Radical Honesty & Relationships

Savvy Sunday Salutations

Welcome to another week with guest blogger Patrick Tulley; last week Patrick talked about Empathy and the week before he discussed Relationships, Friendship & Attraction; this week Patrick takes these thoughts one step forward and talks about how honesty works and should work within a relationship.  I too believe honesty is the best policy, I hope you find this enlightening and should you have any thoughts or want to share your own insights please do so.  Enjoy!

(As always there is a pdf document at the bottom of the post for those who may find this a difficult read.)

RADICAL HONESTY & RELATIONSHIPS

I’ve talked a lot about the subject of self awareness and in particular how that can affect our relationships. This week I want to look at what constitutes a healthy relationship. Where are the pitfalls we face in nurturing longer lasting and more pleasurable relationships in our lives. Does it lie within radical honesty? Well let’s see and I’ll let your relationships be the best judge of that.

Honesty is often seen as a virtue in today’s world and certainly there are aspects to honesty that can be virtuous, but honesty at all costs? Really? I ask this because I think we can all agree that if some guy was looking to murder your wife, would it be wrong to send him in the wrong direction? I think not. So honesty can come with a cost. We have an expression known as a ‘white lie’. This is often used as a way to rationalise being dishonest at times. For instance I recall being accused of skipping school along with a fellow pupil once. This was true in my case, but when asked to admit to the misdemeanour, I took the opportunity of lying and said that I had been unwell and been in bed all day. The other pupil burst into tears and admitted to it. It was he that got six strokes of the cane that day and not me. Since my father worked long hours and my mother was staying with a friend that week, I knew there was little chance of me being found out. Sure, I took a risk my father would be angry that I never told him, but then again my father only usually gave me three beatings and not six. As it turned out, the school never challenged my account and I never heard anything more about it. As far as my dishonesty goes that day, I have no problem with my lying. What gave those teachers the right to beat me with a cane is beyond me frankly. We don’t beat our employees after they take a day off work without informing us. We have more civilised ways of dealing with such a situation. However, I certainly sympathise with the other poor lad for sure, regrettably for him he didn’t have such a good cover story as mine.

Copyright - Leo Sevigny

Copyright - Leo Sevigny

So when do we consider honesty as a virtue then? Of course we should apply honesty in our working life if we are to maintain a good reputation and not jeopardise our future careers. However, more importantly it applies to those we hold in high regard, such as our family or friends and in particular our partners and children. But this is perhaps where we often find honesty the hardest, within our personal relationships. Telling the closest people in our lives how we really feel about them is sometimes really hard. In fact, very often the thought of expressing our honest feelings to them can be very frightening. This can also be true of our working relationships as well. Some people find it enormously difficult to express a preference or criticise constructively a situation that happens to them at work. This has the negative effect of them not usually ever progressing much in their careers and stagnating in a job they end up despising, but often terrified they will lose. Honesty is not just about telling the truth, it’s about taking control of our lives and being confident about improving it. Regardless of the small decline in divorce rates in recent years, the figures still mean that around 125,000 couples divorce each year in the UK alone. These are the relationships that have been pushed to their absolute limits of course. I can safely say without much uncertainty there is a significantly higher figure that are experiencing marital difficulties that will likely just plod along with their marriage in quiet desperation. Unable to let go of their marriage, but equally unable or unwilling to resolve it either.

Without honesty within our personal relationships, they are unlikely to survive. Honesty is the very bedrock that holds them together. Without it, we lose our trust, faith and respect in each other. These may sound grandiose ingredients to some people of course, but they are actually vital for healthy relationships in general. Of course relationships come in tiers, insofar as some are on different levels, dependent on the amount of intimacy we share. We could split them up in this way perhaps.

  1. Partner & Children*
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Working relationships
  5. Acquaintances
  6. Strangers

*Children can and should take precedence over a poor relationship with your partner, given that that they are more vulnerable of course.

