Unspoken agreements. Is this the price of peace? Is the price too high?

Is this the price of peace? Is the price too high? Unspoken agreements.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. Unknown

A healthy relationship is one where you share your true feelings without fearing the end of the relationship.

In relationships, we sometimes have a silent agreement “unspoken “rules” of our relationships. We may give someone a pass when they are drinking for what they say that hurts us. They may have mood swings and we disregard there hurtful behavior but we don’t do the same for others in the family. We don’t bring up the “sensitive” subjects that should be talked about.

A silent agreement could be that we disregard negative comments from our spouse’s parents, “to keep the peace”.

These silent agreements can come back to bite us when we say things like, “you should have known that, or why would I have to tell you that?” It is often silent agreements that let us get along on the surface. In some relationships, this is the best policy. People are in our lives, we didn’t choose them, we just have to deal with them, and they are difficult people to deal with.

If we have unspoken agreements in our personal relationship this can be a problem, because the other person doesn’t know what we expect of them.

I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies. Pietro Aretino

One of the things that can happen is we end up with unmet expectations. We expect things from someone, but they have no idea what we expect. This can lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. We still have the wishes, needs, expectations but we didn’t share them, so how is someone to know what we want, hope for, or dream about.

Silent agreements grow out of the things we don’t say. For instance, we don’t bring up the subject we know would hurt someone we’ve gone to visit. This seems like a good agreement. Where it can get worse is if we never talk about things that need to be said. Things like “Mom is it safe for you to still be driving?”

Often we think our silent agreements are understood by other people, that we share the same meaning of an unspoken expectation. Maybe there are issues that could be dealt with that aren’t. Issues that if discussed could be fixed, worked around or at least acknowledged.

I’m reminded of an advertisement about sexual dysfunction where a man is in the Doctor’s office and the Doctor asks, “Is there anything else?” The man fidgets but doesn’t say anything. The man likely goes home berating himself, he probably went in saying, “I’ll talk to the Doctor, this time.”

His wife may not know about his problem, she may think the problem is with her, and she’s dealing with menopause, aging, and all that fun stuff. A difficult conversation could get a lot of these things out in the open. We can’t deal with what we don’t acknowledge. We say we want the truth, but we are afraid to tell our partner our fears, shortcomings, and failures. We may instead make them feel inadequate, unloved, and unappreciated.

Another example may be the division of labor within the home. If one person always cooks, and the other always washes the dishes that may be an unspoken agreement that works. When the one that doesn’t cook all of a sudden cooks, the unspoken expectation may be the other person washes the dishes, but they may not realize that and agree to it.

We may think some of this is such small stuff, but what if we each talked about what we wanted, expected, and dreamed of. What if we really said, and meant it, “this is our life, the only one we get, let’s make it the best for both of us.”

One of the ways our silent agreements may cause us huge problems is when we don’t acknowledge problems with overspending, maxed out credit, job insecurity, etc. When we pretend everything is okay in our relationship when it’s not. When we pretend our health problems aren’t a concern.

It takes courage to have hard conversations. Things can’t get better if we don’t acknowledge our problems. There is no guarantee they will get better if we do, but we are guaranteed they won’t get better if we don’t.

We have to be careful we don’t just look at our partner and tell them how they should change. The only change we can control is how we change our self.

If the cook in the family decides everyone is eating better because they are cooking better that is one thing. They can’t now tell everyone what they can eat when they are out. Or what they can purchase when they go to the store. They can only tell them what they are willing to cook and then cook it.

If we can’t agree on what a healthy diet looks like that might be a problem. If one of us is vegan and the other paleo at least we are both trying to be healthier. If we deliberately sabotage our partner’s efforts to eat healthier we may need to discuss what is going on. Is there a payoff for a not so healthy partner, is there an unspoken agreement that we are the “thin” one?

If we can talk about whatever is going on in our life. What movies we want to see, what places we want to visit, what’s happening with our health, finances, children, parents, in-laws, jobs, retirement, interests we’d like to develop, places we’d like to live. Doesn’t sharing our lives, mean sharing our thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and our dreams? The more we share with each other, the closer we will be, the more we can make this life work for everyone.

Assumptions make an “ass” out of you and me. Can we get it all out on the table, be honest, vulnerable, kind, generous, and deal with real life with a sense of humor? Maybe it’s our spouse, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, co-workers, Doctor, or someone else we need to have a difficult conversation with. Does putting it off make it easier? Is courage to deal with the things we don’t want to deal with, what we need?

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. William James

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it, I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, kindness, and love.

