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Tag Archive 'truth'

Oct 02 2014

Reinventing Yourself

Published by under Knowing Relationships BLOG

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Sometimes I find the same basic idea in contemporary psychology and also ancient wisdom. So then I think there is a lot of truth in it. And then, when I find it in a quote by an artist I admire, I feel that I’ve found something especially trustworthy.   Here is the quote:

“We have to invent and reinvent who we are until we arrive at a self we can bear to live with and die with.”

It’s by the poet, Stanley Kunitz and I don’t know how he discovered the principle. I hadn’t heard it elsewhere. Usually what I hear is “Be true to yourself.” How do we reconcile those two thoughts? How do we reconcile “being true,” with “reinventing?”

Kunitz died in 2006 at age 101. He was twice named as U.S. poet laureate.  Younger poets made pilgrimages to be with him. I’m sure he practiced what he preached. In the quote, he was talking about how he became a good poet.

The more I thought about what he said, the more I felt that it also applied to becoming a good  partner. If you have a love relationship and the two of you are building a life together, all that he said about being a poet is also true for being a partner.  What’s true of creating is also true of co-creating.    Send article as PDF   

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Jul 23 2010

Tisha B’av and Jewish Grief, versus “Get Over It!” and “The Power of Now.”

By Philip Belove, Ed.D. ,,

“When I look behind, as I am compelled to look, before I can gather strength to proceed on my Journey” –Stanley Kuntiz, from his poem, The Layers.

This blog starts out with a story about an argument I couldn’t win. It ends with a teaser about the next blog entry, which will be about forgiveness.

But about that argument. It was difficult for me. I like to be an agreeable person and don’t like disagreeing. Yet disagreeing is a skill I feel obliged to practice, along with speaking up.  Still, I work hard to find ways to do it respectfully.  My commitment to being able to argue well is, in part I believe, because I’m Jewish. In our tradition, every word in the holiest books is surrounded by pages of discussions about what they really mean. Having your own opinion is an obligation of Jewish adulthood.

But anyway, the argument I had with the woman went like this:  Her new boyfriend told her about his grief for his ex. She said, “If you still have such feelings you aren’t ready for a new relationship.”  He said, “I still have grief and I might always. It was a genuine loss.”  She said, “Live in the present.” He said, “I can’t. I’m Jewish.” So they broke up.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

When All Else Fails, Tell the Truth

Published by under Advice

The premise of the Dating at Midlife research project is that as people go through a midlife transformation, they change the way they create intimate relationships.

It’s hard to catalogue all the changes. One of the big changes is that people become more honest with themselves. When I was younger, in a moment of supremely naïve arrogance I complained that I couldn’t understand why people found it so difficult to be honest with themselves. That was before I began my own midlife project.

Lying is a strange business. Many animals use deception for survival. A momma bird will pretend to have a broken wing to draw predators away from a nest. Many predators use camouflage to capture prey. Wild female birds will mate with one male but bond with another for child rearing. Among humans, there is no necessary connection between what is said and what is done. To deceive is natural.

And then there is television. Almost everyone you see on television including news people are actors. The more hours you watch television the fewer hours you are interacting with real people, people who aren’t always performing for you. Our infotainment culture has dulled our talent for truth detecting.

When we get honesty and fearless self-disclosure, we often aren’t sure how to handle it. We aren’t even sure we want it.

Most relationships are a cocktail of truth and lies. For example, less mature, and less honest people often perform a strange mental trick with their intimate relationships. They divide them into two opposing categories. Category one: predictable, but maybe dull. Category two: fascinating and romantic, but dangerous.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

How To Work A Room As A Midlife Single

Published by under Advice

I’m a bit of an introvert. That means that my consciousness is captured by all the information coming in at me. An extravert would be charged up by a room of 50. I am overwhelmed. So I had to think through how to handle myself in a setting like that. How do I meet so many new people. How do I enjoy myself. Here is some of what I’ve learned.

Someone told me once that the word, “courtesy,” contains in it the word, “court.” Courtesy is how people were supposed to act when they were at a royal court. It is a kind of social ritual, a set of rules for how to act regardless of the personalities of the people you are dealing with. Such rituals make social dealings go smoothly. That is the purpose of courtesy.

The most important rule of courtesy in a large social setting is the rule that anyone gets to talk to anyone for three or four minutes.

What happens in the first four minutes of a conversation? Actually quite a bit. You usually learn someone’s education, social class, and personal taste and values. You learn how well they listen. You learn how generous they are interpersonally.

The other thing you are doing here in using the four minute window is stepping past “the stranger threshold”, that built-in instinct we have which keeps us away from strangers. Once the two of you have stepped across the stranger threshold, you can speak to each other again easily.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 20 2009

Truth, Daring and Dating at Midlife

Published by under Advice

Jerry, who is a man I’ve worked with, told me this story. Maybe it was an off night, or maybe it was second or third in a series of off nights, he wasn’t sure, but while he was in bed making love to his sweetheart, whose name was Angel, Jerry found himself thinking about calling his old buddy, Jennifer, for a friendly evening of sex. He caught himself rehearsing what he would say to Jennifer, who was bound to ask him, “Aren’t you involved with this new woman?” He heard himself sorting through possible reasons for not “busy” next Friday, or maybe Sunday night. He watched himself working out his ethical justifications. The only thing that was different from what he had done in the past – could it have been fifty times? More? –  was that he saw himself doing it and got scared.

Jerry was 48 and divorced twice. That in itself was not remarkable. Half of all marriages end in divorce and two-thirds of all second marriages. He’d been single for seven years with two major (two year long) relationships and a handful of minor encounters. You could say he was a veteran of the midlife dating scene. Angel was 45, with similar statistics.

There’s an old Irish joke that goes, “When all else fails, tell the truth,” and next morning, after breakfast, Jerry was scared enough to try it. He said to Angel, “I didn’t very much like our love making last night.” He left out the part about Jennifer.    Send article as PDF   

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