The Nice Guy Wants to Be Your Partner, Not a Leader

I stumbled upon this post (below) over at a forum I used to comment at frequently back in 2008 (a year into my marriage when I thought I could magically fix everyone’s marriage problems), called enotalone.  Back then it was a smallish community of regular commenters and we would try to help any new people who came there with friend issues, family issues, sex issues, or marriage problems.  I loved reading everyone’s personal situations, maybe its the nosy yenta in me, however, I loved being able to analyze a difficult situation and try to find (or listen to) the best advice for that person’s particular situation.

Not everyone seeking answers were ready to hear what we had to say about their predicament.  Much like in therapy, you cannot just disclose everything you see wrong immediately to a person or they’ll shut it out in self defense, and nothing good will come of their experience with you, or from your advice.  You have to slowly help them to see the real problem; you really have to help them come to terms with it themselves first.

What I found striking about this particular post (from May 2014)  is how honest this self-proclaimed (and proud?) beta-male is about his desire to be a partner, not a leader, in a relationship with a wife.

I emphasized the phrases that are particularly important to his particular situation, and want to go through each one to dissect exactly what is going on here in his life at that moment in time.  But first, his plea for help:

***

Hey everyone

I’m trying for some introspection here – before I start just let me say that I’m not looking for this thread for nice guys to complain about how they finish last.

So hey there….I’m a nice guy and I finish last :P

I’m on the heels of another breakup (long time coming) and just trying to…. get some perspective on my place in the dating world

For any of you who have taken any interest in the Mayer/Briggs personality test, I’m an ISFJ – for the uninitiated, that’s a uber-responsible softie with some other annoying attributes – I was fascinated when I took the test, as it nailed me to probably 90% (I’m an ISFJ that will actually communicate with you and a few other discrepancies)

So my ex and I made the call to separate a few weeks back. There were numerous reasons for this, many boiling down to simple incompatibility:

She’s very high energy and an extremely outspoken and self proclaimed Alpha female whereas I’m a softer spoken artsy type

We didn’t have anything in common that we enjoyed doing together and conversation was really really hard. I found her overwhelming and she found me reeeaaally boring ( I’ve never had that with anyone before)- this one was the main factor as we just didn’t have fun together

Her opinions are hard and fast whereas I’m more….tender I guess towards other peoples opinions and perspectives

We recognized these and our other differences early on and thought we’d be able to make it based on the other attributes we liked about one another. Over time I found her very critical and overwhelming and I would more and more often become anxious and stressed – in all honesty I should have had better boundaries and left ages ago

Fort the last two years we were embroiled in a crazy roller coaster ride with her teenage daughter, when the fog lifted and we had some time to really re-examine us as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.

Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male, more of a challenge, more of a ballbuster (I don’t know how to be a challenge with the huge demands of the family). I understand her wants, but feel they would make more sense were it to just be the two of us, or with a few less kids – it was exhausting.

So much of the literature around this sort of thing will say, be a challenge to your girlfriend, to your wife, always leave her wanting, give her two signs of affection for her every three….that sort of thing.

I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

I’m the typical ISFJ guy who will make sure everything runs smoothly, show my love, support you and give you my last quarter cup of Starbucks if you finish yours, you an trust me with your life and your heart.

So….I think I’m just trying to process, my ex has said before to me “you get so lost in us” (meaning the family) and I definitely did, for a long time I was leaving work 2-3 times a day to check on her daughter, we’ve done eating disorder, self harm, suicide ideation, tons of police visits…. I could go on, it’s been a rocky ride, stressful ride. I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades. It felt like a bit of a catch-22 as she’d tell me not to get lost in everything, but she was very demanding (also self proclaimed) and the needs of the family were very high so I didn’t really know how to NOT get lost in everything.

I’m rambling, I guess where I’m at is I’m not sure how to take this (there’s a ton more details, maybe some of you remember some of my posts back in January) but I’m not sure if I went wrong picking someone extremely incompatible with me? Maybe I should have held out for a sweet gentle librarian or am I too “Beta” and gentle which is a turn-off?

