More threads by just mary

just mary

Contributor's note: The following was sent to me a few years ago from a good friend, I just stumbled across it today.? Unfortunately, I do not know the author.? However, the author is responding to three letters that were written to her and unfortunately I don't have those either.? :(? But I think the message is still pretty clear and I liked it.

Each of these women is really asking:

Can I trust my own instincts and feelings?
Can I trust a man to change?

So let's examine where our trust is best placed.? We'll start with instincts, with those "gut" feelings that give us more information than our data-glutted brains can sort through.? Our guts, when they speak, do so plainly, without apologies.? They say things like, "I don't believe him" or "he scares me" or "he'll hurt my kids again."? Our brains, on the other hand, weigh and measure: "but my kids are really attached," or "but * we've put in so many years already."? Our brains "but" us to death.? Our brains rationalize.? Our instincts "know."?

In all three of the above letters, the writers' instincts scream, "This relationship is not a safe, promising place for me!"? But their brains question those feelings and allow the promises of their partners or the opinions of their friends to blur their gut responses.? So they ask me to validate what they already know deep down.? They seek an "expert" voice, when, really, they need to respect their own.?

It takes a lot of courage to trust our instincts.? We're often more inclined to doubt ourselves, especially when we don't like what our instincts tell us; when a part of us wants to sculpt reality into a more pleasing shape.? But the danger in disregarding our instincts is cumulative. The less we acknowledge and act on the stirrings in our gut or the shivers down our spine, the harder those internal signals are to decode.? By the same token, the more we listen for and heed our inner voice, the more finely honed and reliable our instincts become.? The quality of our life choices then reflects the substance of this overflowing fount of knowledge.?

But what if we fear that our "gut" feelings are contaminated by past hurts?? How do we then know if change is possible for a man, for a relationship, for ourselves?? We may have instincts, but we sure don't have crystal balls.? We can, however, gauge whether someone is truly dedicated to changing or just paying expensive lip service to the idea.? That's because "dedication" is a BIG word and implies BIG, all out, consistent efforts.? Any slouch can say, "I've changed and I want you back baby." But what does that mean in concrete, practical terms?? Basically nothing. In the absence of a near-death experience or visitation from on high, people don't miraculously change.?

True change is a process, not an event; it occurs over time as a result of dedication to the job.? People serious about changing themselves or their style of relating to others work like mad at it.? They're able to describe which characteristics have sabotaged their lives, which new attributes they want to cultivate, and what kind of plan they've set in motion to implement their goals.? They get help, too * from teachers, therapists, support groups, books, seminars, spiritual advisors.? You can also see the changes in their actions, attitudes and behaviors.? Change is palpable, like a pulse.? Your heart and gut all know when you're in the presence of a changing individual.? And you know when you're not.?

When a woman refuses to trust a lover who says he has changed but shows no evidence, she is not being squeamish, she is being wise.? Trust must be earned.? As a therapist, I often advise unhappy couples to begin counseling, since long-standing problems left unaddressed will escalate.? But counseling is not a panacea and won't benefit the relationship unless both partners are serious.? There are times, especially after a man has fled or been booted out the door, when he will suggest counseling as a means of saying, "Let me put on a good show for you until you take me back." But, without other unequivocal proof of his self-motivated wish to change, his allusion to counseling is usually a red herring.? On the other hand, a man's stubborn refusal to go to counseling is always a red flag.? He's conveying, "I'm too scared and too rigid to change."? In these cases, quietly hoping for his metamorphosis is like hoping for an Elvis sighting.?

The aforementioned advice could just as legitimately be offered to men, of course. A crummy relationship requires dual participation, just like a good one, and we women need to take responsibility for our own complicity in scripting our dramas (Nauseatingly clich?, but nonetheless true.).? Unless we explore how we've contributed to these plots and take steps to become more evolved, we'll just keep repeating the same frayed, self-defeating dialogue in our next relationships.?

Just remember that your "gut" will always help direct you if you're willing to trust it.? When you keep paying careful attention to your inner voice -even if it begins as a tiny whisper - that murmur will one day turn into a powerful roar.


iam the complet oposite i always react on gut instinc and end up getting it wrong. and when i sit and i think clearly about it i realise why
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