Tag Archives: Valentine’s day

On Valentine’s Day, Try These 4 Honesty Tips

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

photo-24779825-woman-kissing-her-man-on-cheek

If we want love in our relationship, we need honesty.

A woman I will call Tara, suffered from dishonesty. Her husband borrowed from Tara’s home office. If he wanted paper or a tablet, he took hers. When he needed a cord for his laptop, he replaced it with his wife’s. If he was home during work hours,  he commanded chunks of Tara’s time through long conversations.

Tara put up with most extremes. Her spouse would disappear with her car not knowing she needed it to meet a client. Borrowed items were not returned. One day he asked to employ Tara’s company for a project for his boss. Tara did the work and was never paid.

That was it. Finally, she told him off in a huge explosive fight. He claimed she never told him she wanted paid, and she said he did not take her work seriously. Oh my.

Honesty Tip #1

We are not honest when we try to be nice and not complain. Tara’s silence was actually sending the message that she did not mind her husband’s decisions. The first time she felt her husband might be taking advantage, she could have drawn a boundary.

For example: “I need my car available. It is not going to work out to lend it to you unless you double check with me first.”

Honesty Tip #2

We are not honest with ourselves when we rationalize that resentment is still love. All Tara’s denial accomplished was an eruption of built-up steam. The first time she felt anger, pausing to ask why would have been helpful.   

Had she realized she resented loss of control over her possessions and time, she could have drawn boundaries to gain it back.   

For example: “I need my printer to stay in my office. Maybe you can buy one on sale.”  (Responsibility is the husband’s to find another solution for himself.)

Honesty Tip #3

We are not honest when we deny our true motives. More than Tara wanted to be nice, she feared not being nice. She didn’t like the idea of hurting her husband’s feelings. The first time she felt this apprehension, she could have offered him validation and acceptance.

“Your life is a hectic one (validation).  I’m sorry, I want to be here for you (acceptance) , but my availability to talk is limited to lunchtime, evenings and weekends.” 

Honesty Tip #4

We are not honest when we are not clear about our expectations.  Tara fully expected payment for her work.  Instead of assuming her husband understood this,  offering him an estimate as she would any other client, would have helped. 

For example: “My company will charge your boss $_ _ _ per hour. I’ll need this agreement signed.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!! 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 12:9 (NIRV)

“Love must be honest and true.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

If You Are Feeling Hopeless and Disappointed Post-Valentine’s Day…

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

There is an old saying, “We are only as sick as our secrets.” This means that what we keep hidden inside will come out in one way or another. Our behavior tends to reflect how we feel about our secrets.

Let’s start a new saying – “We are only as disappointed as our rules.” Our expectations of romance can be set unrealistically high on Valentine’s Day.  When the inevitable failure happens, we feel badly about our Valentine.

For some though, disappointment is aimed at oneself.  “Why am I not good enough for love?” or “I cannot be loved. ” When this is us, our hopes are placed on a person or experience. Both are temporary and fallible. A sense of hopelessness replaces any happiness we may otherwise know.

There are five different types of Valentines, right?  Of course, there are wide variations of each and between these main ones.

  1. Focused. This is the ideal, I guess.  A spouse who notices the little stuff, who recognizes what brings us happiness, and plans for a sweet Valentine’s Day, raises our spirits.
  2. Inattentive. This person may not catch a break because we acquaint missing our romantic cues with  indifference.  Life’s distractions do not stop on February 14. A truly inattentive person may need to know more directly what it is we want. No one is a mind reader.
  3. Indifferent . This is the problem that hurts our feelings. When a Valentine no longer cares, we feel pain.  This is not the same as a spouse hating Valentine’s Day out of principle. However, if that serves as the excuse du jour, we know it.
  4. Unkind. Selfishness, narcissism, abusive behavior – all are issues we must recognize and face head-on. These partners are not indeed Valentines, and we must ask, “Is this the relationship I want?”
  5. Non-existent. Singleness is not a curse. In fact, it leaves us available for deep and satisfying friendships. We can turn our attention to projects or family we are passionate about.  Not having a Valentine is not second-best, but holds its own merit.

None of the above defines who we are. What type of Valentine we have only describes a fact. By placing our hope for approval, affirmation, validation, purpose, or a sense of value on a relationship, we miss the most important component of our existence.