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Unspoken Agreements: A Journey Towards Your Inner Light by [AKK]
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Unspoken Agreements: A Journey Towards Your Inner Light Kindle Edition

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Time is the secret to a long marriage. We win when we don’t give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other.

We win when we don't give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other. Time is the secret to a long marriage.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. Unknown

Is you being you really narcissistic? In the fable of the frog and the scorpion, the scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river. The frog hesitates and says, “But you’ll sting me.” The scorpion says, “No I won’t because then we’ll both die.” The frog agrees and in the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog.

We need to recognize the frogs and the scorpions in our life. It doesn’t make sense to volunteer to be stung. It doesn’t make sense to be so careful not to be stung that we eliminate people from our lives. We need to find a balance in our lives and relationships. If we think we will always feel loving, never feel jealous, never feel insecure we are fooling our self. We have to deal with what life hands us, but we don’t have to make friends with the scorpions. Chances are we didn’t marry a scorpion. As I write this I have to see the humor in the fact I am a Scorpio.

We need to be ourselves and we need to let others be themselves. Some of us are so fearful of the scorpion stinging us we don’t take chances with people we should take chances with. People who have proven they are worth the chance.

Forgiveness is important in our relationships, but if we constantly pick people we will need to forgive there might be more going on, do we need to be a victim? If we never give people a second chance because we can’t forgive anything isn’t that also a problem?

We need to find the balance somewhere between victim and martyr. One of the things we may learn is there are worse things than feeling jealous, insecure, and unloved. It is worse when we are so numb, and withdrawn from our lives we don’t feel anything at all. When we see an attractive woman eye our husband and we feel a little, whoa, what’s that? We are normal. If we just shrug it off too easily or carelessly we may be in withdrawal. If we get too jealous we need to ask ourselves why? Why are we thinking our partner would be interested in someone else? We know why other women are interested in our partner, he’s a great guy.

A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

We may feel our partner should never make us feel jealous. Is our partner making us feel jealous or are we going through things in our lives where jealousy rears its head? We may be feeling everyone is younger, prettier, more fun, more everything and why wouldn’t our partner dump us for them? We can’t blame our partner for our thoughts, inadequacies, feelings of inferiority, and feeling sorry for our self.

We all need to appreciate the people in our lives, especially our spouse who we spend our time with, make our plans with, dream our dreams with, and share the parts of our self we share with no one else. If we would rather fight with and for our partner than be without them that’s a good thing. Feeling “Oh well, whatever,” is surely worse.

We may be uncomfortable with our feelings, but not having those feelings is worse. Feelings make us feel alive even our uncomfortable ones. Sometimes we stuff down our uncomfortable feelings with food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, and any of the isms.

If we aren’t afraid to feel even our uncomfortable feelings we will live a fuller life. People can and will hurt us, but we can’t be afraid to love, make friends, take chances and build relationships. Life is not about being safe; people who play it safe and didn’t take a chance on love are not the happy people.

We can’t be guaranteed a happy ending, we can’t be guaranteed we will never feel betrayed, or hurt. If we are willing to deal with what is, the messy situations, what needs to be rebuilt in our lives, what needs to be overcome, what needs to be endured, we are living our lives. We will get to the end of our lives, and if we have been brave and looked everything in the face and dealt with it, however painful we will feel better about our lives. If we give up, run away, don’t take the chances life presents we will feel we didn’t really live.

Can we live through all life has to offer? Can we accept the challenges as they come? Don’t we have to get through the difficult winter to get to sun-kissed spring? If we don’t give up on our self, others, our dreams, goals, life, we will get through the hard parts. If we can realize life isn’t easy for anyone, we all make mistakes, we hurt others without thinking, life is what we make it, and what we might regret the most is giving up too soon.  We will look back on our life, the hard times, the loving times, the sad times, the bleak times, the building times, the whole of it and be glad we had tenacity and perseverance.

So that thing you were so excited about turned out to be harder than you dreamed. Things that matter always are. Endure, harvest will come. Beth Moore

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Be brave; love truly, fully, deeply. We regret the chances we didn’t take to fully love and be there for someone.

We regret the chances we didn't take to fully love and be there for someone. Be brave; love truly, fully, deeply.

No one ever fell in love without feeling a little bit brave. Mario Tomasello

We all want love, isn’t that what we tell ourselves? Yet Psychology Today says many of us are afraid to really let ourselves be in love. Our defenses raised offer a false sense of safety, we think they will keep us from getting hurt but all they really do is prevent us from achieving the closeness we desire. What is it that drives this fear of intimacy? What is it that prevents us from having the love and relationships we say we want?