If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly, so as time went on, I voiced my needs less and less. This was a point of frustration for her, but when I explained that it seemed pointless to do so because she’d just shut me down….she would shut that down too……

Is there a place for Beta guys? (as we are called), some people would say “nice guy” but I find that that moniker also includes, possessiveness, passive-aggressiveness and shut off emotions (none of which are me)

I get why women would go for the confidence of the Alpha male, but dang….I’m just not at this point in my life and never have been, I was a quiet baby, quiet kid, etc, I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Or maybe I was just with the wrong person way too long, trying too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole, I don’t know.

Any thoughts on my rambling mess?

Thanks”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

First, there is nothing wrong with being a quiet, introverted, or “gentle” male, these qualities do not necessarily have to mean that a guy is feminine (emasculated) as well.  Alpha and beta are much more complicated that what most people seem to try to confine their definitions into.  The best and most simplistic manner I can possibly attribute to what is “beta” is an attitude of deference or subservience to a woman’s opinions, her needs, or her desires.  A kind of lack of confident authority or capable masculinity in a man.  Being too dependent on her happiness for his own happiness… allowing her to run and rule the family while he takes a back seat as a pseudo-equal partner, or because she leads better “makes better decisions.”

I give this guy a lot of credit for being honest and self-aware enough to admit that he actually doesn’t want to be a leader… most men who have been groomed into this kind of equality-type marriage adamantly assert that there shouldn’t be a leader (that somehow they both manage to lead and no one follows – yea, right) because they are both equal partners in the marriage.  Society has purposefully created these “beta” males, destining them for unhappiness as they strive for niceness and peacefulness, to be partners instead of leaders in their marriages.  However, no one endures the pain and frustration throughout life like the beta male does.  Let’s take a look at the emphasized sentences a little closer:

1) “as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.
Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male”

He doesn’t give their ages, but a single man who has taken on a woman with 5 children is only a plight a beta male would put himself through… the self-sacrificing, self-effacing giver who prefers to “do the right thing” for someone else, but never for himself (or always puts himself and his needs last).  Forever seeking to be the hero in order to mask their lack of real authority or tangible masculinity in their relationships, in classic white knight or beta fashion, he “threw” himself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of his “partnership.”  Men who have been brainwashed by society to be “beta” believe that the crucible of true masculinity is in how much he can give, how much he can bleed for his partner and children, how many of his needs he can sacrifice, no matter how unappreciative or nonreciprocal his wife (ironically and supposedly his “equal” partner) is.  The problem is that women typically do not appreciate all that the self-sacrificing beta male does, she becomes accustomed to taking advantage of all the “sacrifice” he gives without having to pay anything herself for it, women will use this kind of man (for his goods and services) for a long time, but he will never win her respect and thus will never capture her raw desire.

2) I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

This makes me so sad.  I think very few men had a good example of a father-figure in their life who exhibited what God truly intended for a man to be while growing up.  Most fathers are likely too passive, allowing the wife to be the true leader, while he is simply a figure head, pseudo-leader of the family to outsiders… behind closed doors, she is the one who leads.  When children (especially boys) grow up in this kind of family environment, they hear all these mixed messages (in church) about men being the spiritual head or leader of the family, and yet they watch day to day reactions where their father submits, defers, and is subservient to their mother who essentially runs their Matriarchal family.

This thus creates men who grew up with beta fathers, who in turn will produce more beta boys.

Boys desperately DESPERATELY need fathers who are strong, masculine, capable and confident in their God-given position to LEAD their family.

3)  I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades.

This again, depicts what is the crucible to a beta male of what represents true strength or masculinity – his ability to support her and her kids, to be there for her and for them.  He sacrificed his own time and energy in this relationship (that was not even a marriage, and to kids who are not even his own), thinking it was the epitome of being the “strong male” that she’d eventually desire.  He rationalizes that (based upon all his love and dedication and sacrifice), he is her hero and should be (at the very least) appreciated as such.  But do beta males ever get appreciated for all that they are willing to do for a woman (and her 5 children)?  No….  Their reward (this is harsh but so true) is a very unfulfilled or nonexistent sex life, or her cheating on him with an alpha-type male (more common than you’d think), or her using him for years for resources, money, housing, or emotional support, or parenting her fatherless children (as in this case) only to leave him after the fact because she’s finally realized she desires someone more alpha.