Now some of you may argue that friends might be as important or even more so than family. But I would strongly urge you to check your reasons for that. If it’s because you feel you can trust your friends more than your family, then you have a problem straight away. Why don’t you trust your family? This is particularly marked when you believe you can trust a friend more than your husband for instance. If this is true for you, then I would suggest something needs to be done in terms of honesty if you want to mend those relationships. In theory families, partners and our children are probably the most important relationships we will ever have in our lives. After all they are the people we spend most time with than any other. I’m not necessarily meaning extended family here, but certainly parents and siblings I think we can consider as family within these terms.  Some of you may feel, ‘no way!’ and perhaps for good reason. Like I said before, honesty at all costs? If you know a family member or partner not to be trusted, then fine, that is not for me to question. However, where I would question you would be if you still had these people in your life. To what end do you consider them worthy of your time and effort? In many ways it is the lack of honesty from both parties that cause many a petty or deep seated resentment amongst them. Telling your partner or a family member how you feel about them and how you would prefer to feel about them is a stepping stone towards resolving any disputes you may both have. Of course this needs to be reciprocated in turn and you may have to face some important criticism yourself. Likewise if they don’t respond favourably towards you expressing your feelings then you may need to make a difficult decision with them in the long term. Honesty cuts two ways of course and if one party is unwilling then it is hardly the responsibility of the person trying to make amends to accept the status quo and remain within the relationship.

I think it’s well worth considering of course, that dependent on where you place a person in terms of intimacy largely dictates the amount of honesty you might give them. For instance if you know a work colleagues partner is having an affair, it probably won’t help you if you tell them. Chances are they probably know and won’t thank you for pointing it out to them. Or if they don’t know you could be faced with taking the flak for their diverted rage with their partner, which will face you with a fresh set of challenges at work, which you could have avoided. However, if a close friend’s wife was having an affair then I think you should be able to tell them. If they react negatively towards you, then you kind of know that you misplaced the importance you gave that relationship in the first place. If we are unable to be criticised constructively by our friends, then how do we learn about ourselves better. A great friend is one who is willing to say, ‘hey man, have you noticed this about yourself, what do you think?’ Often it is the advice of a good friend that may have headed off some difficulties you may have faced in future. The degree of honesty you apply to your relationships is the degree to which you value them and consider yourself objectively as valued back. Some values you may share with acquaintances as with all your relationships. But because those relationships are of lesser importance to us, we don’t need to start exploring for the differences necessarily.

Is this a radical way to approach our relationships? Perhaps so, but compared to the mess that dishonesty can bring us within our closest relationships, at its worst divorce even, I think it’s well worth considering. A book by Stefan Molyneux that I read some years ago which faced me with these new challenges called Real-Time Relationships is where I would first recommend studying this approach to your relationships. It is available as a free PDF or can be bought as a paperback if you click the picture cover below. Of course one of the first relationships you have, which I failed to mention, is with yourself, which this book will explore in detail with you. Being honest with ourselves is probably the one person we should never consider as unworthy of honesty. As to do so will merely be reflected in the friendships we keep. As always the very best of luck to you.

Real-Time Relationships - Stefan Molyneux

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Copyright © Patrick Tulley 2011 – All Rights Reserved.

Thoughts and comments are encouraged as always.

Pdf document:  Radical Honesty & Relationships

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PATRICK TULLEY: PHILOSOPHER, AMATEUR WRITER

My name is Patrick Tulley. I am primarily a philosopher and an amateur writer but also have been a painter and sculptor in the past.  My background has been quite varied, as I have lived abroad on and off during my 20′s, been in a number of different professions throughout my life. More recently, I have been working as a private consultant within the public sector.

Since philosophy is my preferred interest; it is always something I rigorously apply to all my thinking and writing. Whilst I am knowledgeable about abstract philosophy, I am not particularly interested in taking that route.  Philosophy is about the search for truth, it was always meant to be understandable by everyday people -this does not mean dumbing down the ideas of course.  It just means I do not allow myself to get sidetracked by too many inconsequential arguments, often referred to as lifeboat scenarios.  I tend towards the more Aristotelian and Socratic methods of philosophy, but I also have interests in Hume, Nietzsche and Rand.  Philosophy has been a wonderful and fulfilling part of my life; it’s often been a very misunderstood subject -which I hope to discuss in future posts.  I also enjoy reviewing art, literature, music and passing comments on culture, news and personal experiences that I have found both interesting and enlightening.  I do not have a particular interest in politics –however; I may discuss my reasons with you sporadically throughout this blog.  Overall, this is hoped to be a journal about a philosophical life.  I hope you will enjoy my outlook on things and look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts along the way. I would also like to thank Ozlem for giving me this opportunity to have a voice on her blog.