We are loved by God

One of the biggest mistakes I made was to root a sense of worth in the soil of my marriage. Planting hope and faith in the richness of God’s love has changed my point of view, given me a sense of purpose, and held my heart in the darkest, most lonely moments.

Not only do best-intentioned people fail each other from time to time, but it is impossible to avoid doing so. We are only human.  Hope replaces despair when we accept and trust in the unfailing love of God through his unchanging Son, Jesus Christ.   It is offered freely to anyone who believes.

My post-Valentine’s Day advice is to seek God and learn to feel what true love is.

Today’s Helpful Word

1 John 4: 9,10

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

Top pic by WAX115 and bottom pic by LUSI on rgbstock.com

Finding Your True Valentine

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

mtjgojoFor women anyway, (must come from that standpoint since I am one), the concept of a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue is either embraced or dismissed. Strong women on both sides share the universal need for unconditional love. If that includes wanting a partner to soften or remove emotional pain, so be it. 

Men I suspect are hoping for a softer love, an adoring fan. Men with great hearts who would never take advantage, and instead seek equality in a love relationship, still need unconditional love. If that includes wanting a partner to offer comfort, so be it. 

True love is not about sex, buying a house, having a family, great vacations, or making money. Some or all of these are hopeful outcomes of true love. Just as a car does not stop being a car even if it’s engine freezes, so true love exists beyond our expectations for it. 

Men and women disappoint in relationships. That is not always out of meanness, yet we are human and naturally selfish. Extending kindness and sacrifices like time, energy, a listening ear, and learning to communicate love in the way a partner hears it best, takes an effort. Much of it pushes personal agendas aside. 

Selfishness by its nature is tempted to force its own way. Good people can occasionally cross over to the “me, me, me” way of thinking. This is temporary and worked out through communication, repentance, and perhaps mental health care. There is a chasm of difference between disappointment when a relationship does not meet the needs of both people equally, and power and control.  

Power and control are the opposite of self-sacrifice, no matter what a partner may claim. Manipulation (trying to force one’s personal agenda through deceit – half-truths, broken promises, or playing emotional games), is a form of power and control. Threat of the removal of love is a type of coercion.

Exerting force over another’s body, purposely twisting a partner’s words thus creating confusion, and causing a person to question the value of life or trust, is abuse. If one member of this duo has to set aside a sense of individuality so the other can feel good about himself or herself, this is abuse. 

Hot or cold, tension and dread, fear and self-doubt – these are attributes of an abusive relationship. A predictable cycle begins with calm, tension, abusive behavior, the “I’m sorry”s, and then calm again. Over a period of hours, days, months, or years, this cycle is unending. One could draw it on a chart. 

No one has to settle for abuse.

True love does not act like this. True love consists of valuing each other above disappointing moments and difficult circumstances. True love is described eloquently in the Bible as, “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

It goes on to add, “Love never fails.” Since humans disappoint from time to time, what can “never fails” possibly mean? 

There is Someone who is capable of maintaining perfect true love and meeting our needs all the time. Perfect love emanates from a perfect being, a Spirit we call God. God’s very nature is love. It is impossible for him to lie. He offers mercy and justice. He promises to never leave

Sacrificing His one and only procreated son for the sake of us mere mortals, proves His is true love. Taking us into His heart before we even chose to love Him, is confirmation His love is unconditional. His loving arms at times are almost a physical presence.

This is my Valentine’s Day wish for you. As Saint Paul once said, I pray that you will “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” 

In other words, come to know your Soulmate. 

o2cuheeToday’s Helpful Word

Psalm 23:3a

“He restores my soul…”

 

COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

pictures from rgbstock.com

 

Fluffy Compassionate Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-24738483-sheepYeah. It was 2:16 pm exactly, on Valentine’s Day, when the idea for this post came to mind. I was writing a sequel to my most viewed and shared article, Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse, and basically decided it was in my best interest to stop. The research alone is ugly; my mood was getting uglier. 

“Write a fluff story” popped into my head and I’m running with it. This is a safer exercise for all concerned.