Women like this know they desire someone more alpha, but they are not against using a beta male for as long as he allows himself to be used.

4) If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

This is a common problem with men who have a skewed view of alpha vs. beta.  There is no one cookie cutter creation for what makes an alpha.  Every man is different, and it is a journey a man has to travel on his own, with God, to find his own identity.  It is probably the most difficult life journey any man has to undertake in order to realize his full potential to be what & who God intended him to be.

But believing that becoming “alpha” will somehow compromise his true “beta” self, he is undermining any advancement in personal growth, healthy boundaries, or even spiritual growth as he forgoes learning to acquire real strength and develop authentic masculinity.  A healthy, strong, masculine man does not allow a woman to use him in such a manner.  Such a parasitic relationship is not what God intended for him to “endure” in order to achieve a kind of “holy” sainthood for his sacrifice and dedication.  Having strong boundaries, a strong sense of self-respect and healthy pride in himself, a confident assertiveness, and a clear mind that can see a situation for what it is and be able to avoid a woman’s petty manipulations – these are all qualities of a healthy “alpha” male.  He does not need to change his innate gentleness or kindness, he just has to make sure he isn’t ruled by these qualities.  He doesn’t have to become some kind of “ball-busting” asshole like he says she would prefer.  While many criminals, sociopaths, and yes, assholes would be classified in the alpha category (and have the women to prove it), they are only alphas because they exhibit these traits (or take them to unhealthy extremes), not solely because of their anti-social behaviors.

5) I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly

Another failure of the beta male, is to be “forward” with a woman on what he needs or wants from her, to try to explain or break-down logically how a reciprocal relationship should work.

Women (like any human with a conscience) understand how reciprocity works, it is simply that they feel they don’t have to abide by those particular rules when it comes to nice beta men.  A woman who picks a beta man is not picking him in order to fulfill his deepest desires and fantasies, she is picking him for what HE can do for HER.  It is Emma Watson’s HE FOR SHE in real life played out day-to-day.  HE has to cater to HER, HE has to be there for HER, HE has to put up (or shut up) for HER… and so-on and so-on it goes.  When or if he starts to feel like it is a little one-sided and tries to explain to her about reciprocity, she plays dumb, doesn’t “get it,” and as in his own example he gets “shut down fairly quickly.”

She just doesn’t want to hear that he has needs, too.  It’s HE for SHE remember?

6) Is there a place for Beta guys?

There is “a place,” however it is not a place he wants to be, because being beta is never going to be fulfilling for a man, he will always feel a tug that something isn’t right, that his true self is somehow being repressed or even oppressed by everything and everyone in society.  He will always feel (unless it is extremely repressed) that he is somehow falling short, failing to be a true man.

There are many men who have found their place and lived the life as a beta man, husband, and father… and they often also find themselves waking up to a woman who doesn’t desire them in that raw sexual way, or who tells them she has never loved them to begin with, or who constantly disrespects him or undermines him in their marriage.  Again, it is simply not a place he wants to be in.

7) I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Possibly the most wonderful example of true masculinity depicted in literature is that of Jesus Christ.  His unswerving strength, His confidence and capability, His boldness and courage, His assertiveness and toughness – all these masculine qualities were matched with calculated compassion, gentleness, love for children, joy, peacefulness, understanding.  He was not an asshole, nor was he a blubbering emo.  He was not merely a dutiful, quiet beta – He had much too much gumption and gall in fighting with the Pharisees than to be a compliant “peace at all costs” beta.

He stood up for what was Truth, always exhibiting what was the opposite of cowardice.

Which, when you really look at it, a beta male is afraid… afraid of his own masculinity.  Society tells him its too dangerous, undesirable, or even wrong.

But men, nothing could be further from the Truth.

Meet the Newest Little Member of Our Family

tupac tupac1

Yesterday we embarked on a 19 hour journey to pick up this adorable, energetic ball of JOY puppy!  Our newest member of the family, “Super Dog!”