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Disclaimer; whilst we (guest bloggers and I) do not set about to intentionally upset visitors to the site; I understand some of the topics discussed/raised may touch nerves.  Please note I will do my utmost to screen these posts before I post them however; I do believe in freedom of speech and I would hate to limit someone because they think differently to me or have different values from mine.  Therefore, I urge you to have some understanding and an open mind before jumping in and causing a scene without it being constructive.  Like I said, Patrick and I do have difference of opinions and on most cases we agree to disagree but at the same time we also respect the others’ thoughts and views -after all we do live in a civilized world; with this in mind I hope we will have more cultivated and engaging discussions.  One last note to all:  Here on yikici I have aimed to keep posts and discussions clean; I am not a fan of words that are disrespectful and disparaging therefore, I will not condone its’ use here on yikici; I do hope you share my views on this –if not, at least can respect them.

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Thoughts and comments are encouraged as always.

Pdf document:  Radical Honesty & Relationships

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~ by Patrick Tulley on July 24, 2011.

20 Responses to “Radical Honesty & Relationships”

  1. Thank you very much Patrick for taking a swing at what is a very broad and tough topic to tackle in the first place. Just wanted your thoughts here on my impressions as I was reading your article:

    The case of the would be wife-killer is interesting. I have had somebody actually tell me “But Joey, the guy is being honest in that he wants to kill your wife”. Well, true, he is in a sadistic kind of way being brutally honest with me. But this does not *obligate* me to be honest in return. Mostly because this is an unchosen obligation that the killer wants to create in me, and I certainly did not choose to be involved in such a situation. He wants to obligate me to via my reciprocation of honesty by giving the whereabouts of my wife just because he was honest about wanting to kill her. We can certainly see that honest personal relationships never work out in this fashion whatsoever. In fact, I think the manipulation here in honesty would ITSELF be considered dishonest once you get to the bottom of it, wouldn’t you agree?

    So I think the key to understanding honesty in relationships, especially those chosen voluntarily, is that there are no unchosen positive obligations. Children are a special case in where the child doesn’t to choose to be brought into this world, but the adults who are the parents do. The child is vulnerable in terms of size, strength, and ability to defend him or herself, so therefore the adults caring after the kid have a positive obligation to care for this child and certainly honesty would be part of that. Again, because of the differential in power and the child not getting to initially choose to be brought into existence makes that a special kind of relationship, which is what Patrick pointed out.

    Excellent stuff, and the RTR book goes on about what is discussed above in great detail. I also recommend it.

    • Yes, that’s a very good point Joey.. Kind of wished I had used the analogy of the positive/negative un/chosen obligation now. Since it would have better defined what I was trying to convey in this piece in a more philosophical manner. Could you put it in this way perhaps for simplification?

      Children = positive (chosen) obligation = provide support & care etc.

      Admit to skipping school = negative (unchosen) obligation = can lie or not lie

      Regarding children is really a whole new area regarding honesty. As you say children do not choose their parents, like we choose our friends, colleagues and partners. Important distinction that I think I will raise another week.. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Good discussion point Patrick,

    I want to take a look at the concept of ‘white lie’ -why we lie, why it is acceptable and why it also can cause unnecessary outcomes. I can see in your case how this innocent ‘white lie’ saved you some grief and I know a few circumstances where it has helped me in uncomfortable situations. So why do we lie? I guess it is something we see and pick up as we grow and in addition learn to incorporate into our lives in order to avoid difficult moments we encounter in life -I mean if it can get us out of a pickle then why not utilise its powers? So, we start off with the innocent (no harm done) white lies; how long does it take to progress that onto something a little serious… Let’s try and put that into perspective with an off the wall analogy: Can we liken that from going up from a class C drug to a class B drug? It’s an uncomfortable thought isn’t it?

    In our society (and throughout time); we have told lies to protect ourselves/our loved ones and lied to Mr/Mrs X wouldn’t be clued onto whatever secret you were keeping… one day the truth will filter through, how would you feel then? I always say honesty is the best policy; in all fairness, I’d rather be truthful than get caught out. Besides if cannot be honest –especially to your close family and possibly friends then in all seriousness you do have issues! I hope that all makes sense. 🙂

    • The ‘white lie’ is an interesting concept.. Insofar as I think people can often use it as an excuse to be dishonest.. For instance if you know a close friends husband is having an affair, some people may feel they shouldn’t tell that friend because they feel uncomfortable telling them this truth. I think ones reluctance to tell their friend a truth does kind of reflect the nature of that friendship. I’m not saying it’s wrong to not tell your friend, just that it shows you probably don’t value that relationship as much as you might think you do. This is particularly true when a friend or family member say a hurtful thing to you. Rather than confront them by telling them explicitly how you feel you withdraw from them instead. I personally think the ‘white lie’ analogy is often a red herring, insofar as it’s often dictated by circumstance and you’re own anxieties.

