Tag Archives: relationships
Did you know that the light bulb was originally built to last much longer than it does? Apparently, the technology and lifespan was created to be more than 1000 hours pushed into the marketplace as the standard. The Phoebus Cartel put pressure on manufacturers to keep the longevity of the light bulb limited. They basically became rich by strong arming the industry into not allowing innovation and competition to thrive. The idea was to intentionally make a poorly designed product to stop working as a way to sell more units.
A term was coined for the concept of creating a product to become inoperable after a specific time period: “planned obsolescence.” The idea took hold and the 1950′s spawned a new generation of goods under a time constraint. The demand for an item is inherent when the product will stop working and new one is needed. Hence, this provided marketers with an essential way to spur on sales with the illusion of a better product always right around the corner.
Everyday we are bombarded with notions to replace the poorly created goods we already have for other poorly created merchandise, without a second thought. There is always a newer product that will help take away the inconvenience of the one we already have that doesn’t appear to function properly. Is it any wonder that we have no idea how to have lasting relationships?
I’m not saying that marketing or even planned obsolescence is to blame for our inability to connect on a deeper level. However, the world we live in does influence us and if we continue to substitute one bad item for another, well you can see how a slippery slope can be created within your psychology.
If a person has a personality quirk, makes a mistake, gets sick, older, or even just says something we don’t like, it is pretty deeply ingrained in American culture to simply find another person. We even have relationship concepts for this like “starter marriage. ” But the problem I have with this replaceable notion of relationships is the same that I have with planned obsolescence: where is the personal responsibility of the individual to make sure they are really getting something better?
It is one thing if you end a relationship (for just about any reason) and learn from it, grow, and integrate changes which allow you to pursue someone of higher calibre. It is another thing (read: unhealthy) to ditch one relationship only to find yourself in the exact same dynamic you were in the last time it didn’t work. This is essentially planned obsolescence in relationships.
Individuals are not taking the time to put in quality emotional work into understanding themselves, research their own patterns, and then seek a relationship that reflects a higher level of integration. Instead, they just swap one bad relationship for another and then complain about it. This is a lament we hear daily if it is not about a piece of technology equipment it could easily be about someone’s romantic partner.
Want to avoid planned obsolescence within your relationship? Here is what you do, it is simple really, it just requires a bit of self honesty and effort. You decide that what you expect from yourself and a relationship is of more worth and higher quality than before. You make a conscious choice to examine who you are and what you want, then you look at ways to better strengthen yourself and interactions, and then you actually get to know someone and see over time if they meet your standards. Finally you decide to more fully invest within the relationship.
It is a process and not necessarily an easy one at that. It is easy to fall for the shiny marketing of a quick new alternative relationship. However, I assure you that waiting for quality understanding within yourself and taking the time to learn more about the other person will allow for a much higher level of satisfaction and longer relationship lifespan.
And just for information sake, planned obsolescence still exists today often seen in examples likes printers, ipod batteries, and yes… still for light bulbs.
It is that time of year where people start to look back on their lives and freak out. They have managed to survive the holiday season thus far and begin to focus on next year. The lists come out of all the things that were not done, all the things to do, and all the things that should be important but that won’t make it to any real list anyway.
You hear it time and time again… resolutions. Then two weeks or two months later… you hear about how they are never kept. I won’t go into why making big grand statements about change don’t work, at least not in this post. But I will say this much, we change as we grow and that isn’t just about an idea, it is about integration. You can wish and hope all day long for something to change, but if you are not truly ready to deal with the consequences (and yes there are scary realities to change even in a positive direction) then it just isn’t going to happen.
So back on to what you can do in 2010. Here is an idea… how about working on your relationships? I know I know… you don’t have the time, the energy, or the desire. But I assure you, if you are devoting time to how you can feel differently about yourself or strengthening the bonds around you, you WILL feel better. We spend an amazing amount of time focusing on the negative that simply seeing one thing positive within ourselves and others, is already a huge shift.
You want to revolutionize your world? Okay…. maybe that is too grand a statement… sounds almost like a resolution.. How about just making a small step towards not putting so many horrible thoughts in your head about yourself or your loved ones? That is workable …. at least the theory is. But how do we really make change with such a large idea? I’m so glad you asked!
Here is a realistic how-to for growing your relationship with yourself or others:
1) Become aware of all the negative things you are saying inside your head. You will be shocked. Write them down with little check marks if you want. It will blow your mind.
2) Once you realize your negative autopilot thought process, start working on actively stopping. In the middle of a negative thought, say “STOP” inside your head our out loud. This changes the cognitive mechanism that is on default. Even if you then still think the thought, you will already started a skill set to change the process.
3) After you have caught yourself in the act, work on some radical acceptance. You don’t have to give up all the negativity cold turkey. However, letting the feelings/thoughts float around as something without impact goes a long way. For instance, if you think “I am stupid” then you stop yourself, and you can allow the thought not to have an impact. You simply have a feeling and thought that is negative but it does not carry weight. It can float past you as the Taoist and Buddhist tend to say “Like leaves on a river they move along.”
4) Then the big moment has arrived. You are ready to start adding on some positivity. You pick something that actually resonantes within you. No choosing a word or feeling that is out of your scope. As with the example above with intellect you could say “I am working on building new levels of intelligience.” This doesn’t negate anything, nor does it put you in a category that isn’t real. You are in fact working on this, by the shear nature of doing these steps.
