June is extraordinary in the east of France! It’s getting really warm, just the right temperature, pleasant enough to enjoy the terraces and outdoors in the evening. The sun rises early and brightens us with its soft luminous rays. The previously pale landscapes are ablaze with colors from a seemingly infinite palette.
You just have to know how to look. That’s what nature gives us. This dynamic fresco, changing every minute, which I have the chance to gaze upon from 5:30 a.m., helps me reflect on multiple and varied questions!
My friend, brother, and colleague have a formula: “every day, we wake up different people.”
Paradigms change according to what we live and what we experience. They are dynamic and evolving depending on the context we are in. If yesterday’s and today’s truths do not match, we still have the framework defining our set of possibilities and keeping us on course. The truths we admit, individually, result from personal experiences more than from the unique rationality we all have… In fact, I bring my vision into this third act according to my paradigm (today’s paradigm, of course).
– Doc: Hello you two, how are you?
– Sarah: So good! He didn’t piss me off this morning.
– Dylan: She didn’t give me time to do that.
– Doc: You two are terrible! Who do I start with, young people?
– Sarah: We come for the same thing, doc! We need health certificates to enroll at the gym.
– Doc: The gym?
– Dylan: Yes, we’re going to start working out: we’re always tired, our jobs are stressful; we need to let off steam…
– Sarah: And that way, we’ll avoid kicking each other’s asses (laughs).
– Doc: You got this far, huh?
– Dylan: Yes, but hey, it’s your usual couple’s bickering.
– Doc: Make love, not war…
– Sarah: At least we’re trying, doc (laughs).
– Doc: Try more…
– Dylan: It’s still better than it used to be.
– Sarah: Yes, it’s true.
– Doc: Well, we’re going to consult you for the gym AND just a tiny idea: if you ever feel your stress drains your energy, either we talk here or consider a psychologist, okay?
– Dyl & Sarah: Okay, no worries, doc.
Couple and security
A couple’s relationship is a strong balance between different parameters that both partners decide whether or not to allow in the long term. Once the period of effervescence is over, a routine sets in. The latter is normal. We each have obligations and duties. However, we must not confuse classic routine and monotony, which can be interpreted as a lack of interest.
The factors below are essential to establishing a strong and quality relationship. Often they are very personal, but you can’t achieve balance without them:
Self-esteem is fundamental to our psychological construction and quality interactions. Do not confuse self-esteem and ego! Again, it’s all about dosage: knowing I have intrinsic worth is not the same as overestimating who I am or putting others down to feel better. Self-esteem entails a mixture of self-awareness, purpose, self-worth, and being valued by others. Valuing and evaluating yourself correctly is a daily task that keeps you on course. It requires knowing yourself, and it takes what seems like a lifetime to achieve. Questioning our existence philosophically may seem tedious, but the interest is not in the answer; it’s the questions themselves that matter!
- Self-confidence: to trust others, trust yourself.
Understanding your abilities implies knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody knows their weaknesses – often exaggerating them. That’s why people do not dare or take risks. Ultimately, they do not take the risk of living fully.
This is undoubtedly important, but it is perhaps more important to know where you excel, isn’t it? Knowing your strengths increases your self-confidence. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this or that,” learn to say, “I can become good enough at it, whatever it is!” You may not have discovered your intrinsic value yet, but it’s there. Be proud of it, raise your head, and have faith in yourself: this will inspire others, and you will have more ability to trust!
- Fear, control, and acceptance
Insecurity within the couple destroys self-esteem and self-confidence. As a result, the security in the relationship is further destroyed: it invariably creates a spiral of negativity! Fear takes over, and with it, the desire for control arises as a direct reflection of your anxiety. But it’s actually the opposite of power and acceptance.
Things are as they should be.
Working on your self-esteem and self-confidence allows you to understand the reality of emotions and feelings. Accept reality as it is (soft or painful) without reducing it to yourself. Keep an objective and detached look as much as possible, questioning things critically and without judgment.
The love you don’t think you have a right to
Some people measure their worth by how much others love them. However, the love you think you deserve and allow from others is based on the value you assign yourself! Our personal experiences determine this psychological construction. In reality, this “logic” is fallacious. You feel flattered and indebted if someone values you more than you do yourself! But maybe you are just appraised at your “real worth.”
The concept of cultivating self-love can be misconstrued. It’s not about putting yourself ahead of everyone and crushing others by making it all about you. Love makes room for and amplifies others’ respect. Knowing what you are worth, what you represent, and giving yourself credit raises your value. You don’t need to belittle others to lift yourself because you know what you are and where you belong. You know your goals, your direction. Self-love gives you unshakable security, freeing you to love your partner and others. You will no longer be afraid to love without being loved in return, never again scared to renounce yourself – all because you love what you are.