When my oldest son was about six years old, he joined a boy scout-like program where he was told to choose an animal name for his badge. If anyone had asked, I would have guessed he would write Tiger or some such fierce creature. I was surprised when “Fluffy Lamb” came home, proudly holding out his name tag.

In some bizarre design twist I can no longer explain, a basket of freshly shorn wool sat in the corner of our livingphoto-24819902-couple-looking-to-each-other room. This same son thought it would be fun to bury his face in it. This was not so entertaining after all when his skin broke out into itchy hives. “Fluffy Lamb” is allergic to the real stuff.

Research on love has resurged as of the last few decades or so.  One reason is that psychologists like to fix people, and studying love will presumably help us understand how to do it better, ultimately affecting treatment and the success of relationships.

Maybe that sounds like a lot of fluff to you. I thought so. Then I read Two Types of Love: Compassionate and Passionate and learned I was right. Essentially, research has discovered that being kind and caring is different from being hot and heavy. This is a truth I grew up hearing in church.

photo-24787605-young-carpenter-with-measuring-tapeIt has to be discussed though, because while we all enjoy the idea of compassionate love, some people seem allergic to it. I suspect that’s because it is a lot easier to receive than to give. “I don’t have time,” “I worked all day,” “I’m not letting them dip into my pocketbook!” seem reasonable.

It’s not “normal” in our American society to reach past oneself and do for others on more than a superficial scale. People tend to look at me like I’m an alien and worry for my self-esteem when I freely give away my stuff. When I give of my time, some remarks sound as if they think I’ve done something heroic. 

Compassion. It’s a feeling, but can lead to making a real difference in the world when followed by action. Some “fluffy” famous persons were known to act on compassion. Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Jesus were a few.

We generally do not like the idea of being living sacrifices. Yet even more research tells us that acting on photo-24785445-male-washing-rag-in-faucetcompassion makes us healthier both physically and mentally.  Putting forward the best interests of others strengthens our resiliency to stress.

Behaving with compassion is an acquired skill. It can be taught. Like any other lesson, the student has to want it. Motivation to practice has to come from somewhere. A few terrific ideas are described in better detail in an article on another website. My paraphrase:

  • Search for what you and the other person share in common
  • Do not fear being negatively affectedphoto-24817199-a-woman-with-a-pity-face
  • Look at the story instead of stats.
  • Focus on the need; blaming lets us feel superior and show less tenderness and concern
  • Trust you are capable of making a difference
  • Notice and savor how good it feels to act in compassion
  • Don’t be a sponge or doormat; you matter too

Do we want this challenge? We might want to wear a fluffy “good person” badge, but compassionate love is apparently very costly.

Sorry, I promised you a fluffy post. Maybe next time.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

Compassionate Love’s Happy Valentine’s Day!

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden

portrait of a mid adult female with heart shape balloonValentinus, a priest in ancient Rome, may have been a romantic. Emperor Claudius II decreed that soldiers must remain bachelors, his rationalization being that men are easily distracted when they are married. Valentinus secretly performed marriage ceremonies in defiance, making himself worthy of execution in the eyes of the Emperor. He was put to death on February 14, 270 AD.

Or not.

The history of Saint Valentine is blurry. General agreement of his existence, although some believe he was actually two persons, helps him retain sainthood. In fact, he was bumped from Catholic liturgical veneration in 1969. At least one dozen St.Valentines are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Because there are so many, we could celebrate St. Valentine’s Day several times per year. It is the medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who may have invented our modern Valentine’s Day. In a popular fictional work, he linked romance with February 14, a St. Valentine feast day.

So how did Cupid end up on our sweetheart letters? The Roman mythological Cupid married a mortal named Psyche. Drama ensued of course, and eventually Cupid had to bring her back to life. She was thus granted immortality, and Cupid remains a representative of the blending of heart and soul.

There is one other active participant in the making of a day all about love. He is not a myth, fabrication, combination of identities, or even the hero of a nice story. He called himself “I Am” in front of some religious bullies and they killed him for it.

We still have our turn at struggling with the heart and psyche.  This is our opportunity to answer the call of Christ. If we do, eventually we will have our day of love when we see him face-to-face. No romance can match-up to what we will experience at his side. Now that’s the day worth celebrating for eternity.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Nancy

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline     1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from Kozzi.com