25 April 2012

Ladies, Let's Be Better :)


I hope this won't send any bad vibes by me pointing this out so bluntly, but I think some of us women have a problem.  At least a lot of us do.  I've just seen way, way too many of us do stupid things & make bad decisions when it comes to relationships.  And I did, too.  (Oh my.)  And mostly, it's because we are often times SO nice and SO loving and forgiving and it can often work against us when that is not coupled with confidence and strength and a clear vision of the kind of woman we want to be and the kind of man that we want to be with.

SOOOO...we end up putting up with men who aren't marriage-quality or that don't even treat us well.  We fear that we'll never meet anyone else.  And we end up thinking less of ourselves and thinking we should just stick it out or that things are still good (despite horrible behaviors such as A, B, C...Z).  And even though we are in situations that seem so ridiculous to any outsider, in the moment....we can be BLIND!  So let's change that ! :)

Here are a few ideas:
  • If you are dating a man who is abusive to you verbally or physically, END THE RELATIONSHIP and for heaven's sake, do not still "desire" his love or his approval.  PLEASE. Believe that you deserve more.  
  •   If a man tells you he just isn't ready for marriage or a relationship or just isn't ready to commit.......SAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH, AND GOOD BYE!!!   I have seen WAY too many women stick it out, hoping that he just needs more time, making the whole thing even more difficult on him, making him second guess his decisions, etc.  All along, the woman's self worth is going through the shredder and she feels more and more desperate and needy to be loved by this man who is trying to tell her the answer is "no".  I always say that NEWBORNS need to be baby-sat.  Not 30 or 40 year-old men.  Let them figure out their lives on their own time at their own pace, without you standing by and waiting/hovering/pressuring.  If you have to convince someone or talk them into it, deep down you'll always wonder.  I say end the relationship and find a man whose timing matches yours.  
  • If a man you are dating has cheated on you or is even dishonest with you about where he is, who he has been with, etc..........cancel any and all plans to stay in that relationship & feel grateful that this leaked out now instead of after marriage.  I have seen WAY too many women continue to date men who have cheated on them and they actually even still long for him to give them love and attention.  BE BETTER THAN THAT.  DO NOT DESIRE DISHONORABLE MEN.  

Ladies, BE STRONG and know that you can & will meet someone better if you take the actions necessary.  I am rooting for you!!!  Just remove yourself from bad situations and focus on being a better, stronger, happier person and soon enough you'll be aligned with other people who share your ideals.  I don't think we always realize the amount of control we have over the kind of men that we attract.

Has anyone been stuck in a situation like this?   I think it happens to all of us at some point in our lives.  How did you know to get out?

39 comments:

  1. Yep! Me! Except I had no idea until 5 years into our marriage. I got out of my marriage through divine intervention, a lot of help from professionals and church leaders, with love and support from family and friends and by trusting every fiber of my very soul.

    As I type this, a friend of mine is in a very abusive relationship... Emotionally, verbally, controlling, manipulative, etc. She knows it's bad, but she gets sucked into his words.... Unable to break free. I look at her with nothing more than love and think "what are you doing?! WHY are you still letting him control you like this?" she knows she deserves better, but she's been tested so poorly for so long, that she's starting to believe the horrible things he tells her.

    Of course I love her forever and always and my support for her never wavers, but I'm hoping and praying she can find the inner strength and respect for herself to say goodbye to him.

    No woman should ever be treated this way.

    Good reminders Mara! Simple brilliance.

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    1. **treated** not tested. Silly autocorrect on my iPhone. Sorry!

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  2. This post couldn't have come at a better time for me than this. Off lately, I have been left feeling unwanted in the relationship. Still I yearn for his love and attention. It's been so long that he has been cancelling on me and taking me for granted. This made me ponder if he really is the one. I too have been suffering from the fear of being unable to find someone at all. But I guess it is time to move on and hope for the best that is yet to come. Thank you Mara for making me realize the importance of self-worth and thinking clearly.

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  3. There's a quote I heard once that says "Society rises to the standards women set." I love the idea that as women we have a responsibility to hold ourselves up and encourage men to become their best selves. I also love a quote I found by Pope John Paul II that says "the dignity and balance of human life depend at every moment of history and at every point of geographical longitude and latitude on ‘who’ she will be for him and he for her.”
    I love this post and I think its such a necessary reminder ...because the things you say are easy to forget or ignore when you're in a relationship with someone you love who doesn't treat you with respect.