      I personally don’t think we ever lie to protect others. We always lie to protect ourselves. This is where people misuse the definition of the ‘white lie’. It’s an avoidance often of explaining how they fear the reaction from another whom they tell the truth too and decide to lie instead. And probably for good reason. Much like I lied to my teachers to avoid being canned, it worked. However when we start applying this method to our personal relationships, then we need to question why we are lying to them, whether we consider it a ‘white’ lie or not. Reality is we either lie or tell the truth.. There is no shades of grey in-between. However, lying in a negative unpostive obligation as Joey describes below would make sense, since the person applying the obligation has coerced us into complying with them.. I recommend you read the book I highlighted, since it will describe these situations better than I can describe here. I hope that helps 🙂

      • I agree to some extent -a ‘white lie’ is like a ‘get out of jail’ card and allows you to get away with the lie as it is considered harmless. I guess it should be gauged on a scale (and also, whose scale should be considered) -everyone’s idea of what is harmful and harmless is totally different -therefore this is already a difficult concept to define.

        Like you have said, I too believe most people lie to protect themselves from feeling whatever anguish/pain/discomfort they are trying to hide from. However, I think in some rare situation some do so to protect another person (albeit their true subconscious intentions may not be on the forefront) -well I believe that is what they truly believe -even if deep down it is a subconscious self-protection mechanism.

  3. ” Could you put it in this way perhaps for simplification?
    Children = positive (chosen) obligation = provide support & care etc.”

    Yes, and more specifically a positive obligation on the parents. The child of course is just thrown into the world, as it were, so it is just the parents that have the positive chosen obligation. In a similar way you have the chosen positive obligation to feed a pet once you have chosen to buy one at the store.

    “Admit to skipping school = negative (unchosen) obligation = can lie or not lie”

    Right, although in the example you’re still a young adult, yes? So it is not like you are an adult going to college and making a full choice to be there, but skipping out on classes. And as such you were forced to attend this school whether you liked it or not. So when somebody forces you to do something there is nothing chosen in that except on their part. And as such you have no positive obligation to be honest with them.

    If they wanted honesty, wouldn’t they do the honest thing by giving you a choice whether you wanted to attend, or be curious as to why you didn’t want to go there and make changes on their part? That would at least be accepting their responsibility as the ones who have made the choice to hold kids there for education.

    This is very similar to the other example you brought up about the murderer who promises to kill your wife and demands you be honest in revealing her location. The content is different, but the form is essentially the same = use force to put somebody in a situation where they have no choice to BE in that situation -> then demand that that person be held to a standard of honesty even though they never entered into this interaction by choice in the first place.

    So I cannot rationally hold the husband nor the poor student at fault for not telling the truth as this is not a situation in which honesty was rightfully earned. They’re also being coerced to do so, which especially makes it less likely that I would hold them at fault for being honest.

  4. Hi, Patrick. I am just now working my way through Stefan’s books, and I came across your blogs via the Freedomain Radio Facebook page. I wonder if you are familiar at all with the work of Terence (Terry) Gorski? He has communicated pretty extensively on “Levels of Intimacy” and the types of information that are appropriate to share at those different levels. What I came to understand from Gorski was that “most” people relate dysfunctionally and one way they do that is to share information inappropriately, before there is a more basic foundation of trust. For instance, jumping into the deepest darkest secrets of your life on the “first date” is not appropriate…even if it might be “totally honest.”

    Such behavior really reflects exaggerated risk taking that is a hallmark of addictive patterning; i.e. people get kind of “hyped up” on the fear such risk taking provokes. According to Gorski, healthy relationships evolve more from “Comfort Seeking” rather than “Risk Taking” and “Comfort” can only be genuinely established progressively, with personal sharing that is appropriate for each level of relationship.

    I’m afraid our culture is driven by the “2 Hour Movie Romance” – expecting to reach a level of “True Intimacy,” passing through all of the emotional experiences related to that almost instantly. Real Life never really works that way no matter how many times people try or how much they believe that their lives should look just like what they see in the movies. The truth is, It Takes Time (A LOT more than 2 Hours) to build a foundation for the deeper levels of honesty that “True Intimacy” requires.

