So here I am, along with many other single men and women, looking for that person that will be a good fit. Often, we may find ourselves caught up in the looks, charm, and excitement of an individual; but is that what you are really looking for? If you are serious about finding that good fit it is best to go down deep and think about the values and the character traits that you would do well to be around. After all, charming will only get you so far when you are looking for that quality of fair mindedness of sharing house work or that quality of compassion when you are hurting. I like to have my clients make a list of their values before they begin dating so that they can be aware of what will be really important as they go forward. Time is the teller of truth, so it is essential to give the relationship time before giving away one’s heart.
Research has demonstrated that happy couples commonly have the healthy qualities of respect, trust, honesty, fairness, responsibility, and good communication skills. If you are struggling with any of these traits, you may want to consider some self-improvement before trying to find that right person. It is just as important to be the right person as it is to find him or her.
As I approach my 59th birthday I am surprised to experience myself so at peace about it. The initial empty nest experience of my early fifties left me evaluating my life and all of my past decisions, working through more regrets then I cared to. However, I find my later fifties gives me a feeling of acceptance of where I’ve been and how that contributes to the self-assurance of who I am today. There is a grace and confidence at this age that I was not expecting. I am finding it so very true that for those who try to go through life awake and examining their life along the way, there will be an extra strength that did not come with youth, but was earned over time. Not sweating the small stuff is much easier and the gift of recognizing what is truly important and how short life is makes this age special in different ways than earlier years could realize. Is this wisdom?
In general, Native American cultures respect their elders for their knowledge and experience. In traditional Native American families, it is actually considered the elders responsibility to pass down their wisdom and learning to the young. Elders are held in such esteem that caring for them is done by all members of the tribe. In Japan, there is a “Respect for the Aged Day.” So if you are young live your life now in accordance with how you want your epitaph to read when you’re ninety. And take some time to learn from and care for your elders. If you are an elder reflect on what you have learned and give the gift of passing it on.
To my horror, I once caught myself using the phrase “they Jewed me out of it.” I was shocked by my own words, and wondered how could someone who has always prided themselves for being fair and open-minded say something so overtly prejudiced and wrong-headed?
This thought connected to Jewish people being able to squeeze a dime out of a nickel goes back to the comments I heard as a young child about the Jewish family in our neighborhood. I believed I had moved past those stereotypes, but I realize now that prejudice is something we have to continue to be conscious of. The ideas you hear as a child are always trying to push their way back into your head.
I often ask myself now, what kind of stereotypes do we fight regarding gender and how do they affect our marriages? For example, a young boy might often hear that only girls cry, and they cry because they are weak. When that boy becomes a man, how will he see the strength that comes from vulnerability, and how will he be open to understanding those tears at a deeper level? If a girl is exposed to negative comments about men being emotionally clueless, how does she grow to respect men? How does she see the emotionally intelligent man in front of her? The problem with stereotypes is it puts people in a box and allows us to simplify whole groups of people, but we are much too complex for that approach. Stereotyping robs us of the opportunity to know the individual in front of us. While we may all be tempted to stereotype now and then, we must be aware that as individuals we are multi-faceted and cannot be put into a pot.
Depression is more of a problem amongst men than we realize. Depression in men is generally under diagnosed because most men are compelled to escape the vulnerable feelings that come with this sad and hopeless emotional state. This leads them to act out through substance abuse, withdrawing, having affairs, overworking, and/or aggressively acting out against others or themselves. Unfortunately, many boys in our culture are still being raised with emotionally unavailable fathers while being encouraged to pull away from their mothers. This environment severely thwarts their ability to be connected to their vulnerabilities and emotions, which leaves them surely to suffer from depression in their adult years. It is the reconnecting to their emotional life that gives them back their life. With a desire to want something better, a willingness to look at the barriers like false belief systems, raising their awareness, and practicing a different way of being, many men successfully come out of their depression to go on and live a richer and fuller life.
Married To The Enemy is about the reality of how our culture divides the two sexes by arbitrarily assigning extraneous gender traits that ends up leaving many men and women not knowing their authentic selves and not knowing how to relate to the other. This gender filter can create a human disconnect that is so detrimental to the friendship we all desire in our mate. In the book we try to first demonstrate the reality of this chasm, then we discuss ways to release the extra gender baggage and open the door to value our partner first as a human being who also struggles and desires to find happiness in his or her life. Ultimately, realizing the intention to lead a richer and authentic love relationship.
My book Married To The Enemy: A Guide to Overcoming the Obstacles to Intimacy When We Are Raised in a Culture that Uses Sexism and Stereotyping to Divide Us by Dawn K Kozarian and Mark James, is now available. This book has been years in the making. In some ways I believe I started writing it as a small girl who saw the inequities and power imbalance between the sexes and wanted to understand it even back then. This book was very emotionally difficult to write, but it all needed to be said. Mark is remarkably honest about the divide he saw growing up and I think everyone can gain something from it. It is the first layer we need to peel off before we can begin to know true intimacy with our partner. How is it that we are a country that criticizes other countries, such as India, for being oppressive yet they had a woman, Indira Gandhi, as their Prime Minister for a total of fifteen years? Perhaps, we should look at what happens here before we reprove other societies for their gender issues.
Welcome to my Indianapolis blog. In this blog I will be writing about various mental health topics and would enjoy hearing your comments on expressed topics. I moved to Indianapolis in 1988 and at that time I would say it met its’ reputation of being a very large small town. However, over the years I have had the joy of seeing the downtown shopping area developed, neighborhoods revived, the beautiful canal walk that makes me feel like I must be in Venice and various other completed projects… Who hasn’t enjoyed the Monon trail? Having come from other parts of the country has allowed me to see the advantages of this beautiful city and state, and what may be disadvantages.