We all woke up around 3:30AM, had everything already packed and ready to go, jumped in the car and head off at 4AM to beat the traffic in our surrounding cities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made a stop in Round Rock to eat some awesome breakfast tacos.  If you’ve never had a Texas breakfast taco, you are missing out on something amazing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was one of my husband’s favorite restaurants that he went to growing up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The baby had his own toy dalmatian to play with…  happy baby!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Donut stop!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Everything really IS bigger in Texas….  The famous Round Rock donuts (Texas-sized) are great to share with friends.

Do Not Eat Alone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We passed miles and miles of country farms and fields… Texas country is so beautiful.  We were supposed to sleep during the drive, and the baby actually did – for almost the entire trip that baby slept beautifully!  But my son and I were too excited to get any real sleep –  everything was just gorgeous!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is nothing quite like small town living.  If you’ve never grown up in a small town, you might not understand what I mean, but having a community of people who know you – when you know you can’t go anywhere without running into someone that you know, its just a sweet existence that city living cannot replace.  Growing up, I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone we knew, friends, family, parents of friends, teachers from school (lol try to explaining why you aren’t studying for a Chemistry test to your Chem teacher who sees you out at a fair with friends!).  You’d see coaches while you were trying to eat pizza and drink sodas… church folk, and even your pastor!

Talk about accountability.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We finally got there!  The puppy was so sweet and took to our son immediately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The drive back took almost 10 hours because of stops and visiting with some family (Great Grandparents) along the way.  I had no idea traveling with kids would have so many potty breaks – it was hilarious!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The puppy was so cuddly I couldn’t believe it – so different from a cat!  It slept most of the way, when he wasn’t cuddling with us… only threw up once in the car (at the beginning of the trip back), and didn’t have ANY accidents!  He knew to wait until a rest stop to go in the grass smart pup!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And the baby still had his own puppy to hold….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sunset on the way back was so peaceful and a perfect ending to a long long long trip in the car with 3 littles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we finally got home around 10:30PM, this is what the puppy ended up looking like – asleep on the floor board and hard to wake up (traveling is hard you know?).  LOL  So cute.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And now… we’re officially a DOG family!  <3

Vintage Earrings $7.99 – Demurely Sophie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Earrings are now up on my business website, http://www.demurelysophie.storenvy.com , $7.99 each, each pair is unique and beautiful!  Demurely Sophie is based here in Texas, you know you’re getting quality when you buy from us, we will ensure it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cobalt Blue Lace Top – Demurely Sophie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, this photoshoot was a couple weeks ago… and it was the morning after a grand total of 3 hours of sleep the night before… lol.

This is a long, simple, stretchy tank in beautiful cobalt blue with a vintage lace overlay.  So feminine, lightweight, and comfortable.  Created

Fits size 2 & 4 Womens or Size 1, 3, 5 Juniors

Material is made out of 58% Cotton . 39% Modal . 3% Spandex

On Sale for $10.50 

Buy from my business at my website:

http://demurelysophie.storenvy.com/products/13673535-cobalt-blue-lace-top

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Boots not included. ;) <3

Problems and Pain

heathershappiness

“Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand it and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.  They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upone their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others.  I know about this moaning because I have done my share.

Life is a series of problems.  Do we want to moan about them or solve them?  Do we want to teach our children to solve them?

Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems.  Without discipline we can solve nothing.  With only some discipline we can solve only some problems.  With total discipline we can solve all problems.

What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one.  Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair.  These are uncomfortable feelings, often very uncomfortable, often as painful as any kind of physical pain.  Indeed, it is because of the pain that events or conflicts engender in us that we call them problems.  And since life poses an endless series of problems, life is always difficult and is full of pain as well as joy.

*

Yet it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.

Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure.  Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom.  It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.  

When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems, just as in school we deliberately set problems for our children to solve.  It is through the pain of confronting and reolving problems that we learn.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.”  It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.

Most of us are not so wise.  Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems.  We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away.  We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist.  We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain.  We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on.

We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.