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  4. I agree with you. When I was in the dating world I remember trying so hard to fit a square peg into a round hole. When I found my husband, there was no struggle, he called when he said he would, asked me out on dates and wanted to be in the relationship. It was easy and I never knew I could be this happy. That being said, I didn't know that's what it could or should be like and I promise my 25 year old self would not take advice when dating the bad boys that I kept coming back to for more. Sometimes it's your journey to date the bad ones so that you know what the good ones look like!

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  5. P.S. No woman should put up with abuse or cheating. That's not what I meant by bad!

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  6. I just want to thank y'all for creating such a comfortable, open place for people to come for advice and encouragement. I've been fortunate that I've never been in a relationship like any that you described, but I know and love plenty of people who have.
    It's just wonderful what you're doing with this blog.

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  7. yes. not so long ago, i was in a year and a half long relationship with a man where we'd always talked about marriage. we reached the "point of no return" (where i was asking myself and him, "why aren't we moving in a direction?") and he finally proposed... only to freak out and take it back the next day. that was rough. i foolishly stuck it out another 7 months when i absolutely should've said "thank you very much, goodbye." i honestly didn't respect myself nearly enough and didn't have enough faith that the right person was OUT THERE. which, he was. i'm so thankful i eventually walked away because less than six months after i did, my now-husband and i went on our first date and married less than a year later.

    when a man "isn't ready" to move forward after you've fallen in love and been together for quite some time and he's older than 25, that's not usually a good sign. this is such good advice and i wish you guys had been blogging back when i'd been in the middle of my own experience! quite honestly "timing is everything" couldn't be more true and women shouldn't settle for missing marriage/family if they desire it. even if he's a great guy, he's not a great guy for you if you're waiting around for him to get his act together or make a decision and he's in a space where he simply can't.

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  8. So many of us have a story to tell because of what you said, we're SO nice and SO loving and SO forgiving because "we're supposed to be", right? We believe in repentance and we're supposed to allow others to repent. We keep sticking around because we want to be a kind and forgiving person (but the truth is, for me, that I was mostly a NEEDY person who still felt tied to him.)
    But what do you say to somebody who thinks that her experience is an exception to the rule and that he really is going to grow up and be worth it one day?

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  9. I was once this woman. I dated a man for over a year who couldn't stand to hear the words "children" or "marriage" come out of mouth. If I mentioned anything about either, he'd get this terrified look and either clam up completely or say something like, I don't ever want children. It took a lot of courage, but I eventually found it in me to ask him if we didn't want the same things, what were we doing in this relationship? When he didn't really have an answer for me, I knew mine immediately. We broke up and just a few months later I started dating the most wonderful man, 2 years later he's planning his proposal and we're incredibly open about the future and the family that we want, together. The good guys are out there, every woman just needs to remember that.

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  10. This is fabulous advice. Hear, HEAR, people!! I'm in a relationship with a great guy at the moment, and everything is so easy; it flows, we communicate all. the. time, and life feels so full. Hooray for waiting, sticking it out, and filtering the MANY guys who just don't make the cut. Thanks for your words, Mara!!

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  11. I must admit I feel a bit conflicted about the second bullet point. A relationship consists of two separate, unique individuals and naturally, those individuals will not always be on the same exact timeline for everything, including the timeline for marriage. If a man states - in no uncertain terms - that he wants to be married with a family in 3-5 years (but not this red-hot-second),should the woman walk away from a loving, beautiful, honest relationship just because she's ready for those things now? Women are (hopefully) taught that if they are not ready to have sex with a boyfriend, the boyfriend should be HAPPY to wait until she's ready. And if he isn't happy to wait, well, then he is a disrespectful jerk who should be dumped immediately. Are men not allowed to say "I'm not quite ready yet" when it comes to marriage? Now, I'm not saying it's OK for men to string women along for years by offering vague promises of future commitment, but sometimes I wonder if women should be a wee bit more flexible in order to incorporate the needs/wants of their partners into their plans.

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    1. Christina,
      I appreciate your comment because this is the situation I currently find myself in. I have been in both situation a and c before and it is not healthy. This situation is so different, however--it seems as if it's almost easier to justify in a way. But at the same time I agree with you that relationships always involve two people and that you won't always be on the same page--especially when it comes to timing. I guess the part of my situation that is so tricky for me right now is the fear I have from past experiences makes me want to run away from this one, but at the same time I wonder if I really should just be patient--not endlessly patient of course, but give him more time. He is a really good guy who treats me well and we have a very open relationship. (See this almost sounds like a justification! And this is why I am having such a difficult time with this situation.) I would be curious to know what others think about the balance between waiting and "Thank you very much, good bye!"

