DOES THIS MAKE ME LOOK TOO THIN?

As a diversion from the difficult and painful news we face everyday, I decided to go a little lighthearted for some relief.

     DOES THIS MAKE ME LOOK TOO THIN?

Whenever a woman looks into a mirror, the question that permeates her brain is:

“Do I look fat in this?”  It’s not even, “Is this an attractive outfit.” No, it’s always, “does it make me look fat”. Inevitably, the outfit is thrown off and another and another are tried on with the same plaintive moan – ‘too fat, too fat’.

I ask you, why aren’t women all over the US asking the real question…”Does this make me look too thin.”   I’M SERIOUS HERE.  Afterall, look at how unfeminine and unhealthy the likes of most actresses look. Not only are they starving themselves to look thin on camera, they are doing it to please men. But, when I speak with most men, they want a woman with some meat on their bones – a woman who is a real woman, not a coat rack – and a skinny rack at that.

And, who are these men who prefer skinny women anyway. They are producers and directors that never grew up – wanting undeveloped females gloating over them.  Or, they are gay men, who prefer to have their women look like young boys.  (Yeah, I know, this isn’t politically correct, but it happens to be true.)  

So, it is time for women, real women, to revolt. Ask the question:  “Does this outfit make me look to thin.”  And, if it does, honey, take it off, put on that flowered print dress and do yourself proud.

 

ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS – THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS

One of the things I have discovered doing years of therapy, and being a mother as well, is that suffering so often comes from refusing to accept what is.  We say things like, “I refuse to accept this.”   “Until he/she changes, I will not accept them.”   “I cannot forgive them for what they did 35 years ago, so I’m going to continue to be miserable.”

When we say or think this way, our lives become a struggle and very painful.  We also prevent ourselves from growing, changing and from allowing the situations that cause us so much pain to move into a less painful place.

When I say acceptance, I do not mean resigning yourself, which would result in continuing to feel sorry for yourself (a very non-productive state to be in). Acceptance is assenting to the reality of the situation, what is, without protesting or attempting to change it, allowing it to be.

When you can accept what is, amazingly what happens next in your life changes…for the better.  You free yourself from fighting yourself, your demons, others; anger diminishes and you free yourself to view life in another way.   You will find you have more energy because you have been using all that energy to focus on the negatives in your life and things you may never be able to change.

And then, forgive yourself for having wasted all that time,  for doing what you thought was right or even for what you might have thought was wrong.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  What it does mean is that you are a human being.  Humans make mistakes – it’s how we learn.  We didn’t come with manuals so we learn as we go.  Some of us have had great role models, most of us haven’t.   We are bombarded with social media, with advertising, news, movies, unrealistic expectations that make us feel we are failing; that we are not good enough.  Forgive yourself for buying into it all.  (Advertisers are betting that we will all feel less than so that we will buy their products to make us feel better – though it does not work.  But, it does make certain people rich.)

When you cannot forgive yourself, you continue with feelings of shame and guilt.  It’s hard to move forward and feel good enough and worthy if you are full of shame.  Eventually, you can do your best to forgive others.  The more you forgive, the freer and happier you become.

It takes time.  It takes some work.  Without question, resistance will come up.  Accept the resistance; it’s part of the process.   If you have been punishing yourself for years  and cannot accept your life as it is, it may take you longer than you would like to make the change.  But, the more you accept what is and that what others think of you is their issue, not yours, the easier life can be.  The happier and more satisfied with who you are happens.

I will continue to write more about this and the benefits of acceptance and forgiveness.  Look into it.  Try it.  All you have to lose is pain and suffering and so much to gain.

 

I HAVE TO STOP WATCHING THE NEWS

As much as I have been consumed with the news, politics, who is accusing whom these days, Trumps latest inane tweets, I have discovered that all this anxiety provoking information has done just that – made me anxious, irritated, angry and judgmental, no matter how much mindful meditation I do.   It has also done the same thing for everyone I meet or read on Facebook.

So, in order to maintain a sense of sanity and calm, I am limiting my exposure to the news.  No more Rachel or MSNBC, no more Sunday morning reporters and Congress people telling me how to think; Facebook on occasion, not hourly, occasional nightly news but not nightly.  I might even decide to abstain from Facebook as well.

I know that, somehow, I will be able to get whatever news I need to get whenever.  Everything is repeated more than a 100 times daily, so I’m sure I won’t miss anything.  I am a strong believer in a well informed electorate and that we must know what is going on in order to keep our country free and strong and respected around the world.