5) Finally, when you are ready you can really push yourself. *dramatic music* You can start saying positive statements outloud to yourself or others. I know… it sounds intense but work through this with me. You might start to see and feel yourself and others differently, once you geniunely feel some kindness. Using the idea above, someone might say “Wow, that was a really good idea.” You would respond with, “Thank you for saying that.” It sounds like such an easy response right? But when you are struggling with how you deal with yourself and others, it can be a process. You have just validated yourself, the other person’s feelings, and openly expressed appreciation for both.
So let’s look towards 2010 with realistic optimism that we can change ourselves with one thought, emotion, and action at a time. That there is space for us to feel a bit more secure in ourselves and with others. The theme of the new year will be — strength in relationships–.
Laura Munson wrote an amazing little article about how she didn’t leave her husband when he said he wanted out the marriage. This woman pretty much explains it all perfectly and there isn’t much I can add to her story but I will write this blog to encourage others. First off, read Those are not fighting words … it is an inspiring look at a relationship’s reality.
Now, just in case you decided that the few paragraphs were not worth your time, I will demand you click the link above and read it. I assure you, it is worth your time. Good… now we can move forward.
In my office, I get person after person questioning if they should leave their relationship, if it is already too late, if their relationship can be saved, or if they should just move on. Each person sits with their heart breaking open because they very much love the person with whom they are considering staying/leaving the relationship. These are real people with real emotional ties who want to do what is right.
When are you supposed to leave and when you are supposed to stay? Each situation is different there is no mistaking that point. However, there is something deep about considering that a relationship might be in the stages of some sort of growth that has little to do with you and very much to do with your partner.
If you are overall sure that your needs are being met, boundaries are being respected, that you are not being mistreated in a way that is beyond your capacity, and that you very much love your partner… then it might be worth considering to wait out the situation. Not everyone is prepared for the internal strength it takes to hold on while your partner is flailing about during hard times.
Still, allowing your mate to breathe on their own… find their own path… and to know that you will be there as they find their way … can be the very key to bringing you closer.
I find that many of us have lost sight of the fact that relationships go through hard times and that we can be cruel to one another. We blame, mistrust, and hurt our partner deeply. We say we know this but in action we break often under the pressure. I wish this wasn’t the case but often when two people share their most vulnerable parts they end up needing to protect themselves from the very person they want to be most at peace with. This is simply a truth.
So when things turn nasty and you are being attacked it is natural to want to run away from the situation. But maintaining a sense of self that can stand within the face of someone else hurting is another very true part of relationships. The ability to love without demanding the person change but allowing them to figure themselves out is a powerful expression.
I’m not asking you to stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in (or that you feel is unhealthy/abusive for you)… however if you look at things and consider that you can wait out storm without attacking your partner then perhaps there will be a rainbow at the end.
Relationships require work and often times they hurt … but they can also bring great joy when you look back and realize that you endured and became stronger for allowing your partner to grow in the way they needed.
Taking space and giving space in loving ways is not an easy task but well worth the effort. Consider taking the wide persective on the situation and see if the long term gains are worth it!
I say a lot of things that people do not want to hear in therapy. I will ask questions, name things directly, and confront clients on issues that are sensitive. That is part of my job to encourage each person to find their personal truth. I am there to push, challenge, and support each client in ways that help them reach their specific goals.
With all of this said, there still remains some areas of discussion that are difficult. People know they are coming in for therapy and that it is going to be work. Yet, no one wants to admit what is really true for all of us if we are in a relationship long enough.
So, I’ll say it for you here just like I do to clients… There are times you will love your partner and there are times you will hate your partner. These are not mutually exclusive. Sure sure, people tell you all the time they have experienced this but it is very rare that you will hear this kind of directness while someone is actually in the relationship they are talking about.
It is common place to say that you love your partner. However, it is rare to hear someone say “I really dislike you right now.” I don’t mean this phrase is said out of anger or fear, just a real truth in the moment just like you say you “really like someone” in a moment of truth. We are so afraid of being who we really are often due to a fear or being left that we then keep everything pushed down. From there we begin to feel a disconnection as we are not being authentic and quickly this can lead to resentment.
Now, hear me correctly … having this kind of openness isn’t right for every couple. Literally there are some couples that if they say this the relationship would break apart. I’m not suggesting you be mean, cruel, or hurtful. I am suggesting that the more open, honest, and direct you are in a loving way the better chance you have for longevity within your relationship.
When you can express in a loving way that you are experiencing dislike, as much as like, in certain circumstances the better the chance that you will be able to express everything else in the middle. It is a hard truth but I guarantee you WILL have times where you can’t stand your partner. It is my belief that the better we are expressing such things the better we are at dealing with such things and the better we are of having the real relationships we want.
It takes time, practice, and trust to be able to build towards being able to tell your partner that they make you crazy … because the moment you are being that honest is the moment you see how they deal with it. That can be scary but learning how to be your true self within your relationship will ultimately lend itself to far more good times than bad AND you will have the emotional security to deal with the bad in a more directly healthy way.
So be brave in a caring form and express who you really are… it is my understanding that your partner will at first be scared to death and freak out but it is my hope that in the end respect and love you all the more for it.