Healthy Relationships: Conversing about Ultimatums (because #metoo)

There is so much good going on lately, with #metoo storming social media and providing a succinct way to show solidarity as well as start a conversation and show the need for change.

As a facet of that movement, I want to urge parents to tell your daughters (ok, and your sons) that anyone they might date who tells them ‘do this, or else I will break up with you’ needs to break up with that person On The Spot. No second chances. Relationships based on ultimatums are unhealthy. Let your young women know that no relationship is worth going against their values. Having a relationship doesn’t transform you into a worthwhile human: you have always been so very worthy of good and you always will be.

I want to urge parents of boys as well (ok, boys and girls), please tell your sons to avoid Ever issuing an ultimatum to anyone. Saying ‘do this or else’ is to try to force someone to bend to your will and that is so inappropriate no matter what context, but especially in a relationship. If you are unhappy with the way dating is going and you have tried mature ways of working it out (you may have to ask an adult to give you mature ideas, that is a good and normal thing to do!), then break up. You can respect a person’s limits by breaking up, but not by threatening to break up. Honestly, you’ll find another relationship. If you hold out for one in which you know that your non-negotiables will be met, then you will be able to work through the challenges together.

I know deep in my bones this is a vital conversation to have.

When one person grows up socialized to think they hold all the power, they wield power. Relationships are not about wielding power; they are about communication, staying true to yourself, and respecting the other person’s limits. They’re about a million things, really, but in a healthy relationship all of those things are kind and good.

 

I’m feeling good about parents and mentors nurturing respect through this conversation.

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One Voice in a Million: You Ain’t Takin’ That From Me!

Love this song: Natasha Bedingfield ‘Strip Me’. About finding a voice and nourishing it.

Today I’m sharing with you that I struggle with this feeling sometimes; I’m just one small voice and what can I change?

But I stand up for my one voice, and look to inspiring examples of people whose one voice, whose insistence, whose decisions change things for others. This video from ‘Clevver News’ mentions that Emma Watson in the live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ film coming out March 17 of this year is interpreting her ‘Belle’as being an active princess. Belle is that way in the cartoon version as well; active. She’s shown running through fields, riding her horse, exploring a castle, evading wolves in the forest, and saving her father. She inspired me growing up. I can’t tell you how many fields I’ve run through, sometimes with the song from the movie in my mind! “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell!”

The video states that she didn’t want to wear a corset, and that her Belle will be wearing boots rather than the ballet flats worn by the cartoon version. I love that. I’ve always been a boot-wearing girl, ever since I was little. They are just more comfortable for me. While I didn’t perceive the cartoon Belle as wearing a corset, I think it’s an important decision in the live-action film to encourage women and girls to be healthy, not just to cave to expectations. A lot of fantasy films show women in corsets, which influences our culture toward ‘beauty over comfort’ rather than the healthy reverse, comfort over beauty. As well, people who participate in cosplay (or, dressing in costumes worn by particular characters from media) will have a healthier model to emulate.

Natasha Bedingfield’s song likewise asks ‘who am I if you strip away all the outside stuff’ (referencing fashion and makeup through the visuals of the video), and it’s an important question to ask ourselves. It’s crucial to our happiness (as well as to women’s rights) to seek our inner selves and know who we are without all the ‘dressing up.’ It’s vital to be ‘ok,’ as the songwriter asserts she is, without all the trappings.

I think everyone’s ability to choose who they are and how to express themselves is a treasure. Value your own treasure, make the choices that validate you as a person and support your own values.

If I’m too afraid to make a different choice than the popular choice, then I’m not changing anything. However if I make my own choice regardless of what other people are doing or saying is ‘the thing’, then I have power to be me today.

You ain’t takin’ that from me! (and neither am I.)

Dispelling Self-Doubt, Disrupting the myth of ‘other’

I’d like for you to watch this Tara Brach talk:

Healing Self-Doubt

What I take from her talk at this moment is that we have find a new way to think, to heal from thinking of men and people who disagree with us as being ‘other’. Because, they are human. When we can all hear each other, we can bring peace into situations. Relentless effort, unfathomable peace. It takes commitment to bring about peace and it takes acknowledging humanity in everyone.

Fear engenders only fear. And the extreme manifestation of fear is hate. We are more powerful than that today, and more humble. It is a sad conceit to believe that one is truly better than others. I intend to be humble today, and stronger because of it. I challenge you to put away your anger, fear, or whatever is tying you to the belief of there being ‘others’ today. We are all human, at our deepest levels.

Look into each other’s eyes. Drop the walls in your heart. Walls there only make us more vulnerable anyway, and we are as a movement committed to showing we are strong.

Please listen to the talk at the link I posted. It will begin to heal you if you let it. It’s helping me.

Don’t think about positivity…

You know that thing people say, ‘don’t think of a monkey’ and then they love to see how you can’t help but think only of a monkey?

What we focus on expands until it fills our awareness.

That’s why I choose to focus on positive thoughts, including positive thoughts about feminism. If I were to focus constantly on what’s being done wrong without offering a positive solution to focus on, what’s wrong couldn’t help but be perpetuated. When a person has nothing to replace old behavior with, they continue old behavior.

I don’t have all the answers. Nope. I know people wish to get all the answers from one place, or find a magic solution that solves all their problems. But the reality of life is that it takes persistent work to effect good change in the world. Small changes successfully implemented in one’s own life can make a bigger change than publicized revolutions that ultimately miss their mark.

Indulging in negativity makes me feel negatively, so I avoid it. I avoid sarcasm, because it makes me feel sad and states what I consider to be a lie in a way that could sound like truth if it isn’t recognized as sarcasm. So I worked really hard to learn to say things in a positive way and I continue to work to speak so. It’s important to me and when I do it well it absolutely transforms my interactions with others.

I believe goodness practiced softens rough edges. I believe people find it easier to listen when trust is there and truths are spoken calmly. Firmly, and calmly. I believe in backing up fellow women when they speak their truth, saying ‘I know what you’re talking about, that’s how I feel about it, too,’ to counteract the common discounting of women’s experience. And even when we disagree I believe in listening and showing respect.

I was taught that all people are equal, inherently. All people deserve the same amount of respect as one another. Some folks relinquish their sense of honor by their behavior and they still deserve basic human respect, even if not the sort of honor given someone who has earned it with positive actions.

I’m feeling good about focusing on the positive.

See Your Awesome

I just read a beautiful article I would love to share with you:

http://www.livingandlifedesigned.com/help-children-build-body-confidence-struggle/

Written by a mother of three, she addresses how to help children build a positive body image. As with most things, it starts from within. After reading the article, what positive heart characteristics can you list about yourself?

5 things I know are good about me:

Creative, Resilient, Compassionate, Considerate, Intelligent