But, it has all gotten so out of hand.  With the 24/7 news cycle, and everyone posting, everything and anything has become news  There seems to be no significant difference between the importance of a missile launch by North Korea and the latest egg free scrambled eggs that taste like eggs; the devastating tax reform bills and the Kardashian’s latest shoe collection.   Everything has equal weight.  Too much information and too little substance.

Oh and everything is Breaking News – “Fly splats on windshield – Breaking News”.

And though it is not yet New Year’s, I resolve to watch less and less news, less posts and enjoy more Netflix, even though Poldark is off air for now. I will be reading more – fiction – meditating more and, hopefully, even staying off the cell phone more.

After 30 days, I shall report on how my inner and outer emotions have been affected by my own News Break. If you wish to join me on this endeavor,  I would enjoy hearing about your experience.

THANK YOU HARVEY WEINSTEIN

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT …

THANK YOU HARVEY WEINSTEIN…..

(A note – I wrote this before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, like Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda – their opinions matter and they are right, but it’s like you have to be a celebrity to have an opinion on this? Or expose it?  Don’t think so.)

Yes, thank you, Harvey Weinstein, the world’s current most famous sexual harasser.  In spite of the fact that you are a very sick man, you have really shone a spotlight on this issue.  And, we also know you are not alone.  Your compatriots in all businesses need to have the spotlight shining on them too.

Let’s be clear, in no way am I defending sexual predators or harassers.  They need education, training and some very heavy consequences.  And, so do women.   Everyday I am stunned by what is put out by the media on how women should look and act.  For the most part, it is men who are sending out these messages.  But, there are some female reality stars that truly are having too much negative influence on young women.  (I shall refrain from using names, but you know who I mean.)  They walk around half naked with absolutely showing no sense of self worth or dignity.  Wearing thong jeans and exposing yourself in public, taking nude photos and sexy videos and putting them online is not okay – and yes, you will be harassed because of it, right or wrong.  And, you will also be shamed – not your prettiest picture.

So, thank you Harvey Weinstein for bringing all this out into the open even more than it was.  However, after hearing that some 60 (I’ve lost count) women in Hollywood are accusing HW of flagrant misdeeds, it got to me – MORE THAN 60 WOMEN.  What the heck is really going on?  Did he have every young actress in Hollywood?  When did he have time to make movies?  If that many women knew, why didn’t anyone say anything? Why did it take an article in The New Yorker before there was any hubbub?   Why was it all ignored for so long?  (Apparently, there were a few muffled voices along the way.)

When a man, who has a home, an office, is married asks you to come up to his hotel room – aren’t you the least circumspect?  Were they all in a daze?  And, if you were in a hotel room, couldn’t you start screaming?  If someone started to molest you, wouldn’t you scream? Or was it because it was the famous Mr. Weinstein that you turned coy.  You were not 5 years old and told, “Don’t tell anyone, this will be our little secret.”  If he pinned you down, I understand, but that is not what most of these women said happened.

For better or worse, Hollywood has always had a casting couch.  They have always had the beautiful girl to flaunt and abuse.  Goes back 100 years now. And, abuse of women and girls goes back thousands of years in society.  Unfortunately, too many women have felt it was their only way to get ahead – talent or no talent.  The moguls will take advantage and get what they can get – as will most men.  It’s up to women to say no and kick them in the balls if you need to.  Anyone notice the old movie messages …. men seem to really love John Wayne – the man’s man.  His movies include him forcing women to kiss him and then noting how the little woman will just finally fall into his arms after he forces himself on her.  (“See women really like it.  No does not mean no.”)  Take a look at most of the movies, especially 50s and 60s (but it goes on now too) and you will see it was and is a man’s world and that means the man still  has the right to do what he wants to the ‘little woman.’  Why I was just watching reruns of Bewitched – one of my favorites – but in spite of the strong Samantha, she was still always trying to placate and please her man, who repeatedly said, “No wife of mine is going to work.”  [The messages we send to girls and boys!!!]

The law was and rarely is of help.  There was no such thing as marital rape until 1993 and though it is a crime, each state has different delineations. For example, in South Carolina, there has to be additional violence to the woman before it can be considered a form of spousal abuse or rape. (Just think about it – in order to get justice, you have to make sure you get beat up.)    Then we have social media. Even today, when a female accuses someone of molesting her, she becomes the victim again – she is maligned, shamed and can be destroyed if her accusations could possibly destroy some young man’s sports career.  And, just reporting a rape is like being retraumatized.  Having to take a physical after being physically assaulted is degrading, occasionally painful and often the victims are looked at by medical and police staff as being the real problem and not the guy who caused all of the trauma.

