How we answer this question, is more vital than we think or have allowed ourselves to believe. It is also imperative to our health and well-being. When we think about success, we typically think about how much money we have in the bank, how padded our retirement will be. The degree of education we have, where we live, who were married to. Even the level of health we have. These things, though they do carry a certain level of importance. I don’t believe that they are actually the most vital measure of success.
Think about it, does money actually make us happy? It can, but only for a fleeting moment. For me personally, I know that there is a huge propensity to always want more and more of it. And I know that I can’t take it with me when I die. Further, money cannot truly provide a real sense of joy and inner happiness. Even with a ton of money it can still make a person completely miserable. Unless you have a sense of peace and joy that is beyond financial comfort.
The same goes even with education, you can be the educated most of human beings. But if your education causes you look down on others who are less educated. Has it really done that much for you? You can the highest levels of education, and in the quiet of your mind and soul still compare yourself against someone one else. In my life, I hold having a college degree as a big deal. Because I was told that I was never smart enough for it, and I had to fight my way to get there, as well as finish.
The things that deem as being a success, might actual be doing us more harm than good. Just look at people around us, most of us hate the jobs we have, most don’t feel like we have discovered any sort of real passion and passion. We’ve been fed so many lies about what success actually is.
You know what I’ve come to realize though? While none of the things that I mentioned above are bad. I have come to the understanding that, if I can go through out my day, knowing that I’ve helped someone, woke up and managed to control the thoughts that come in and out of my head. I’ve succeeded, its been a good day! Do I stop striving an aiming up? No, but sense I’ve taken on this new perspective on success in my own life. I’ve been able to breath a lot easier and go through my life with so much more joy and peace.
I woke up this morning with this question at the forefront of my attention:
Why Do I keep attracting the same kind of woman into my life?
It’s an honest question, and a life changing one at that. The same can be asked if you are a woman that just so happens to be reading this. You could easily ask yourself why you keep bringing the same kind of men into your life. Several years, an old friend of mine and myself, were having a beer after a bible study. Just the way I like it- beer and bible. Or bible and beer , however you want to say it.
Anyway, my friend asked me a very bold question, that actually pissed me off greatly in the moment. He asked Brandon, why do you keep attracting the same woman into your life over and over again? As first I was so blindsided and confused by the question, I took another sip of my beer, set it down still holding it and asked: what are you getting at? He looked at me and said:
“Bro, you keep attracting all these women that have all sorts of problems, their not actually healthy for you.” Again I felt anger rise within me, I looked at my friend and said “bro, doesn’t everyone have problems and baggage? “ Well yes he replied, but maybe you could find someone that had a lot less problems and was on a healthy path in life.”
I can understand if you’re offended after reading that, after all I was too. But do you know why I was so offended? Because my friend was right, and he was willing to offend me in the name of me seeing truth. With my last few relationship’s, they have either had commitment issues or were honestly unstable in some ways. I don’t mean this to come across in a degrading way, I only want to communicate truth. And to be fair, some of the past women I’ve dated could say a thing or two about me.
And yet, when I truly began to ponder this question, I only could look back at myself. Because taking ownership of our lives, starts with the self. Realizing our pit falls and where we can improve. I began to see that it some way or another, I was attracting what already existed inside of me. I had a lot of inward battles going on, mental struggles and so on. And so naturally when you’re not as a healthy as you ought to be, you migrate to what is most comfortable to you.
On another level, there lies a savior complex where I want to help others with their problems and become more whole and happier. The only problem with that is, is that we can hope to “fix” someone to the point of forgetting to fix ourselves. That is the most unhealthy of options, it’s as they said proverbs, like a dog that returns to his vomit.
If I desire to be a healthy person, I also believe that you want to be healthy person as well. What does healthy actually look like? For me, it means being less hindered by the past, dwelling on it less and less and leaving it where it belongs. This is something that I have to continually work on, though I’m not as bad as I once was. It always means having better control over my mental health and even emotions, in my own life I have been of anti-anxiety and depression meds for a long time. I’ve been learning to get a handle on my anxiety and or depression by getting down to the root cause. Moreover, I am learning to pray, and lay all my fears, worries and insecurities at the feet of God. This is not to say that I’m somehow arrived at the end of my progress, no in fact I have a long way to go. But I am nowhere near who I once used to be. That to me is a healthy person, one that’s moving towards who they were meant to be. And in terms of having another relationships, in the long term sense. I want someone who is at peace with herself in her own skin, isn’t attacked by insecurity or triggered by the little things.
I want someone that can handle their emotions, now I’m sure that your thinking “That’s not possible!” All I’m saying is that, I want to be with someone that even though their having a bad day. They can still vent about their day, and I can be there to listen and give my thoughts if needed and snuggle up after. Is that a lot to ask for?
