You’re Nobody’s Fool: Realistic Optimism

can or cant you're rightIn a culture whose mantra has become, “what you believe, you conceive”, we could use a cold bucket of reality to wake us up every once in a while. While I tend to look on the bright side of things, I wouldn’t consider myself an optimist.  Quite frankly, I think these definitions are too oversimplified to be helpful.

I think we can all agree that being a “Debby or Dan Downer” with things in life can be just as bad as expecting to shit out rainbows for breakfast everyday. Total realism, on the other hand, is like a dry piece toast; edible but not enjoyable. Extremes in any form are not healthy, no matter which way you slice it.

I like to think of myself as a Realistic Optimist which I define as, someone who goes into a situation filled with the hope of a good outcome, but who is realistic enough to know when enough evidence to the contrary says it is is time to walk away.

So, I find promoting the idea that “what we believe we can make true” without any caveatsOptimist-Pessimist-Realist-Quote is both irresponsible and untrue.  For example, no matter how much we may believe and conjure up all our will power, hope, and commitment towards changing someone, we cannot make an individual do something they don’t want to do.  We cannot make them change.  We cannot make someone care. We cannot force love. None of these things are possible through the power of thought.

You don’t need to put up with someone’s crap just because you want to show how positive you are. Or how kind you are. Or how loving. Here’s another newsflash, they are not going to change for you. They are an asshole despite you. You sticking around will only wear you out. It will not cause them to change.

I promise you that they will not wake up one day and say, WOW!! Because she’s/he’s stuck around all this time while I’ve busted up every boundary she/he has, taken all my shenanigans in stride, and given her/himself up for me, I’m TOTALLY READY TO SUDDENLY BECOME (WO)MAN OF HER/HIS DREAMS NOW.

Bengen_optimist_pessimist_realist
Translation: (L-R) My glass is half full. My glass is half empty. My glass is half past eight 🙂 Good German Humor..

It is fine to give someone chances, but have a time limit in mind.  Showing yourself less love will not make someone change unless you want that someone to be YOU. You have not been put on this earth to martyr yourself.  You don’t have to stay in a place that sucks. You can do better. It may not feel like it at first, but being alone is better than having your soul sucked out by someone else who means you and the relationship no good.

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

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Being A Christian Does Not Make You Moral

hessianwithteeth

As I have said in a previous post, we get a lot of comments about how we can’t be moral because we are atheists. So let’s discuss what makes a person moral.

To be clear, neither Withteeth or I would say that we are moral because we are atheists. We are moral for other reasons. To be moral requires more than a set of beliefs: it requires actions as well. Withteeth and I have thought deeply about our moral convictions, and we have gone out of our way to act on those convictions. Anyone who wishes to argue that we are not moral is either willfully ignoring what we have done that makes us moral, or they are under the impression that to be moral you merely have to hold a particular set of beliefs. I believe that most of those who comment on our blog are of the second…

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Empty promises, dangling carrots, and other forms of general assholery

empty-promisesI have been thinking a lot about people who promise you that they will change but keep stringing you along instead. This can be profoundly painful in romantic relationships.  While we as women love to talk a lot as a way to work through things, we sometimes end up with assclowns who talk up a storm too and never deliver.  One of the major differences between men and women is that men don’t talk  endlessly about what they are going to do. They just do it. When a man wants something, he goes and gets it.  If he says he’s going to make it right, he makes it right.

If you want to know the character of a man look at his ACTIONS. 

For example, if the two of you are still talking about the same issues months down the road that he promised to fix months ago and nothing has been resolved, there’s a bigger problem than you realize. You may be with the dreaded man-who-talks-too-much-and-doesn’t-follow-through. Are you at the point where you are exhausted trying to verbally communicate?  Maybe you can’t understand why he can’t understand. Maybe you’re even screaming at the top of your lungs thinking he’ll hear you better, or keeping yourself up late at night in pointless arguments until you’re too exhausted to speak, or taking some space to recuperate hoping he’ll start to value you more, etc., It’s all just a version of waiting and hoping he’ll give enough of a shit to suddenly turn into a caring, loving man and stop the nonsense.

To quote the great Natalie Lue in her article Even if They’ve Changed it Doesn’t Matter. You’ve Changed Too,

Stop the madness. This isn’t what ‘love’ feels or looks like. They’re just not that special and you’re not that desperate. Love involves a lot of ‘doing’ and without actions that reflect the love, it’s like being cloaked in hot air. Even if they do move on to someone else, this is not how you want love – trying to use an emotional battering ram to squeeze effort out of them that others do willingly.

That last line reallymean what you promise hits me.  “Trying to use an emotional battering ram to squeeze effort out of them that others do willingly“.

I mean if a man says he wants something, he’ll do it. Period. If he tells you, I’ll change this or that. He’ll change it if he values and respects you and doesn’t want to lose you. End of story.  If he doesn’t make good, then you have to value and respect yourself enough to call it quits and walk away.

