How to be a better man: If you entertain clowns, you join the circus

One of the key aspects of being a better man is really being honest about who you invest your time into in your life. Let’s be blunt here we all have toxic people in our lives, it’s really a matter of degree’s. When you entertain/invest time into them you become part of their circus act. This isn’t gender specific either. I’m not talking exclusively about your buddy from high school who still pounds a 6 pack before going out on Friday night.

I’m also talking about GF’s who are drama queens, exes who float in and out of your life to keep you on the line. Crazy uncles who always seem to need help with something, or siblings/parents who constantly fight and or cause issues. I’m not saying you have to cut people like this out of your life completely but you have to be honest about who these people are. If you are at family functions and Uncle Ted continues to bring up the incident at thanksgiving from 2001 it’s because he has either not gotten over it, or he wants to create drama for the people associated because he thinks THEY aren’t over it.

This is an example of how a clown works. They fixate on something that was painful, embarrassing or a highly emotional episode of the past and just keep hammering on it. Sometimes years later. Now there are degrees of this of course. If your current partner is reminding you of something you said 2 years ago you have to think about that and the current context. If you are hearing about this event regularly it means they aren’t over it and or are not happy about how you handled it.

Unclutter your life

People like this can sap your emotional energy. The circus ensues when you engage in this banter and it is used to bludgeon you over and over. The same theory applies to people in your life who have episode behavior. As an example, you go out for drinks, there is a designated driver or uber. There is always one person who says they can drive (when you know they can’t) even WHEN you have done the right thing and set up an alternative means of getting home they continue on. Another example, you are out to eat with your partner and no matter where you go, no matter what you order there is a problem.

If you continue to indulge these behaviors you are sending a signal that it is acceptable, ergo you are accepting a role in the circus. Maybe the example is mild and you are okay with it/tolerate it. Fine but what you normally find is the circus grows over time and more and more “situations” occur in new settings. You have to identify who these people are in your life and really think about your time investment into them.

It’s okay to have a circus once in a while, life should be spicy. That said, to be a better man you have to have balance and be very careful how much the circus consumes your time.

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Anxiety and Relationships – The good, the bad & the ugly

Had an opportunity to reflect recently on some of my past relationships, but before I get started an old joke from and old man (humor me please). “Some relationships are like algebra, ever look at your X and wonder Y?” Now that you pulled yourself together from that knee slapper let me explain a little bit. Relationships I have had, mostly, have been based on physical attraction first and once that begins to wear off you really find out if you like being with the person. I mean the everyday stuff like folding towels, waiting in traffic, discussing the day’s events.

Physical attraction is usually what drives most initial interactions with the opposite sex, at least it is with me. While I am happily married back “in the day” I dated my fair share. Upon reflection of some of my past relationships I often wonder how my anxiety influenced the outcomes. I’m going to give 3 relationship experiences I had and link an interesting article below for a decent read.

(names have been changed)

The Good- Mindy M: High school, Mindy was 5’10 dyed blond hair and was absolutely insane. What do I mean by that? Mindy was up for anything, and I mean anything. We partied a lot, we went to dead shows together and while we were young our sexual experiences were remarkable IMHO. Mindy made me better, but instilling in me the confidence that every young man needs to be successful. She didn’t do this by simply “being hot” or being a “party girl” she was devoted to me, we did everything together. I remember when a good friend of mine died I was extremely depressed, we were seniors. Mindy talked to me, made sure I knew someone gave a shit. She was awesome in almost every way a perfect girlfriend for a young man. She also gave me one of the corner stones in my life, how to treat women. Mindy demanded respect, she never let me get away with being arrogant as a young man, she never let me treat her poorly or as an object. We stayed together for almost 3 years, it was one of the best relationships of my life.

The Bad – Tina K: Fast forward to early 20’s, my group was into the bar hopping scene. I met Tina K at a bar, she was, and still is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met and been with. Sadly, the beauty was only skin deep. Tina was an extreme party girl shallow and judgmental. My car wasn’t nice enough, my clothes could be better “are you wearing that cheap cologne again?” really she was material girl 101. It was bad and in the time I was with her I was in constant competition with her expectations. I felt inadequate, small and never good enough. I was too young at the time to understand what was happening but I realize now this was a trigger for my anxiety. This woman was very attractive, everyone wanted to be with her and she was technically my girlfriend. I should have seen it coming, she cheated, I was devastated due to blindness. I thought it was me, I changed everything about myself. I tried to conform to an ideal set forth by someone else. I was in full anxiety mode, and I was blaming myself 100% when it wasn’t 100% me.

The Ugly – Dawn H: Around the same time as Tina K I met Dawn H. We fought constantly but the sex was great. It’s unfair I guess to list Dawn as “The Ugly” but it was in this emotionally and verbally abusive relationship that, upon reflection I realize now was the real beginning of my anxiety increase. I was no angel in this relationship so dear reader do not take this as “I was a saint the woman was to blame” I was a full participant in emotional black mail, verbal abuse, and mental detiriation. We were both wallowing in the misery of being miserable together. We lived together for a time, there was never enough money, never enough anything. I became withdrawn, I stopped talking to friends and family. It was just Dawn and I, and it was during this relationship when I started suffering anxiety symptoms in a more extreme way. I couldn’t t go to work somedays, I didn’t want to be in public and have people looking at me. I was a mess.

Notice I haven’t given to much specific detail on the relationships. These women are not present to defend themselves so I think it’s fair not to delve to deeply. Also notable is I haven’t listed my wife as “the good” that isn’t to say that it isn’t the best relationship with a woman I have had, it is. When I met my wife I was emotionally mature from the relationships of the past. I am functioning and was able to offer her a great relationship with a man who KNEW HIS ISSUES.

And that’s the point here, the good, the bad, and the ugly relationships of your life help mold you into who you are now. Maybe you are in one, take a step back think about how you feel, be honest. There really wasn’t an overarching point to this post other than to say anxiety is a journey and along the way you meet people and have relationships. They help shape who you are and they shape your anxiety. Embrace the good, work on the bad, and get out of the ugly.

Here is a decent article I read about anxiety and relationships, maybe there is something in there for you?

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Wisdom from the past: Winston Churchill

Nearly everyone who is reading this has either heard of or has studied Winston Churchill. To say he was (or Is) one of the most famous statesmen of the “World War” period wouldn’t be a stretch. He was in the middle of the most perilous time in modern history. The World Wars were the most devastating events in human history, oh and wedged in between those was this other event called the “great depression”. Needless to say if you lived through that period of world history you are probably wiser than most of us.

Churchill didn’t suffer fools, he did though accept the fact that even people he disagreed with had the right to be disagreeable. He valued free speech and basked in the fight and nuances of debate and semantics. The wisdom?

“Some peoples Idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, it’s an outrage.”

Boy is that true in 2021 isn’t it? Been on twitter lately? LOL. The point here is, most people that are telling you what they think often aren’t interested in hearing what you think if it’s not agreeing with their point of view. We are now to the point of intolerance where people are canceled for having “wrong think” or “wrong speak” and inconveniently we don’t have Trump around anymore to blame for it.

No its now (and always was) emboldened people who believe what they think is right and will go to extremes to make sure there is no dissent. Churchill faced this as well in his time, they were called Nazi’s and they burned books (think they would have liked Dr Zeus?) and committed horrific crimes.

Be wary of people who want to silence others, who deem something distasteful and are willing to remove access without consent. These are very dangerous people, in essence they want to control what you see, what you hear, and what you think. They are everywhere and, as Churchill warns, if you disagree it’s an outrage. Except now, the outrage has blossomed into something far more sinister.

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