Obviously, I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, but I’m not going to settle either. I’m going to keep working on myself and for once in my life I’m going to allow myself to be picky. You do the same, work on yourself. Improve yourself. This way the cycle can be broken and we can actually discover what healthy actually is.
Here’s the deal. No man or woman can fulfill us. I know it sucks to hear, but love delights in truth. For me, I know that this hard truth needed to be beat into my entire person all over again. Is it wrong to want a relationship? And a healthy one at? Of course not, God created us for that.
In my prior blog entry, I spoke about my frustration with the current standing of the so called “Alpha Males”. The more I listened and read to what many of them had to say, I quickly noticed that many of them were simple pick up artists. And sadly I found myself buying into this crap.
I then wanted to go out and see how many women I could pick up, by saying all the right things etc. And then it hit me… Wow that’s really, really shallow and frankly cheap. Because all the cheap thrill really leads to nothing of substance.
I don’t think there is anything wrong to long for someone be with, to long for healthy communication affection, marriage and so on. But as a follower of Christ, I/we should know that no one could possibly love us as madly as Christ does.
I also confess, that at times I have driven myself crazy trying to find a mate. Which again, isn’t wrong. But it is wrong to lose yourself in it. Without looking more at the one that loves us the most. Which is Jesus Christ.
Our love in turn becomes misplaced, we take the love from a person and put above the love of God. Which in many ways can cripple the mind and soul. Scripture tells us to seek first his kingdom, this really just means to seek God first. Let him fill us up first.
Now, I don’t believe that because we seek God first, that it then means a mate will fall into our laps or living room couches. I still think that we ought to keep our hearts, eyes and minds open. The same way that if we our hungry, we have the ability to get up and go get food.
When we seek first his kingdom, we re-order our hearts, our thinking is clearer, we are more at peace and we are more ready to love as Christ loves us. So, today if you find yourself in the same boat as me. I implore you to seek God boldly and confidently without condemnation. As him to reorder your heart. And he will. Its so worth it!
Anyone that has been following my entries for the last few weeks, might notice that I talk about being “Alpha” and reclaiming a sense of manhood. And for me that not only is for myself, but for others like myself that have cerebral palsy or other disabilities. I believe it to be a vital component, that men with cerebral palsy know and understand who they are, that they can be confident and have a deep sense of grounded masculinity. Even if in spite of not being able to accomplish certain “manly tasks” due to certain physical limitations. To be frank, I believe that the church has failed in this way, because they unknowingly focus on the abled-bodied men while sub-consciously passing over those who are disabled.
I don’t think that Churches do this purposely, but rather they just don’t think about the reality that life just might be different for some other men. Hell, most churches don’t even have distinct ministries for the special needs community. Though, this blog is not to rag on the short comings of the church, but rather to call to attention of the state of “Alpha Men”. To be honest, I’m not really pleased. Most of them seem truly into themselves and only want to put others down. Which isn’t what an alpha male actual does. Why? Because they are secure within themselves that they don’t have to do that. They may firmly disagree with ones take on an issue, but they don’t purposely set out to go put someone else down because it makes them feel better.
Most of the alpha males that I see on the internet, seem to be hell bent on making fun of people that believe in God or subscribe to a religious world view. Which really is no better the new-atheist crusade that emerged several years ago. Again, if claim to be alpha, why seek out to make fun of someone? Why not confidently disagree without being so self-righteous?
Another problem that I have with some alpha males, is the fact that some of them just want short term relationships with women, only to move on to the next. Not me, nope. The most alpha thing a man can do at times is to commit to the right woman. No matter how hard things got. Furthermore, most alpha males are so focused on the physical attraction of a woman, that they put that over the mental-emotional and spiritual aspects of a woman. In my life currently, yes I do want to be with someone I am attracted to. Yet what’s more important for me anyway, is seeing if the woman that I potential want to be with. Is in fact secure in her emotional-mental and spiritual components of her life. Because that will carry over far above anything physical, though I do believe that the physical is an important component as well.
I think there’s room for a new way of A.M. to emerge or at least reforming what an A.M. actually is.. That’ll come in part 2 though!
Isn’t it weird? I have a four year degree in psychology and never took the time to read about the life of William James. The founder of American Psychology. Now what I read about him was a small snippet from the book by Mark Mans: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A #@%! . Again what I read was really brief, but man was powerful and God only knew that it was I needed to read at the given moment.
I never knew that he had so many health problems, such a stomach, vision and back problems. Or more precisely back spasms, that could take a lot out of him. Much like myself. He was born into a wealthy family, had a very successful brother and sister.