    • Hi Lori,
      Never heard of this author myself, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. Looks like a very interesting read.

      I talked about empathy in last weeks post, whereby some people seemingly lack the ability to make better judgements about the individuals they meet on a personal level. This is often where the dysfunction begins (at least within the start of a new friendship). But the dysfunction probably originates from ‘unmet’ needs from ones childhood. Thus creating a pattern for all future relationships. Culture often then dictates how we should remain in these dysfunctional relationships, with analogies like, ‘love will conquer all’.. So I wouldn’t disagree with Gorski’s thesis as you have framed it above. It resonates well with the way I see people interact with each other myself. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Another way of expressing what Terry Gorski is what social psychologists call self-disclosure http://www.abacon.com/commstudies/interpersonal/indisclosure.html .

    There is such a thing as too much self-disclosure when one discloses a lot of information inappropriately, such as telling your first date about all the traumatic things that has happened to you in your life. It is something that has to happen over time assuming the two parties learn that they can trust each other at each level of self-disclosure.

  6. As a follow-up to your reply… Terry Gorski says that our relationships generally fail due to “selection errors” (!). Seems like that would be obvious, but in most cases it’s not. The fact is…most of us have No Idea what we should be looking for if what we are looking for is a long-term, functional, intimate relationship. Instead, we are being driven by our unconscious biochemical patterns, many generated from our childhood experiences (and eventually felt as “normal” and “good” whether they were based on functional relationship experiences or not).

    I would also suggest another book for consideration here: “We: The Psychology of Romantic Love,” by Robert Johnson. He makes clear our dysfunctional habit of expecting our love partners to fulfill idealized “God/Goddess” roles in our relationships – which, as “ordinary human beings” they can never do. However, “God/Goddess” projections carry with them a powerful, biochemical patterning – making the lovers feel ecstatic (if only temporarily) and we are addicted en masse to this particular “drug”.

    Consequently, most of “Western” culture is very, very, very confused about the experience of “romantic love” and it is one of the major hurdles we have to negotiate if we are ever going to get down to the business of Actually Loving One Another as Human Beings, and having Appropriate Expectations of our human intimate partners rather than expecting them to be the “gods” or “goddesses” in our lives.

    From my current understanding, the best basis for a long-term intimate relationship is Shared Meaning; i.e. if each person understands what is meaningful to them and what is Most Meaningful – and they find someone else with whom they can share what is Most Meaningful, then that is a good place to start, especially where other more practical circumstances are also conducive to relating.

    • Lori, you’ll be pleased to know that I will be discussing this topic you raised in part of my next post this Sunday. I think you raise some interesting questions around how we form relationships, as it relates to all our choices in friends and not just romantic partners I feel.

      From what I read I cannot disagree with it myself, since it makes a lot of sense that dysfunctional behaviour you learnt as a child would indeed seem comforting to look for in others we then choose to have relationships with as adults. Again though, a lot of dysfunction can be eliminated I feel from becoming more empathic about others and oneself. This is easier said than done of course, since overcoming life long habits require a certain amount of self awareness coupled very often with therapeutic reflection. Cultural expectations just seem to reinforce this dysfunction, by being entirely unrealistic and frankly mythological at times even.

      My only disagreement would be that it is ‘shared values’ (not shared meaning) that are the best basis for forming long term healthier relationships. Maybe that is what you meant perhaps. What those values are of course, is something I’ll probably discuss in another post. Thanks again for your thoughts and contribution.

  7. Hi, Patrick – Yes- there may be some overlap between “shared values” and “shared meaning”. Maybe it is a matter of “valuing what is also meaningful”? : ) Personally, I have given a significant amount of my energy and attention to a) understanding myself and b) trying to come to a better understanding of how to have healthy, functional, interpersonal relationships with others. When I read a book that causes me to have an “Ah, Ha!” moment (or many “Ah, Ha!” moments), i.e. one that helps the puzzle pieces fall into place a little more, that is a “meaningful” experience for me and I “value” it as such. When I am able to share from what I have learned in relationship with others, and that sharing leads them to have similar “Ah, Ha!” moments, then that shared experience feels particularly “meaningful” and, honestly, I am inclined to “value” more positively those relationships where such “meaningful” exchanges are more common.

    Does that make sense? : )

    • Yes, it does make sense Lori.. Learning from friends can be enormously useful, since they can avert some disaster for you later in life. They can also just improve your experience of life in general. This adds a special dimension to closer relationships of course.