This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.  Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health.  Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality.  In the succinctly elegant words of Carl Jung, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

But the substitute itself becomes more painful than the legitimate suffering it was designed to avoid.  The neurosis itself become the biggest problem.  True to form, many will then attempt to avoid this pain and this problem in turn, building layer upon layer of neurosis.  Fortunately, however, some possess the courage to face their neuroses and begin – usually with the help of psychotherapy – to learn how to experience legitimate suffering. In any case, when we avoid the legitimate suffering that results from dealing with problems, we also avoid the growth that problems demand from us.  It is for this reason that in chronic mental illness we stop growing, we become stuck.  And without healing, the human spirit begins to shrivel.”

from The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Thrifty & Chic – Blonde at Home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I often do my highlights at home myself… the price, even at the most cost efficient salon (that is still good at obtaining a beautiful blonde) is painful for me to try to justify to myself.  Now that the majority of my hair is blonde, paying the same (full) price for highlights when it is really just root touch up and a slight bleach wash to brighten the color is a harsh pill to swallow.  I used to go back before I figured out how to learn to do it on my own (youtube), and I would stretch out my salon visits to 2x per year, and for $60 each visit, this came out to only $10 per month to maintain great hair (but then you add the tip, and I always tipped really well since the dye and processing – for them – took 4-5 hours – which was ridiculous).  I can manage to do my own hair now in about an hour max (or two 30 minute sessions in two days).  The roots get a little strawberry blondish the first couple of days, but using a purple shampoo gradually removes that hue to a more natural, subtle blonde.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By far, the most effective method is to do gradual, simple highlights using a Frosting Kit (I use Clairol Frost and Tip – Nice & Easy), and getting used to using a cap which creates the best highlighted look if you’re a beginner.  This is also the best method for not getting any orange hue since the sections are so small and spread out due to the cap, and works even for darker hair.

If you do manage to have a horrible bright orange experience, it is simply because your hair has not processed enough to achieve a greater lightness.  Doing a double process (bleaching again) is risky but doable if you have healthy, strong hair.  Double process (bleach again), it will be a strange yellow or even baby yellow if left on long enough, and then use a toner or simple Champagne blonde/Ash blonde, Natural or Dark color over to come out with a toned down hue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sponsoring and Modeling Material or Merchandise

I have had several emails in the past few months and recently requesting me to sponsor a person’s or company’s products through either blogging about their products or modeling their clothing or hats.  I thought it would be easier to create a post about this, to explain an official policy for future interested partners or companies.

This is my creative outlet blog, not a business blog.  I have tried to start a very small business of making baby, girls’, and women’s clothes, however, with sleeploss and being a full-time mom, I haven’t had the energy to devote sufficient time to that business yet.  There have been several weeks in a row now where our baby woke up every hour or 2 hours during the night, and I am the kind of person who desperately needs 6-8 hours to function.  I’m not drinking real coffee (and decaf just isn’t enough) due to breastfeeding, and do not feel like a real person until after our quiet time/naptime.  However, with that said, I only model the women’s and girls’ clothing I make because they are my creations and my personal business.

In order to sponsor any products, goods, or services offered through your company, I am extremely picky about what I am willing to support.  In order to keep with the integrity of my blog, I will only model or present products that I can fully back and that match the overall purpose of this blog.  A product may be great and may be something I’d even wear, however if it does not match with the overall intent of this blog (or my personal style), I will not feature it.

Any books, products, or services that are currently shown on this blog are personal favorites of mine, and fully backed or purchased by me personally.  My readers can expect only the best is presented here, and what I would want to represent my particular brand.

Advice For the Wife Who Doesn’t Love Her Husband Anymore

Many people get married for the wrong reasons… be it to get away from their parents, because they want to avoid being alone (aka: they’re not comfortable enough on their own as an adult so they want to codependently live with another), they are pregnant, or they are 29 and don’t want to be that single person still in their 30’s.

I’d say that women are more prone to marrying for the wrong reasons, but I’ve heard of many men doing it too.  Regardless, once a person is married, it’s my belief that they should do whatever they have to do to love that person that they chose, and to actively work together with them to embrace the life they’ve chosen.  And make it into the most beautiful life they can together.