How many men are actually arrested and convicted of rape?  How many men are arrested and convicted of child molestation?  A recent statistic I saw stated that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators walk free.  Women are afraid to report for good reason.  And, out of 311 arrests made – 7 get a felony conviction and 3 actually go to jail.

But, the HW issue is another matter.  Too many women…too many people knew of his reputation and his actions.  And, without the magazine article, this would/could have continued.  Again, he is not alone.  He just did it so much!!!  If all the males who sexually harassed others in the workplace were put on trial – well, I guess it would only be women really running this country.  This issue goes to the highest office in the land as well.   But, women!!!  You anger me in your complicity.  In your failure to join together to come forward until you jump on the bandwagon only after someone else was strong enough to say something.  

There is a big difference here between women who have been sexually molested and raped by strangers, by family members, by bosses etc. and what happened with HW.  There are girls who are sold into marriages at the age of 13 to someone 30 or 40 years their senior and used as a slave.  Children who are repeatedly molested by a relative and can do nothing and no one believes them. These people do not get millions in a settlement from some rich entrepreneur.  These females are not famous and the pain and shame they carry all their lives can be debilitating.  Who will help them? 

In my practice, I still see young women who are afraid to speak up to their husbands or boyfriends.  When I ask the question if there has been any history of abuse or molestation, I am more surprised when the client says no than yes. It is 2017, not 1017 so why are these issues still so common place?  Why do women let themselves be abused?  It isn’t like we need the man for a paycheck anymore.  And, why would any woman vote for a man who has his own history of molesting and harassing women – even committing crimes against women (see his own words).  It shows a total lack of self respect.  It says you really don’t care about yourself and that you are not important and that the man is more important than you. 

I still have hope that things will change for the better.  Not all men harass nor molest.  Not all men degrade or think less of women.  And, it is time for both sexes to take a look at what the media is presenting to us as ‘normal.’  This is what impressionable minds, both male and female, see and what becomes the norm for them. Shows like The Housewives of ….you name the city.  The fighting and screaming that women do between each other and how these women act is deplorable.  The shows like Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Dr. Phil, couples airing all their dirty laundry and vitriol.  Marriage  Boot-Camp shows that depict horrible communications between people who supposedly love each other.  This is NOT normal and it is NOT okay.  Yet, people continue to watch and men continue to produce these shows and create anger, chaos and, typically, rotten solutions.  It may be entertaining, but it begins to permeate the subconscious and is reflected in our culture and our daily lives.

So, if you really want things to be different, start acting differently.  This goes for both sexes.  Women, have more self respect.  Don’t train your daughters to be divas who are second class citizens and think it’s okay for young girls to expose themselves.  It isn’t okay and it has consequences.  Don’t train your sons to be abusers and not to respect women.  Fathers and mothers set examples.   It all starts very early on.  (Who knows what Harvey Weinstein’s upbringing was like – OMG.)  And it is time to respect yourself.  Don’t patronize businesses that degrade women.  Don’t watch tv or movies that demean and demoralize women.  Be appropriate in your life.  And, don’t let the Harvey Weinsteins of the world get away with this… GET ANGRY, SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING.  You don’t have to wait any longer for 50 other women to come forward first.

 

 

 

 

 

What If???

I was just listening to a spiritual CD that said,  “When you know who you are, You’ll know what to do.” Huh?  What the heck does that all mean?  Knowing who I am?  I know who I am, blah, blah, blah.  I can always look in the mirror if I’m not sure. And, if I’m really not sure, I can ask my kids. They’ll be happy to tell me who I am – much to my dismay.

But, it got me thinking about meaning and purpose in life – in a different way.   Viktor Frankel in Man’s Search for Meaning,  basically said we need meaning in our lives.  We need purpose – that will bring us happiness.  To dovetail it with the Constitution, the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of purpose (Janeen Weiss, 2017).

My work has been helping others.  Be it as an attorney and now as a clinician.  People come to me with problems, pain, misery and the need for a safe place to pour their souls out to me and, wherever possible,  to fix it their pain.  (For the record, the thought that I have a magic wand and can fix all their issues is quickly dispelled.)

When we ask people about their purpose, what they want to do with their lives, typically, it has to do with helping others in some way.  That means that others have to have problems or difficulties in order for them to have a purpose in  life.  This means that things need to be bad or wrong to make you okay.  Think about that.  What does that tell the Universe to do – create problems.  For without them, who are you and what do you do?