      Regarding shared values or the lack of. All to often people will get into a relationship far to quickly not realising until later on that they hold completely different and often opposing views to them. Sometimes they try and square that circle with either avoidance or relativity. These are never particularly workable strategies since resentments seep through over time.

  8. Also – regarding “becoming more empathic”… I see empathy as an expression of emotional/psychological development; it follows naturally from successfully completing earlier emotional/psychological growth. However, if Children Are Traumatized early in their lives (especially before and/or during the three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half-year-old stages), then emotional/psychological development and the natural development of empathy can be “arrested” – stopped altogether, and the person continues to mature in other ways, but remains childlike emotionally.

    However, I agree that the human psyche is very malleable, and with enough commitment to growth and self-understanding, people who may be “stuck” emotionally, can start growing again no matter what their age. At the same time, I appreciate Erik Erikson’s model of stages of growth and the understanding that you can’t Skip Stages. Consequently, it is important to recognize at what stage one has gotten “stuck” in order to re-visit the growth requirements of that stage before trying to move forward.

    • Yes, sadly this is true.. The more abuse a child receives, the less likely they are to ever re-learn the skill of empathy as an adult.. And if they do try, it often takes some significant time therapeutically to resolve.. But as you say the brain is amazingly malleable!

  9. […] commenters’s brought up some interesting points in last week’s post that I thought were worth attaching as an addendum this week. In many ways these points have been […]

  10. Re: Not realizing there are significant differences in values because people rush into relationships…

    You are absolutely right, Patrick. And why do we rush? I think that goes back to our romantic myths, “Love at First Sight”, “movie programming” (time compression), and what Terry Gorski refers to as “all or nothing” relationships. M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Traveled” also talks about our biological propensity towards “collapse of ego boundaries.” That is what leads to all of the euphoria of early love, feelings of oneness, etc. and the potential for intercourse and procreation – which is a powerful biological objective even if it is not a conscious one at the time. But it also means the two people have actually lost themselves and their true identities in the process. Once the ego boundaries snap back into place, which they invariably do, that’s when people have to deal with each other as they are – and, as you have suggested, that is when they realize how different they may actually be from one another.

    Unfortunately, the development of affection for another person, over time, moving through the different levels of intimacy progressively, is not nearly so dramatic or exciting. It does not mirror the patterns we see in the movies, and people often feel they are missing something if their relationships do not look and feel like a movie romance.

    • Yes, the biological process is very clever I think, since it can so often disguise lust for love. Not that I’m suggesting lust is a bad thing, just that left unchecked can lead you into believing you are experiencing love, when really it’s just a powerful biological event to get you making babies.

      I think movies are less about teaching us bad habits, but are more about compounding these dysfunctions within us. Giving in to this powerful biological urge has a lot more to do with un-met needs we had as children. So a neglected child as an adult will experience a temporary period of bliss as they imagine all their un-met needs being met at once. Fortunately we are an evolving creature and are capable (with work) of challenging these urges ahead of time for what they are. But for many people that don’t, it can feel like an endless hell for them and these movie scripts can feel very frustrating for them.

  11. There is only one place where all of needs are met with no effort of our own…in our mother’s womb! (And, of course, many religions propose a similar condition in “heaven.”)

    I think, though, that is where much of our biological programming comes from, at least the longing to feel completely loved and “taken care of” again; i.e. we carry with us a latent memory (including biochemical patterning) of what it was like to be in the womb, and of course, there is the sense of oneness that persists in the context of mothering and feeding during early infancy.

    I think it is actually very difficult for most people to embrace their human existence fully, as (apparently) separate and “individuated” because so much of that experience is challenging and confusing, leaving us wanting to “crawl back into the womb.” (I know this is getting a little off topic, but I think if someone really longs for “heaven” strongly enough, they will reincarnate just to experience that for the first nine months. Unfortunately, those nine months of “heaven” are followed by 80 years (or so) of “hell” – if you don’t learn how to Be Happy here in the mean time.)

    I will still hold that when people watch “love stories” via the movies, their body-minds are being taken on a time compressed, emotional/biochemical “love rollercoaster,” and yes, it sets up very unrealistic biochemically patterned expectations which are invariably frustrated in “real life.”

    So the key is learning to consciously re-program your own biology, your own emotional/biochemical patterning. Not easy, but definitely possible. I know. I’ve been doing that myself for years now! : )

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