Real love makes us vulnerable. We believe if we care less, we will be hurt less. The truth is if we care less, we don’t build the life and love we want. We live a life of wasted opportunities for closeness.

The person who loves us, who wants to get close, at some point may give up on us. They may still be with us, they may still come to visit us or maintain a marriage with us, but it won’t be the relationship we long for.

Life is about giving and getting. We may feel completely justified in judging our partner, questioning their loyalty, fidelity, commitment. We may feel a small mistake or oversight on their part was actually something bigger, and they meant to hurt us. It may be a sibling or a parent we feel we can’t forgive, for something that slipped out of their mouth and landed on our self-esteem, and opened up an old wound, a wound that never healed.

We might all be the walking wounded. We won’t feel better if we don’t love fully and something happens. I know from talking to someone who lost her husband too soon that making plans that never came to fruition was more healing than if they hadn’t been making plans. We might think it is worse to have plans that will never develop, but it isn’t. It might be counterintuitive that the more we love, and give everything we have to our relationships the happier we are and even the better we can deal with the loss of those relationships.

If we love our children as deeply as we can, even newborns that die, research tells us the parents who loved fully, are better off than the parents who tried to protect themselves from the pain of loss. There is no protecting ourselves from loss, there is only protecting ourselves from feeling, the regret is we can no longer have those feelings and we didn’t even feel them when we had the chance.

We can live on the sidelines of love, or we can love. Love is not about getting, but about giving. We are afraid to trust, and we think that is justified, but what is the cost of withholding that trust?

We don’t trust the drivers on the road, so we don’t let our children walk to school, or ride their bicycles. At a park, I saw a little boy on a strider bike going over rocks and his mother watched him. He’s brave and so is she, letting him become himself. Of course, he took a tumble, cried, she picked him up, but it wasn’t long and he was off adventuring again.

We can’t hold on tight to love; if we do we stifle it. Our children need to grow and develop, keeping them needing us is stifling them, we need to encourage their independence. We need to give them encouragement to be who they are to be, not hold them back out of fear.

Hold everything you love with an open hand. It’s like holding sand in your hand, the tighter you close your hand the more sand you lose but if you hold the sand with an open hand, you lose no sand. Prince Willis

If we are brave enough to love with our whole hearts the people who come into our lives and enjoy our time with them we will enjoy all there is. They may depart; they may move away, they may build lives that leave us on the periphery. It is still better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The real tragedy of life is not to love when we have the chance. Once that chance is gone we may flog our self with our regrets. If we gave all we had to the people in our life when they were with us, we have no regrets for what was, even as we may feel pain and sorrow for what is. We need to feel every part of our life. We think we protect our self by not feeling because we don’t want to be hurt, but we hurt our self by not feeling, we make our self feel dead even when everything in our life is alive and vibrant. Worrying about what might be, we miss what is, and what could be.

This can happen in all our relationships. We hear about families who plan great get-togethers and then spend it fighting instead of enjoying the brief time they have together.

Often families fracture instead of coming closer in times of bereavement. We will face loss in our lives, it will hurt, if we made the best of the time we had with that relationship it can be with no regrets and we can be truly happy for what we shared even though our hearts are broken with their loss. Isn’t that better than regretting the words we didn’t say, the fights that broke out because… the hurt feelings, the missed opportunities? We will face loss, but we don’t have to have regrets about the relationships in our life if we made them the best they could be while they were with us.

Can we live a life with few regrets?

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength, joy, and beauty. Love deeply, fully, truly.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, peace, and love.

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A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around Paperback – Sep 11 2018


Winter wonderland, can spring be far behind?

Snow covered bushes photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is also a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found. J.B. Priestley

Mother Nature has given us a lot to deal with this morning. Some dreams of a snow day have come true. My husband has already shoveled the driveway and my son in law has braved the snow to go to work. My daughter is reveling in a snow day.

I’m thankful to be snug and warm with nowhere to go today. Our little dog was surfing in the snow this morning when I let her out. She loves the snow for a little while, comes in, dries off, and then wants to go out again.

My husband jokes we should move to warmer climes. Would we miss the seasons if we lived in perpetual summer? The joy we feel each spring as chartreuse buds appear on trees would be one of the things we’d miss. In a book I have on color, chartreuse is called “dog barking green”. In some places, even the dogs are glad to see the first green of spring. Driving in spring and spying the first flowers blooming warms my heart.

