, serenity. Hope is something encouraging and enduring, filling bleak spaces with strength beyond fear, triumph over crises, and light amid darkness. The presence of hope can be the difference between joy and depression, persistence and giving up, success and failure – even life and death.

Hoping for something is not the same as wishing for it, as the things we wish for are usually more illusive. When we wish for something, there’s often regret over or denial of an unfortunate reality, like wishing you could sing as well as your favorite rock star, or wishing you’d studied math instead of history in college. Hoping, on the other hand, generally refers to more realistic things in the present or future, so there’s no sadness over past things that cannot be changed.

The dictionary defines hope as “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” However, be careful about this, because if hope comes with strong expectation, it can actually be destructive. When we don’t acknowledge that hope for something is not a guarantee of its being realized, we set ourselves up for pain and disillusion. For example, we hope our children will be healthy…we hope our finances will be stable…we hope our love relationships will last forever. But what if our children become ill, or we are laid off at work, or our marriage fails? Our hopes instantly transform into disappointment, often leading to bitterness. Reeling from the impact of these crushing emotions, we’re prime targets for the opposite of hope – despair.

Wearing us down and clouding our perspective, despair holds us back from moving toward the happier places of acceptance and gratitude. When we despair, it’s impossible for us to see the gifts that actually come from not getting what we hoped for!

If you’ve ever experienced your hopes “crumble,” chances are you have learned to be careful about allowing yourself to hope. Perhaps you’ve found that making outside, external things or situations the center of your hopes is not worth the anguish of being let down. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up on hope altogether. Doing that would make you hopeless!

Consider this: a new way to hope. Focus your hopes on yourself instead of on things, people, and situations around you. You were born with the light of hope inside you. The truth is…it has never left. Maybe it’s been buried under mounds of sorrow about things you hoped for that didn’t come true. No matter what or whom you’ve lost – no matter what fact, crisis, or circumstance you think has stolen your hope, you only think you’re out of hope. You aren’t. There is an abundant, infinite source of hope that you can see if you’re willing to look for it. This is the unfailing force giving you the power to keep walking forward when all the chips are down, the ability to enjoy a hug from a friend or the smell of a rose during troubled times, and the strength to see future possibilities ahead instead of looking backward at the things you wish had been different. What you focus on grows in strength. Focus on the hope within – the hope for your potential to grow through anything and everything “life” hands you. In the strangest of ironies, the most painful things in our life can actually help us practice the most profoundly healing application of hope. What an awesome opportunity!

Remember that hope looks forward, and regret looks behind. To look ahead or back is your choice. Yours, and yours alone.

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Most of us talk – or write – a pretty good game, but where do you stand when it comes to matching what you say with what you do? The consistency between my words and behavior, or lack thereof, has been on my mind in the aftermath of a few recent, poignant experiences where insincere talk left me disappointed, disillusioned, and dismayed.

Meaningless, feel-good words flung glibly from mouths like gunfire; noble gestures made only for show; self-interest masquerading as virtue… This confusing duplicity surrounds us everyday! Consider the chart-topping singer/songwriter who croons about love, life, and peace, then makes the news ranting at the manager of a Hollywood club who can’t accommodate him with the best table in the house. Or the best-selling author who writes about successful relationship strategies, but meanwhile has been divorced twice and is still single. More than once I have put people on pedestals because of the ideas they seem to espouse, only to feel let down when I find out how they actually lead their lives.

A few tough questions might clarify how well your actions demonstrate what you profess to others. When you tell a friend or a business acquaintance you’ll “get back to him” in a couple days, how often do you actually follow through within two days, or even within a week or two? Or after accepting an invitation for a party that’s more than a few days away, how often do you wind up as a no-show when something better comes along in the meantime? Ever promise a good friend you’ll help her with some big task she’s working on, and then somehow “forget” you ever offered? The variations on this modus operandi are endless, but they all add up to one thing: lack of consistency and follow-through.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been as guilty as anyone of these type of misdemeanors. Another word for it is lying, if I want to cut through the denial and actually call this what it is. My aim here is not to provoke guilt (well, maybe a tiny bit of guilt might be in order) or point fingers, but to raise awareness of how often and easy it becomes to say things we don’t really mean.

Sometimes, making rash and thoughtless remarks or promises to others in the moment is a convenient panacea, bridging the gap of what otherwise might be filled with awkward, uncomfortable truth. Satisfying our immediate compulsion to people-please, we move on with little or no further consideration given to what we said. Later, we conveniently avoid having to put in the effort required to follow through, all the while patting ourselves on the back for being so diplomatic and smooth in our dealings with others.

The problem is, those suave statements turn into hurtful weapons unless we use them responsibly. If you are one of those who adhere to the Golden Rule, how can you justify this form of dishonesty? Have you ever been at the receiving end of this treatment, feeling disappointed because someone didn’t keep a promise? If you have, you are likely familiar with the pain of having others plant an expectation within you, then feeling hurt and disillusioned when no action follows. Resentment naturally rears its ugly head at this point, presenting another troubling emotion we are left to handle. What a mess! And a self-serving tactic for those who speak frivolously, because the resultant pain is felt by the recipient, not by the speaker.

The worst offenders are the ones who use careless words so often, they are not even consciously aware they are doing it! It has become an ingrained and comfortable habit. I would venture to guess these same people also make promises to themselves – such as vowing to stay on a diet, exercise more, spend less money, etc. – that are revered for a short time before being forgotten or abandoned. To be honest, my experience is that the people who actually say what they mean and mean what they say are far outnumbered by those who do not. It’s sad to think that perhaps this tendency is so prevalent in society, it is no longer regarded as the victimizing behavior that it is.

To make matters worse, the payoff from saying things we don’t mean reinforces our continuing to do so. After all, as humans we know that it’s generally easier to not take responsibility. And perhaps people around us, maybe even our parents, were talkers-not-doers, so we merely modeled this trait as “normal.”

Whatever the reason for it, being disingenuous is best addressed by examining ourselves, not others. It is far easier to complain about people that don’t act in accordance with their words, than to look closely at our own culpability in this regard. Obviously, becoming honest with ourselves about our own inconsistencies requires that we be willing, since facing our defects is humbling and somewhat painful. However, the aftereffect is priceless: a surge in our self-esteem, development of greater emotional maturity, and higher-quality, more honest relationships with others. A note of caution, though – the more sincere you try to be in your dealings with others, the greater will be your awareness of others who cannot or will not demonstrate this quality. You may even find yourself choosing to hang around a new group of more trustworthy friends and acquaintances.

As with any personal growth work we do, we always want to remember to praise ourselves for making attempts, and give ourselves credit for even small improvements.

As I stumble through this journey myself, falling now and again into the pit of escaping discomfort with meaningless niceties, I also learn to feel a bit more compassion for all the infuriating hypocrites I have to deal with.

Um. Guess I still have some work to do.