- Looking for manifestations of love differently
The lack of love and self-love leaves you with a significant void! The brain (which is the seat of your emotions) is like nature; it abhors a vacuum. Therefore, you will consciously or unconsciously look for ways to fill this “lack.” You may notice different behaviors, some aimed at attracting attention: regular complaints, unexplained fatigue, drug abuse, and addictions. This behavior represents a misguided search for love or, technically, the search for an increase in serotonin levels.
- Emotional eating or hedonic overeating
Another manifestation of the suppressed search for love, hedonic hyperphagia, leads to a weight control problem. This issue is a source of significant discomfort that directly impacts self-love, self-esteem, and self-confidence. This type of emotional eating entails seeking pleasure and well-being through food. One possible explanation goes back to evolutionary needs – food allows the survival of the species. The increase in dopamine when you’re eating makes you “high” and temporarily buries negative feelings, particularly discontent. Be aware of the following vicious circle: I don’t feel loved > I compensate by eating > I hate myself for gaining weight > I convince myself that I can’t be loved as I am > I don’t feel loved!
The much-talked-about communication is the basis of a healthy and quality relationship. Lately, communication seems to have become something everyone has appropriated. However, there are rules for quality communication, and most often, people confuse communicating with speaking (most often, speaking means speaking about oneself!). So, numerous books analyze couple’s communication, some of which are exceptionally well written. I’m going to highlight some points here:
- Transparency illusion
It is about the profound certainty that your interlocutor knows what you are talking about and reads your mind. This assumption creates deep misunderstandings, leading to significant conflicts when mistakenly assuming our partners lack good faith. We are so convinced of being understood that we no longer take the time to explain our expectations and our objectives. Luckily, we can avoid this illusion and the resulting conflicts by setting a framework: always expressing our thoughts and sharing them. But beware, the unconscious controls us more than we think: is it possible that we voluntarily accept the transparency illusion to help us hide certain realities? Could we deliberately don it like a kind of face veil? Let’s meditate on this one!
- Emotional intelligence
We define it as being aware of one’s own emotions (self-awareness) and the emotions of others (empathy). Emotional intelligence also allows us to manage our actions and interactions according to our feelings. Understanding ourselves and others through the lens of our emotions, reactions, desires, expectations, and fears allows us to take common-sensical actions in everyone’s interest. Emotional intelligence reminds us we exist as social, interdependent beings, evolving on a joint base. Long misunderstood, emotional intelligence’s central role in human interactions and personal development is nowadays fully recognized!
- Active listening/empathy
One of the most critical parameters of emotional intelligence is empathy, which means feeling the emotions of others. It means putting yourself in the place of another not only in words but by feeling their moods, joys, and pains. It requires a deep understanding of the person, which can only happen if you actively listen to them. There is a profound difference between hearing and listening. More often, we hear only what interests us, intently searching for arguments in our favor while the other speaks. Active listening is about understanding and feeling the other’s situation so that you can express genuine empathy.
The Place of Sex
- Homo Sexualis stronger than Homo Sapiens Sapiens
The place of sex in today’s society favors the emergence of what I define as Homo Sexualis. A post-modern man who benefits from his Homo Sapiens Sapiens predecessor. Instead of an advance, this is a leap backward! The neocortex, symbolizing the thinking humanity, is losing the fight against the limbic brain.
Sex occupies an increasingly important place in society, or rather, our representation of sex takes the limelight. This situation reflects the evolution of mores: among the ancients, intelligence and knowledge, characterized by small rods, were carried on a pedestal. Female symbols of intelligence also abounded, the Goddess Athena and Ulysses’ wife Penelope being the best known. What a place for women in Greek and Roman societies! Sex should just be a means for well-being, fulfillment, and reproduction: In this world, we are slaves to sex, and above all,
to the way we see sex, the place we’ve given it in our lives, and what we hope it will provide us with! It is up to us to restructure our objectives to give sexuality its correct place (important but not central) in our lives).
- Sex in the couple
Sex reinforces communication, self-love, security, self-esteem, and self-confidence. It is a pillar in the couple’s foundation. In reality, a vicious circle appears: sexual difficulties > relationship problems > sexual difficulties. This situation is destructive for the individual and also for the couple. Break the spiral of negativity by communicating more and actively listening to your partner. Empathy is the beginning of solving this problem.
The common enemy is the “unsaid.”
The things we leave unsaid are the seeds of discord just waiting to grow like ivy encircling the heart and mind, smothering your positivity and highlighting the dark spots. The resulting situation hinders well-being and impacts the couple’s overall life. A third party’s intervention can sometimes help the couple reconnect through quality communication! Unfortunately, some (especially men) equate couple’s therapy to showing weakness! Often, it’s their egos speaking: “I don’t need that; I can do it on my own!” Solving this problem takes work, like many other things worth having in life. Still, you have to be aware of it and, above all, want to solve it. We need to get closer to what we’re here for. We need to discover or define our goal. We need to achieve a state of cohesion between what we are and want to be, what we are passionate about, and what we are good at! A Japanese term for that is:
We will talk about it again…