In the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with women in which they talk about a man’s good traits and bad traits but then say that something that he does or believes in is an automatic deal breaker for them and thus, he is no longer under consideration for anything other than a distant friend. I believe in standards. I have them and for the most part, I stick to them. But the common theme that has been the deal breaker in conversations with numerous women is that the man does not have a college degree or above. The reasons given for this blatant disregard for anyone who doesn’t meet this standard is that there will be nothing to talk about if the man isn’t educated. In today’s society, so much weight is placed on where you went to school, what your grades were, what your degree was in, if you finished college. This has happened to the extent that there are people who honestly think that going to college is an indication of intelligence. Maybe it’s the homeschooler in me, but I honestly think that having an education is not an indication of intelligence at all. At all. These days you don’t even have to be smart to make good grades. I’m definitely a witness to that. You just have to know the system and how to find the right resources to get the information that you need. While I don’t necessarily consider myself “educated,” I probably somewhat fit the criteria for that particular term. I can honestly say that the many of the smartest and most intelligent people I know do not have college degrees. People who think outside the box tend to make more money and are more successful than those who don’t. Education is a box. My point in saying all this is that you miss out on a lot when you immediately disregard someone because they don’t meet a particular educational requirement. College is honestly not for everyone and there are plenty of people who have made millions without stepping foot inside a college classroom. It’s about the desire to learn and the ability to find the resources you need to get where you want to go. These days, almost everything you would get in a college classroom is accessible on some level through the internet at a much lower price. There are so many better things you can use to screen potential significant others but I don’t think that highest education level should be one of them.
This picture caught my eye because it’s definitely something that I’ve been learning to do. Growing up my mom used to always tell me that if you help someone without their permission they’ll turn around and persecute you. As an adult, I’ve experienced this firsthand. I’ve always been someone who has been willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to help someone. Recently I’ve learned the importance of being cautious as help people. One of the things that my therapist education has taught me is to rarely if ever give advice. Four words I will probably never use, or very rarely use “In my professional opinion.” The reason for this is because people will rarely tell you the full story. They’ll tell you a side that makes them look like the person that is being wronged when in reality, either they’re the culprit or they share the blame. I’ve learned that most people don’t want help. They just say that they do. Saying that you want to change and actually CHANGING are totally different things entirely. Good intentions don’t equal good actions. One of the problems with giving advice is that you rarely ever know the full story. If the person follows your advice and it turns out to be wrong, 9 times out of 10 they’ll blame you. I’ve gotten out of the “I’m a therapist so tell me all your problems” syndrome. I don’t counsel family or friends and I don’t say what I think unless it’s asked. And even then, I do it pretty sparingly. Most people don’t want counsel. They just want a listening an empathetic ear. I find it much easier to just let people know that I’m here if they need me and just leave it there.
One thing that I’ve noticed recently is how many of my fellow Twitter peeps (and myself included) have been all up in our feelings. Now this could definitely be either a good or bad thing. I think a lot of it is situational in nature and is largely dependent on some unexpected stressor that has crossed our path. Or, in my case, it just comes from the wonderful but also very uncomfortable mix of being emotional, analytical, logical, and a hopeless romantic all blended together. There’s nothing wrong with having feelings but one thing that I’ve realized is that we can’t allow them to rule our lives. While life is no fun being predictable and dry, there’s a need for balance between being realistic and emotional. Let’s face it, emotions aren’t always logical. Just because you “feel” a certain way does not mean that it’s realistic or even makes sense. Feelings can change as easily as the direction of the wind and while they may seem trustworthy, usually they’re not. At some point, good old common sense and responsibility have to trump how you feel. I read somewhere this week that one sign of a well disciplined person is that they wake up in the morning and just like they decide what clothes to wear, they decide how to feel during the day. That way, they can remind themselves if they ever deviate away from the decided on feeling and can change their thinking to come back into alignment with the day’s goal. While I can see the logic in doing that, I’m don’t know if I could ever do that. What’s life if you don’t feel various emotions through the day? We need some daily reminder that we’re human and having feelings definitely provides that much needed dose of reality.