I also didn’t know that he at one point of his life spent so much time at home, doing the one thing that he really enjoyed doing. Painting. His father on the other hand, was not very keen on the fact that his son wanted to be an artist. He wanted his son to be successful like his brother and sister and make lots of money. Which isn’t wrong.
However, the pressure and disconnect that William experienced with his father, sent him into long periods of depression. One can only imagine would that must be like, on top of having severe health issues. I could see that even through this small introduction to his life, that he wrestled with shame over his life. It got to the point where he even ran away from his home, for several months. Only driving the wedge further between his father.
William James in spite of all his tribulation, did indeed go onto be very, very successful as his father wanted. It just wasn’t in the way, nor time line that his father desired. Which I think is key for people to wrap their minds around, especially in this society that we live in. Another area of Williams life that stood out to me as well, was that he felt trapped in his circumstances, as though there was no escape for him.
So, he gave himself a years time line, and in that year if his life did not improve at all. Then he would know he was truly powerless over his circumstances. And thus, the only option he would have left would be to end his life. Again, his life did improve.
William James was like me, in his thirties and spend a lot of his time at home. And sometimes I feel like my life cannot get better. And yes, I too have dealt and wrestled with much of the same darkness as he did. And there’s many days in my own life, where the negative self talk runs wild in mind.
What I believe that William James teaches us (once again) as that if we as humans, are wiling to slowly get moving in a forward motion. Life will in fact get better. It may not happen in the time frame that we desire, but it can happen. whatever that is for you. For me, it’s becoming more independent. Which has been a slow process, most of which has been my fault. On the other hand, I think that, this could be all apart of Gods plan at least in some sense. I don’t really know.
What I do know, is that life can get better. If we not only believe it- but put our heads down and move forward. Forgetting about what lies behind.
No one likes to come to realization that they need to improve in life, it’s almost like we are being exposed somehow. Or that people can see something about us that we can’t see ourselves. And even though this feeling is not very comfortable. I find that it is all the more important and needed, that we feel that ever intrusive feeling.
For me, I have come to the realization, that I am not always grounded in my masculinity. I notice that sometimes I just let people walk on me, I don’t do the best with being a masculine man and stand up for myself.
Because I’m afraid to rock the boat, afraid to say what I really think. And as such, I allow to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others to rule. This needs to change. Realizing that I have areas of my life that need work, it’s a good thing and even a blessing.
There’s no need to be discouraged about having areas in ones life where change is needed, just commit to the process of doing the work every single day. Whatever it is, if its weight loss, do the work. If its gaining muscle, do the work, if its being more confident and assertive- do the work!
It might not happen in the time frame that you or I want it to, but never stop doing the work. It doesn’t matter if you fall on your face in the process. You do a burpee and get back up. Don’t fall for the lies of victimhood or that you have to hurry to get things done.
I think what can tie me up the most, is that I sometimes see my life like an hour glass. All the sand quickly running out. Now, it is true the time is running out on all our lives. But to think that that we have to hurry up and get things done, in the name of “missing out on something” can be a bit of a trap.
Again, yes we should work to get things accomplished but more over. We should realize that this our own journey, and if it takes some of us longer, so what? At least your trying, fighting and succeeding to the best of your ability everyday.
I think that if there was one thing I’d change about myself, it would be how reactive that I am to pain. What I mean is that, when something of adversity comes my first protective measure is to lash out or rather do things without thinking. Or I don’t specifically think of the consequences before doing certain things.
Over the last few months, I’ve become a fan of stoicism. Mainly in how it teaches one to sit with thoughts and emotions, noticing them and sometimes not even doing anything about them. Because well emotions, they aren’t something solid that can always be trusted in. Our emotions can often let us down and leaving us feeling and looking stupid in the end.
Detaching from emotions- or rather not giving ear to every emotion that comes to us. I don’t think that means that we allow ourselves to become emotionally constipated per-say. Some emotions are worth paying attention to, on the other hand if we allow ourselves the always open window of emotion. We then become a slave and emotion is our master.
There’s time in life where one must turn off emotion and do what needs to be done. A simple example is this, let’s say you wake up pissed off for reasons you don’t even know. Are you going to let that get in the way of your work day? Or, let’s say your boss pisses you off so much, are you then going to focus on how much you dislike them? Or are you going to focus on the task at hand?
Now, perhaps there’s issues with your boss that need to be handled, maybe even finding a new job. But what happens we you lose control, and you unload on your boss? Now you can probably kiss your job good bye.
And with them, most of us then think “why in the hell did I just do that?” Then you feel like #### after.
So, sit with your emotions, decide which emotions are worth paying attention to and what ones are worthy of dismissal. For as a person of faith, I am not ruled by any one thing but have the mind of Christ.