How is it for those of you who have left four seasons? Do you miss the seasons? Is the joy we feel in spring worth it, or overrated?

Winter is a blessing and a curse, but more of a blessing in my opinion. It is my belief that society progressed because of the challenges we had to face in harsh climates. We don’t do things just to do them, we look for ways to deal with the challenges we face.

When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I’ll know I’m growing old. Lady Bird Johnson

Spring is coming soon and I have learned in my Horticultural society that some harsh climates have some of the most beautiful gardens. Overwintering container plants is popular in harsher climates. This allows the pots to be full and lush in a short growing season.

Spring is my favorite season. It is filled with promise, anything can happen in spring. We can only enjoy spring because we have winter. Would the days blur into each other even more where the climate doesn’t change?

Looking out the window at newly fallen snow is a sight to behold. It doesn’t take long for crisp white to turn to ugly gray and for me to get my fill of winter. I think I would miss it if I lived somewhere with endless summers? Maybe once we retire we’ll live without winter for a year and see what we think about it.

It could be we look on the bright side and enjoy winter to the degree we do because it’s our reality and we may as well enjoy it instead of curse it. After all isn’t life better when we learn to love what is?

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. William Sharp

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The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks Paperback – Oct 27 2015


Autumn is here. Reaping and sowing.

Autumn is Coming Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. Edwin Way Teale

Time to put on a sweater or jacket days are here again. Breathing in crisp cool air, and biting into crisp apples. The leaves are starting to change. Some parts of Canada have had snow already. It’s here.

It’s been a fabulous summer. Only a memory of a treasured time remains. A new time is here to treasure until it too is over. This is our life, we think it doesn’t change but it does. We should be treasuring these happy golden moments. A day holds so much hope and promise. Twenty four golden hours, ours to do with what we want, and what we must. What we must looks after our life and what we want feeds our spirit. A happy dance of the two gives us meaning and purpose.

I haven’t been down to my studio since the wedding except to look, sigh and promise I’ll be back to putter and paint. We never know when it’s the last time we’ll do something until looking back we realize that was the last dress we sewed. The last quilt we made, the last picture we painted, the last swim in the ocean.

It’s already years since I attended the soccer games my kids played. We often don’t know things are ending when they end. The last time you saw a friend you didn’t know it was the last. The last time I saw my dad, I didn’t know it was the last. We don’t know, we can’t know it is the  last phone call, the last touch.

Life is about endings and beginnings. If we are lucky, new people enter our lives as old ones leave. Knowing how to make friends is a skill, a gift that carries through life. Some people don’t know how to make friends, they are alone and lonely. People who know how to make friends may still be alone, but I don’t think they are so lonely. People can even be lonely in marriages. We need to reach out, make a connection to family, friends, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.

I don’t know how you learn to make friends. One of the things I’ve discovered is when you find like minded people, and I have found them in my toastmasters group, it’s easy to feel welcome and accepted.

At the gym I go to, no one talks. We grimly do our workout. If we take a class there is some interaction. Is it the group of people assembled there? Is it the solitary activity? Is it me?

We are social animals and soon we’ll be getting ready to bed down for the winter. In winter I feel it is even more important to have connections to other people. Poems and stories are written about cozy snow covered homes with smoke rising from the chimney.

There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves. Joe L. Wheeler

I grew up in a home with too few bedrooms for too many people. Now we mostly live in houses with too many bedrooms for too few people. Some people have show homes inside and out but I don’t think those are the happy cozy homes. The happy cozy homes are filled with bedlam, laughter, jostling for position and bathrooms.

We are all looking for belonging. Is belonging to a family, organization, club easy? That depends on the family, organization, or club. We play a part in that relationship, we can make it better or worse. We can be part of the fun and frivolity or we can be sour and judgmental. This choice is up to us.

I always feel autumn is the time of year for change. Probably because we spent so many years in school and autumn was the beginning of a new school year. Autumn still seems to me a time of new beginnings. After a summer of fun and sun I get back to painting. Back to the gym on a more regular basis. I look around wondering if there is something new I can or should bring into my life.

Life is great in all its seasons. Embrace the changes in your life. Reach out to people, rekindle old friendships and make new ones. Get creative. Become a volunteer. Host a dinner and enjoy fun and frivolity. What would you like to do you haven’t done yet? Could you start now? Autumn is here, winter is coming, there is much to do.

One of the great joys of life is living in a cozy home looking out the windows at snow covered trees and knowing you are happy and cozy with peace and plenty surrounded by loved ones.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. L.M. Montgomery

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Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy

Oct 10, 2017

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