When people make New Year’s resolutions, it’s often for peace, love, end to war and famine, no sickness, and on and on.  But…WHAT IF we lived in world where that truly existed.  No war.  Everyone was fed and clothed.  No gang wars. No warring tribes. No drug wars.  No sickness.  Acceptance of all.  No bullying or harassing.  No divisiveness among politicians.  No problems between parent and child, or between couples or friends or anyone.  No racism or religious wars.  No hurts.  No mental, physical or emotional illnesses.

If the world was exactly as you pray for, who would you be? What would your purpose in life be? Would you even have one?  What would there be for you to do?  You wouldn’t  need to rescue anyone.  You wouldn’t need to proselytize or convert anyone.  You wouldn’t hate anyone nor would they hate you for whatever reason.  There would be no one to heal, nor feed or clothe.  Countries would not try to kill each other or even consider weapons of mass destruction. No guns.  The second amendment wouldn’t even be a subject of discussion.   It would all be just the way it is – peaceful and loving – all the time.  Sort of like a Star Trek episode where they landed on a happy planet  (and you know how those ended).

Would we end up walking around like automatons or perhaps like certain religious sects that are regularly made fun of.  Where would our humor come from? Just what would  John Oliver or Stephen Colbert or SNL do to make us laugh?   Sarcasm and insult humor would be out of the question.   We would be relegated to slapstick and, of course, that would have to end with people not getting hurt in anyway.  TV would be…The Brady Bunch?  Leave it to Beaver?  Breaking Bad could not even have been conceived.  The 24/7 news would not exist, most likely (how wonderful that would be).  What would the news be filled with:  the weather, sports and maybe a cat up a tree and how it was lovingly rescued.  What about music?  Rap could become elegant sweet poetry.  And, if everyone was happy and loving all the time, where would the songs about unrequited love go?  There goes my rock ‘n roll.  Guess everything would be symphonic or just ‘Be Happy’, which would be titled “Already Happy.” It might be like John Lennon’s Imagine.  (But, there would have been no need to write that to begin with – just imagine that.)

Lawyers might still exist, but perhaps only to smooth the way say for a house sale.  Definitely wouldn’t get those high fees.  Courts would rarely be used.  Police wouldn’t need to carry guns and we probably wouldn’t even need police.  We might have ‘monitors’ to help people out should the need arise or to keep order in the event of a really good sale at Best Buy.   Armies – what for?

No fighting to get to the top.  Politicians would be honest (I’m falling down laughing right now, just thinking of that).  Congress would only need to meet if a new law arose.  No PACs or lobbyists.  Kindness and respect would prevail.  Everyone working together.  Religions would not need to exist – ah an end to the endless television preachers.  Your God would not be better than mine.

I am sure you can think of more.  But, what if this were really the scenario.  Where would you find your purpose?  What would you do?  I’m sure I would be out of a job? If no one had any issues and no one really needed therapy as they always felt supported, loved, accepted and there was no illness, I would be out of a job – and a purpose.  If no one was judged for the way they looked or felt or thought – a good portion of the world would be out of work – that would include you Tony Robbins.  All those self help books  – non-existent.  No more praying on people’s fears and insufficiencies.  No doctors – maybe an occasional injury, but nothing major.  Hospitals out of business.  Arms dealers, lobbyists out of business.  Pharmaceuticals almost totally out of business – unless they made feel good pills (oh, they do).   Healthy food – no rallying against chemical companies or meat eaters.

If you didn’t have to feed or clothe anyone, except yourself and your family and the occasional guest, would that work for you?  If you didn’t have to rally against a currently unjust corporation or government or ruling body, what would you do?  If there were no children starving in Africa, no  epidemics in the world, no elderly suffering from Alzheimers or other diseases, what would that mean – no Nobel prizes, no great honors?  No concerns about money or medical assistance.  Everything was provided and everyone was happy and satisfied all the time.

Our purpose and meaning is too often based upon the suffering of others.  In Judaism, there is the concept of Tikkun Olam – which means ‘repair the world.’’  But, if there was no world to repair, what would be the purpose?  Who would have thought of the phrase to begin with?

So, instead of looking at all these problems and issues as horrendous (and many are) or trying to rid the world of everything negative, you might want to look at these problems as your road to meaning and finding a fulfilling life.  Look at this as what is this doing FOR me instead of why do we have all this suffering in  the world.  We could discuss the reasons for suffering,  but it’s really man’s dualistic nature and society’s influence and maybe just our DNA that has brought us to this place.  There are plenty of books and research on that.

But, look at your life without any problems or issues. It’s hard to imagine this as we have so little framework.   It might just be a big fat BORE, and, a life  totally devoid of meaning or purpose.    Then again, it just might be a great retirement.