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  12. Mara- I LOVE THIS! I sent you an email a few weeks ago on ending my relationship and being able to follow through with what I know is right. You gave me amazing advice and I'm happy to say that I HAVE followed through--and not looked back. Even though it's only been a few weeks, I could not be happier with my decision. I actually met a guy this week (totally unexpected) who, so far, seems like everything I want in a relationship. Even if he isn't the "one", I am SO grateful for a reminder, and the confirmation that I CAN find someone that I am so much more compatible with-and there is no need to ever settle! -Jaime

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  13. YES! I love this post. I really think we as woman contribute to there not being "good" guys out there because I accommodate so much destructive behavior. If we all raised our standards and removed the desperation I think the dating scene would really change and many guys would want to live up to a higher ideal.

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  14. Years ago I was in a relationship with an addict who was definitely not ready to commit. I made all the classic mistakes. Telling myself I could change him, not being willing to tell people I was in a relationship with him (thanks for that post yesterday.) Getting too caught up in how attracted I was to him physically. I waited and waited, and got stuck in a giant sucking vortex of hoping that things would change, while lowering my standards and ideas of what I wanted out of a relationship. With every moment and decision to stick it out I could literally feel my hopes and dreams falling away one by one. Rather than being in an equal relationship, in a marriage with kids, I saw myself becoming more and more what he needed (or what I thought he needed)and less and less myself. It amazes me now, years later and in a good marriage, how easy it was to get sucked in.
    I already know Mara's post will help someone, but I'm making this comment in hopes that someone else will see their way out of a bad situation. You Deserve Better!!

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  15. This is such a great message and I agree 100%...I am your newest follower! I would love if you would stop by my blog and if you like what you see please follow back :)
    Modern Modest Beauty

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  16. Yes, Mara! Thanks for speaking plainly. I especially like the part about not babysitting 30-40 year old men! Women do that too easily and then complain that they haven't married a real man who can lead out in the family. Do we really want to be taking care of someone in that way, always trying to help them feel better about everything? I agree that once this is apparent, it's time to move on!

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  17. I had to comment on this because the timing of this post is astounding. My boyfriend of 2 years and I broke up last night. He was under the "not ready for marriage" category. He has a lot of baggage (widower after only 7 months of marriage, and his wife passed after giving birth to their daughter)... we've been friends for about 5 years and started dating.

    in the back of my mind I always knew that it was a possiblity that he was not ready, especially after thet trauma of losing his wife. and in the last 8-9 months I've felt him pulling back from me, and me being "understanding" allowed it to some degree because I thought he was just going through a lot and didnt want to add to his stress. This went on until literally last night at 10PM - I had given myself another 2 months of working hard on our relationship before I would need to let go. But he initiated the conversation- and I didnt argue when he said we shouldn't be together anymore. I think this is a case that we are better as friends. He's a really good man, with an amazing heart and an outstanding father. He wants time to concentrate on his relationship with his daughter and find out how to balance that with the rest of his life.

    It hurts, but I know its for the best.

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  18. Yes! Yes! Last year I got strung along by a man who told all my friends he wasn't ready for a new relationship (he had recently been in a 9 month relationship when the girl decided to go a different way) so I gave him time and he kept me around. I was constant, loving, always there for him. He returned the love now and then, but definitely not to the extent that any woman needs. I got out of it involuntarily when he met a girl and was married to her in 4 months. He completely dropped me, even as an acquaintance soon after he met her. Now he's trying to establish some sort of friendship and communication again. As if I'm going to let him fool me again! Plus, remember, HE'S MARRIED! What an idiot. I totally deserve better. I wish I had received advice like this last year. Mara and Danny, you two are wonderful. Thank you.

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  19. I have recently gotten the courage (with help of a counsellor) to finally say No to a person who was like that. All the typical things you mentioned above were happening, but I still desired his attention. Now I'm trying so hard to NOT desire him, but jealousies still arise when I see him with other women or hear about it. How do you get what your head knows into your heart so you truly believe it? I am so truly glad I am not in that relationship, but the emotions are pretty difficult to get past sometimes- even if my emotions ARE lying to me.

    Thank you so much for writing your blog- it's great!!!

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  20. oh, gosh! i imagine there's a collective "yessss!" coming from the women of the blogosphere who are all too familiar with this desperate grasp on men who aren't good enough for us or who aren't ready for us! i'm "yessssss"-ing from my desk!

    i had a {mostly comical} conversation with some co-workers and clients today at lunch about whether or not my bar was set too high. for a long time, i felt like i had to defend my "bar", or apologize for it. but by now, by 30, i've realized how hard i work every day to make my life for myself - my career, my spirituality, my home - and how deserving i am of someone who has done the same!

    in theory, i know all this. but in practice, it's easy to make an exception to the rule when someone almost fits... when there's only a tiny red flag. thank you for the wake up, shake up reminder! "thank you very much and goodbye!"