I thought that this picture was somewhat thought provoking because it implies a lot. However, I think that there’s definitely a difference between being strong and having an attitude. Just because you’re confident and can do things by yourself doesn’t mean that you have an attitude. I know women who honestly have a nasty attitude and say that they are merely “strong willed.” Not true. This picture implies that one of the characteristics of a weak man is that he mistakes being a strong person with having an attitude. While this may be true, it’s important to remember that having a perpetual attitude is never cute or attractive. It’s just annoying and draining to the people around you. Whenever I see that I’m reminded of the real-ness of personality disorders. But I digress. My point is that being strong and having an attitude are truly two separate things that should not be confused.
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer that I am writing this on 0 hours of sleep so my attempts to proofread before posting will likely be futile due to exhaustion and the magnetic force of sleep. First off, this article pretty much exactly captures my beliefs on texting. As a child of the technology age, I will be the first to admit that texting is definitely a time saver. Who wants to spend ten minutes in a conversation when you can convey your thoughts in ten seconds? I remember getting charged money (probably five cents or so) in order to send and receive text messages. It really made me consider and think twice about who I was texting. My whole point is that somewhere along the way we’ve lost the human connection. Texting someone who you know well is different than texting someone you just met due to the fact that there is already an established relationship between you and your friend. You are aware of the nuances that come along with how he or she phrases their sentences. It’s so much easier to read between the lines because you know what they are trying to say and what they actually mean. I recently had the most unpleasant experience of having an extremely awkward conversation via phone. I was talking to this individual who shall remain nameless, and I felt at a loss. I remember thinking to myself that this individual must be an avid texter because they just could not talk. And by saying this, I mean that they did not have the art of holding a conversation–at least over the phone. Being a therapist, I’m pretty good at asking questions that invite people to open up and to tell me what is really going on in their lives. However, asking questions to this person was akin to pulling teeth. Slowly. Without anesthesia. Most annoying thing ever. I would ask a question and the answer would be non relevant to the question. The information that I was able to gather was confirmation that this individual’s number would soon be collecting dust in my phone so I simply acted on the inevitable and deleted the number after that first conversation. Plus, this person did not know me well so I was not as concerned about building rapport. I just wanted a decent conversation but it was not to be. While I am definitely more of a fan of texting than calling, there comes a time where you just need to pick up the phone and call someone. There are few feelings as great as having a great face to face or phone conversation. You just don’t get that through text messaging. So take some time to give some people an actual call. Build your communication skill-set. Just remember that you miss a lot when you text so take some time and give some old friends a call instead of texting them.
There’s this theory in the counseling world about attachment. The basic premise of this theory is that our relationships with others are a result of our first relationships with our primary caregivers. This goes all the way back to being a newborn. Babies are conditioned to cry in order to get their needs met. The process of crying and then having someone come to their aid reinforces the fact that they are safe and that someone will care for them. When a baby is ignored for long periods of time and his or her basic needs are not adequately met, either the baby becomes really clingy or the baby can stop crying and withdraw. It’s funny how you can see the same behavior in adults when they feel that their needs are not being met. What all this means is that people can find themselves in emotional distress due to not having a secure attachment with their primary caregiver when younger or even not having a secure attachment when they are adults. A secure attachment is when you are securely connected to someone (usually a significant other) who you can trust and allow yourself to be vulnerable with. The whole idea is that if you have a secure attachment you won’t be as concerned about what others think about you because you have at least one person in your life who means a lot to you and is 100% supportive of you. It took me taking an actual class about this to realize that I don’t have a secure attachment with anyone right now. Definitely not the greatest news to discover as a therapist but it wasn’t a huge surprise. And while that is something that I’d like to change, I’m not quite sure if I want it to change. I’ve mentioned the “three year rule” in a previous post and that would definitely come into play as far as me having a secure attachment. I’m not necessarily upset about that, but I’m not ok with it as well. However, that’s where I am for the time being and it’s going to take me being super deliberate in order to change that.