If you stay when he doesn’t deliver and listen to the excuses and empty promises from men who talk too much, and don’t do enough, then you teach them that their shady behavior and half-assed efforts are good enough to keep you in place. They don’t have to change. They will do the bare minimum to keep you around.  An apology here and there. A promise of a bright future. Offer something they can do in lieu of what you want in order to keep you in a holding pattern.  It’s manipulation.  They hope you’ll think to yourself, “well he did do this nice thing, maybe he’s not that bad.”  Maybe I should hang in a little longer, give him another chance, find a new excuse for him. It also has the nice additional benefit of  ensuring that he keeps you off the market and all to himself. Of course this solidifies his position of bare minimum behavior, because you’re not going anywhere.

All you’re doing is compromising your own happiness by letting him get away with general assholery. Funny how you’re willing to make sacrifices for him that he’s not willing to make for you. 

good intentions vs characterYou deserve to be with a man who wants to do for you and DOES what he SAYS he’ll do.  Words must match actions.  Always look at the ACTIONS of a man. Even if there are NO WORDS. You deserve a man who will appreciate your giving, loving, caring nature.  But you are wasting your time if you’re trying to turn a cockroach into a prince. Let go of the fairytale and go find yourself the real deal.  Remember as the 90’s taught us ladies, you’re not an exception to any rule. He will not suddenly become a better person and your happiness shouldn’t depend on him being someone else. Go find someone else that actually has the characteristics you want.  A good man will have the character of someone who doesn’t play games or talk your ear off with empty promises. He’ll show up right and he wouldn’t risk doing anything that might make you leave. It’s WHO HE IS not who you hope he’ll become.

If he’s not that into you, I guarantee there is someone out there who is.  Release the beast that you’re with and free yourself up to meet your prince. Because if you stick around waiting for change, the only thing that’s going to change is your own self-esteem as you sink lower into a pit of despair and self-hate. You are fabulous and you deserve to be with someone who treats you like he thinks so too.

 

What do you think?

 

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

 

Write a Love Letter to Yourself: (HINT: The waiting is over ;)

Dear Self,

Please hug yourself more. Accept the beautiful person you are. Please love yourself and nurture your soul.  There will never be another you and another version will never do. Just be YOU.

Do you know that you have a smile that reminds people that joylove letters to myself still exists in this world? When you laugh the child in you comes out to play. Protect her and check-in often. She’ll keep you true to yourself.

Please make choices that honor yourself beyond all else. It’s ok to be lost sometimes.  But if you want to know your purpose when times get hard or confusing —  remember it is what drives you, not just what you can do. Please also remember that no matter what, the love you have for yourself is the most important kind of love there is. Just look inside and you will find the right answer waiting for you.

You are both bright and compassionate. You can trust your heart and mind. Never let anyone try to convince you otherwise. It hasn’t always been easy for you and you are allowed to admit that too. Pat yourself on the back more often, because no matter how down and out, you’ve always made it through.

You have a resiliency that keeps you bouncing back long after others would have laid down for the count.  You are a true champion because you’ve learned what’s worth fighting for and what’s not worth the effort anymore. Never be afraid to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.  Never silence your voice –especially in the face of violence or exploitation.

You are beautiful inside and out. Stay true to who you are. People say you look younger than your age. Somehow, despite all that tough times, you’ve managed to hold on to hope and see the glass half full. You don’t act your age either. What a wonderful thing that is to still believe in magic. Remember what you truly believe always shows through. Your face will always tell the story of YOU.

As you go through life, remember to forgive – yourself and others. You will have to do it often, so develop that skill early and thoroughly.  When you feel like judging yourself or others, just stop. It doesn’t serve you or anyone else.  Try instead to understand others perspectives.

With all that you have learned and everything you are thus far not to mention the places you’ll venture off to, there is no doubt in my heart that you will find all of the true loves you are destined for.  Just keep being YOU and loving the heck out of yourself.

Love,

Myself

— with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Have You Settled for Less Yet?

yoloDo we all reach a point in our lives where even the most rebellious among us finds themselves settling? Have your dreams started to feel like old wrinkled black and white pictures of days gone by?  Do you even remember having a dream?

Is it that we reach a point in our lives in which we boil down to the bones what’s most important to us and go for that minimum? OR — are we settling for less because we are no longer willing to wait for our dreams to come true?

I talk to a lot of people who have found themselves still working in a job 10-15 years later that they said was temporary.  They were going to light the world on fire with their ideas.  They weren’t gonna get caught up in it all.  They were going to show us all how to live. We wanted to be them.  Maybe we were them.

How about the women who have given up on meeting Mr. Right and have opted for Mr. Good Enough because at least she knows he’s real.  It’s not passionate and everything you’ve dreamed, but it’s not lonely either.

And then, I think of all the things most of us put off until (the) tomorrow (that never comes), and it feels like we take for granted the time we have and the people in our lives.  Suddenly, one day you wake up (usually about the time you notice you’re really unhappy with your life) and realize that you’re entrenched so deeply in the life you HAVE created, that the life we wanted has already passed you by. Remember, those were those “crazy” choices that you talked yourself out of because it “wasn’t practical.”

As time goes on, we start to rationalize things, especially our lives.  We tell ourselves it isn’t that bad. We have to make sense out of where we “ended up”, right? How many of us have just moved the goal post and tried to be happy about it? Or maybe you openly admit that you’ve settled, because the alternative is trying to rebuild something better from scratch.  Right now at least you’re living some kind of successful life.  And maybe that has be good enough.  Whether it is or it isn’t…

Because honestly, at this point what would motivate you to bother doing better?

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