This short clip from Dr. Laura’s old radio show touches all the key points of a wife, after 14 years of marriage, deciding that she never loved her husband to begin with, and that she just doesn’t have those feelings towards him of being sexually attracted or emotionally in love.

Nevermind they have 3 kids together… kids that depend upon their parent’s ability to love each other and make a marriage work.  She just “never loved him” to begin with.

How convenient.

For you singles in the dating market, beware of someone marrying you just because it’s the right thing to do.  Or because they’re afraid to be an old maid (they’re 29 about to hit 30 soon).  They are settling for you, and you will someday wake up next to them to find a wife that no longer wants sex with you, that tells you that they never did love you.

Grace in Crisis

morning beauty

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns in the story, always an ebb and flow to the pattern.  I’ve been thinking on crisis situations… our sweet elderly neighbor recently found out she has rapidly spreading and aggressive lung and breast cancer.  She went from being normal, living out her everyday life, fostering sweet greyhounds in her home next to us, going about her business… to sudden hospice care.  A retired police officer herself, she was a strong cornerstone for me… in the midst of feeling helpless against the growing hatred and misunderstanding society, she was such a rock.  Such a beautiful, strong woman. I feel overwhelmed and heartbroken in letting her go.  She loved us so much.  :'(

Her granddaughter has come down from another state, and has been helping wrap up all the details of her house and affairs, basically providing the hospice care herself.  She described her grandmother as a “hoot!”  And she still is even in her last days here.  A few weeks ago, when she was in the hospital having fluid drained off her lung, the nurses wouldn’t let her have a cookie.  “You have diabetes…” they said.

“I don’t think cancer cares, honey!”

*

I was reminded by a friend this week, when it all just seemed a bit much, that things come in seasons.  Apparently, when things get difficult, I try too often to “save the world.”  It sounds all good in intention, but it comes with a heap of responsibility – trying to take control over things I have no power (or business) in controlling.  Maybe you understand this, too?

I can’t stop people from dying.  I can’t be everywhere all of the time.  I can’t change a person’s attitude or pride.  I can’t “make” someone like me by being kinder, sweeter, or more gentle if they have their heart set in shame and blame.

I’m not talented enough, smart enough, or mature enough to affect any of those situations on my own.  None of us probably are, and that’s why we desperately need God’s grace in order to have grace ourselves in crisis.  All we can do is walk in God’s glory, allowing Him to shine through us – through our pain – to carry us when we are weak, and to hold us when we are overwhelmed.  Repair us when we are heartbroken.

In the word’s of one of the wisest women to walk this earth, the late Elisabeth Elliot,

elisabeth elliot

Elisabeth Elliot was a woman who understood what it meant to have powerful grace in crisis situations.  Losing her beloved Jim to the violent and rage-filled unreached population of the Auca Indians, whom Jim was passionate about reaching with God’s love and compassion.  Any normal woman would be outraged, lose it, be vengeful even, if she witnessed this play out – and she was there in the missionary camp, with their 10 month old daughter, very intimately involved with Jim’s ideas and plans.  Jim didn’t even get to see their daughter reach 1 year old.  The heartache, pain, and sense of overwhelming sadness in this crisis would be enough to shatter any woman.

But Elisabeth was so different.

elisabeth elliot1

In her godly maturity, she was able to offer grace to her husband’s murderers.  She stayed with the Indian population, continuing to help them even in her overwhelming grief.  She even lived with the tribe, among her husband’s murderers, for two years.

Some of her husband’s killers were so affected by her display of grace and love while living among the tribe in Ecuador, that they converted to Christianity.  Seeing her grace in heartache moved them, broke their own hearts, and allowed God’s love to penetrate deeply.

*

If you aren’t going through something difficult now, you either have or will be in the future, but carry Elisabeth’s words with you in your heart… reminding you to let go of interfering in God’s business.  To walk this road of life, one step at a time, to keep obeying God in the daily monotonous tasks, being faithful.

And to trust that God will give us the strength and maturity we need when it’s our time to face crisis, and that we can face it with grace.