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  21. Hi

    This may not sit well with you and your readers but I believe most people enter into relationships for the wrong reasons and very few of us ever experience the truest of loves.

    I have a blog which is my views on Life, Love and Relationships to help others. It is www.theSarayiahpost.com and you may find it interesting.

    Have a lovely day.
    Isaac Sarayiah

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  22. I just posted about this wonderful entry on facebook, but I had to comment, too. You have really put something brilliant into something easy to understand. The phrase, "when we know better, we do better," keeps coming to mind.

    I'm 25. I have countless girlfriends who are wonderful, thoughtful, great women. We all have stumbled and I see a few still stumbling with some of these issues. I pray they can learn the easy way and walk out before it gets so hard and painful.

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  23. Mara, thank you for this post. It can take courage to acknowledge that you are worth something and that you deserve better from people in your life, especially if the person treating you badly is your partner. I think it's important to acknowledge that there are men that find themselves in this situation as well as women - a close relative of mine found himself in a verbally (and possibly physically) abusive relationship and it took great strength for him to extricate himself. Perhaps the lesson is that we all need to be more compassionate towards not only others, but also ourselves.

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  24. Thank you for the insight. Oddly enough, I find that I am the person with difficulty committing to a relationship. Having been seperated & now divorced from a 22 year marriage, I suffer from fear at becoming too attached due to fear of "this" happening again. I'm in a relationship with a man who has been very patient with my feelings, but is encouraging me to receive love once more. I find that receiving is my biggest obstacle. Slowly, I am opening as I once more learn to trust not just my new relationship, but myself within the relationship. I truly desire love,joy, oneness, beauty. I read your blog regularly and set new and higher standards for myself. Please encourage readers not just to judge others, but their OWN abilities to receive love. I don't want to miss the love of my life. If my man hadn't "pushed" me to open, I may have once more created a love-less life.

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    1. Jopoke - Thanks for offering this perspective, and for being open about where you find yourself. Sounds like you've got a really kind and patient man you're with, and that's awesome.

      And I agree with you big time! It really does take some major introspection to figure out if you are willing or not to receive love, and committing to work on it if you are not. That's how Mara and I felt...we were committed to being totally open about giving and receiving love, even if a relationship ends...I'd rather have given my all to it so that there are no regrets. I hope you are able to continue to open yourself up to the possibility of love and trust with someone.

      But to emphasize again the point of the post...It's one thing to say "I want this, but I'm afraid" and another to say "I'm not interested in marriage". See also my response below to Lindsey about what we were trying to address here.

      Thanks for the comment, and best of luck finding love within yourself again! Please keep letting yourself open up to the possibilities.

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  25. I think a lot of women put up with bad relationships because they are afraid to be alone. But being alone can be the most awesome thing in the world. Maybe they need to watch this;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs

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  26. I agree that no woman should be abused, lied to, or strung along in any way. However, I think that some other parts of this post conflict with others things you have mentioned about forgiveness, love, acceptance. I consider myself a strong woman with high expectations for myself and what I want in life. However, after going to couple's therapy with my S.O. I realized that a lot of our problems were from my very high expectations that resulted in inevitable disappointment. There are so many gray areas in relationships (being abused, hit, etc. being a more obvious red flag) that I find it is often hard to tell if you are being true to yourself, or actually expecting too much of a person. We are all human, we all make mistakes...

    Just want to reiterate that abuse is not acceptable. But does anyone else ever feel that it is sometimes really hard to know when something is unforgivable or an honest mistake? I.e. freaking about marriage (maybe this means they are really thinking about the reality of it?), having transient doubts about your relationship and being honest with you about them (I know I go through periods where I question things), etc.

    I have a few friends who married men who freaked out about marriage at first. And usually the freak out was not about their future wife. One friend had issues with getting older & dying. To him, marriage represented one step closer to death. But he was very in love. Counseling helped him work this out. Another had always pictured becoming a famous musician and went to counseling to help him deal with the realities of life...

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    1. Thanks for the comment Lindsey. I think you bring up a good point, and this post certainly wasn't intended to tell people that if a person isn't perfect they should drop them.

      It is about the very clear signals people seem to voluntarily ignore (both men and women). The examples Mara used were 1) verbal or physical abuse, 2) Someone telling you they aren't looking for marriage or commitment, and 3) someone who shows you they aren't committed by being unfaithful or untrustworthy. These are cases where by their actions or words, the other party is telling you they aren't interested in commitment or a healthy relationship.

      And yet, men and women all too often stick those out hoping things will change.

      Additionally, I actually think this really is about acceptance. You're accepting them as they really are (someone who has told you or shown you they're not really in it!), instead of who you want them to be. That's acceptance! And just because you decide to leave, doesn't mean you do so hatefully. You just move on, and wish them the very best.

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  27. Wish I would have read this 18 years ago. Bullet point number 2 describes my situation exactly. Now 15 years into marriage and 4 kids, I am trying to work it out and hang in there for the kids but if I knew then what I know now... I would have moved on and found someone who loved me for me, not for the person I tried to become for him.

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  28. Thank you for this insightful post. It's one I will print out and give to my children when they become old enough to date. Kids sometimes listen to others better than to pestering mom (insert teenaged rolling eyes). It's important to listen to one's instinct...the quiet voice. If something just doesn't feel right, it's not. Thankfully I listened to mine while young and have been happily with the same man for 21yrs. I'm helping a dear friend leave a dysfunctional and abusive marriage (yay). When we were young, she was desperate to be married and have a family and, as such, explained away his harmful ways. I think she believed if she loved hard enough, he would change, which as we know doesn't really happen. Keep up your good words!

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  29. As the logo of this blog goes, THE BEST IS YET TO COME! Yes, women has always have a choice if she opt to and being a woman doesn't mean suffering and sacrifice. Seek for help if you think you are in a situation of difficulty. That is why there are famous women in business because they want to make a difference and wanted to be an inspiration to all.

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  30. I know I'm late to this post, but my question is what to do in a marriage when there's already children and THEN your spouse starts to become noncommital. How long do I hold on to hope that he will change and WANT to stay married. I know that people say you'll know when it's time to let go and although sometimes I just KNOW I'll be okay and possibly BETTER without him, I don't know that my children will be and there in lies my ambivalence. PLUS, I really DO LOVE him and wish we could spend forever together, but if his heart has changed, what can I do? Can't force it. Can only have hope, and move on within.

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  31. When my boyfriend told me he didn't believe in marriage, we broke up. It shocked him that I wouldn't talk about it, or try to negotiate or convince him. It was a simple 'we want different things'. After a week apart (which was a LONG time for me, but wise for him to suggest we left time before we spoke), he realised that he did want marriage, but not a big wedding hoopla (and let me assure you, I'm TERRIFIED of a big expensive horrible to plan wedding). I was willing to move on if he didn't want marriage (even though he did want the relationship - to me, marriage isn't something I can negotiate on)

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  32. Hello, I just want to say that you have been wonderful , I absolutely love your blog. But here's the thing, my boyfriend is wonderful, I mean he has his flaws but who doesn't.I find myself being the bad guy in this relationship. If I get mad at him I will slap him and sometimes I even say things that I know will hurt his feelings. I feel really really bad afterwards, but at the time it feels right. I don't want to keep hurting my boyfriend because he would NEVER hurt me intentionally and I know it. And I always try to get him to just leave me because I know that he deserves better. Any advice ladies????

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    1. Karion - you're brave and honest to admit that things are a struggle for you. I think that is a huge, huge step - so I congratulate you for that. I would say that you should be very aggressive about trying to learn about how to be happy and whole in your life - separate from your bf. Look up my post called "Become Your Best Self" and use some of those things to start on your healing process. Realize that there is a greater kind of love that we can all tap into - and that will be the key to healing and having a healthy relationship. But know that it takes practice and patience with yourself - and it takes some very deliberate work. This will not fall into your lap. To get there you MUST learn to react to things in a better way. Start small. Start with a little annoyance and see if you can pursue some kind of virtue in that moment (instead of flying off the handle). For example, pursue love, patience, forgiveness, compassion, benefit of the doubt, etc. Keep doing this over and over and over again. You literally can rewire your brain and after awhile your body and mind and heart will know very well how to respond this way. Keep practicing. This is the secret to having a very, very loving experience in life and in relationships.

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    2. Thank you so much Mara, I am sorry for not respnonding earlier for I am just now getting this reply. Honestly I don't think that I could have read this at a more better moment in my life. You are truly amazing. I am so happy that you responded to my message. I was really really hoping that you would respond to my message because based on your blog, you give the most profound advice a person could give. I feel very lucky to have gotten a reply back from you and I will definitely try what you have listed above. Please don't ever stop writing on this blog...not even when you're 100 because even then, your words will still feel as refreshing as a walk through a garden.

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