co-written by Tricia Barker and Ethan Michael Carter

Her Perspective:  There are annoying men and women in this world who try to make their dates or partners jealous.

Maybe she comments on how this waiter and that bartender wants to sleep with her. Maybe he points out women who are checking him out or tells you catty things other women said about your appearance. I’m not talking about awful people who try to make you feel jealous or badly about yourself. Life is challenging enough, why even have dinner with someone like that?

I’m talking about the type of jealousy that is based on control and insecurity. Have you ever observed a couple and you can intuitively tell one of the partners is checked out and possibly checking out other people, while the other partner is jealous and dramatic?

It’s a common dynamic in both males and females. I’m not saying that every time someone is spaced out or looking away from their partner they are checked out the relationship. I’m talking about the couples, where it is possible to pick up on a visible heaviness between the two; their interactions are not filled with lightness and love, no matter what they post on social media about themselves.  Love and lightness has been murdered, and CPR (Control/Pressure/Rage) did not bring their dynamic back to life.

Sometimes the rage and jealousy of one partner makes the other person feel wanted and engaged again in the relationship again, but that clearly isn’t a healthy dynamic. True love doesn’t set out to control anyone, and needy people are not sexy people.

If you must convince someone to be with you, what is the point? You are going to spend a lot of your time continuing to convince this person of your worth. Why don’t you simply see your own worth?

I have a lot of compassion for those who have deep seated insecurities in relationships. Often, these insecurities stem from parents who were ill-equipped to prepare their children to develop a healthy self-esteem.  After surviving a dysfunctional home, people need to grant themselves tenderness and time for emotional healing.

I’m a fan of the healing that can occur from traditional forms of therapy and alternative healing practitioners.  However, at some point, a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” approach might also be necessary.  You might have to come to the realization that you are worth saving, and you must find a way to reach for the light of your own healing.

Growing a stronger self-esteem is possible and takes time.  Consistently achieving small goals in various areas of your life is one of many ways to strengthen your independence and self-esteem.  Self-help is possible, but self-help takes discipline. It doesn’t come from simply reading books, but it can come from practicing new habits based on training your mind, body, and spirit.

Self-control is one of the best qualities we can learn in life and in relationships.  In fact, this quality may very well determine being a healed and whole adult.

When you are no longer triggered and acting from your wounds, you can interact with others in loving, supportive ways.  I say this with empathy, and as someone who has survived more than I ever imagined anyone might be asked to survive.  I also say this as someone who knows that the only way to have a different outcome in life is to act differently.

Jealousy is insecurity unplugged, and it is a loud, poorly orchestrated show that isn’t fun for the reality stars or for anyone in the vicinity.  It is much better to be harmonious, direct, honest, humble, and clear in your intentions.

Don’t simply say you are “working” on your issues or “working” through them.  Say you have wrestled them to the floor.  Say you are in control.  Say that you are healed. Now, believe it and find ways act like it.

His Perspective:  In this day and age, we as a society hide behind excuses.

In fact, excuses have become the new drug of choice, and almost everyone’s an addict.

We worry about vices like smoking, and substance abuse, yet we fail to acknowledge a drug known as

WIM (Woe Is Me)

WIM is a drug that is more dangerous that cocaine and even more addictive that heroin. Why? Because

WIM is the ultimate thief of potential and the enemy of happiness.

And, unfortunately. this problem is on the rise.

However, as Tricia beautifully said, “You can realize that you are worth saving, and reach for the light of your own healing.”

This is not impossible for anyone.

You see, we like to hide behind excuses as to why we choose the dramatic or unfulfilling partners. We usually blame these choices on our past, our parents, and the wounds that all these things have caused.  Though it is important to treat yourself with care and heal from your past, it is also just as important to learn how to not make choices based on your past.

Here’s a little wake-up call:

  1. You’re not living in the past, you’re living in the now.
  2. You’re not a child anymore, so your parents and their parenting mistakes are no longer viable excuses.
  3. And as for your “wounds,” if you stop picking at them, the wounds of the past will soon stop bleeding into your present life. They will heal, and quickly become barely visible scars. IF YOU ALLOW THEM TO HEAL.

Here’s the rub, there is no excuse, not even one, that will provide you with a viable alibi for not taking control of your life.

If you are an adult, then understand this fact:

Everything — every single thing — in your life right now, is your fault.

I know that sounds harsh, and it might result in you feeling defensive. But lower your guard for a second, and let me lead you to where I’m trying to take you.

Acceptance of Responsibility is Power.

Accepting everything in your life as being your fault is the most empowering thing you will ever do, but it won’t be the most enjoyable experience. It will require a lot of soul searching. And it will also involve a lot of letting go of old ghosts.

But, it will lead you to a place of power; power and control over your life.

Let’s imagine your life as a vehicle.

Most people sit in the backseat of the vehicle of their life. They allow drivers like Fear or the Past to take the wheel.  I say that most people they sit in the backseat of their life and not ride shotgun because most people are not even close to taking control of their life.

And the greatest irony is that taking control of your life is easy. It doesn’t involve some action movie style struggle, nor does it require a Law and Order style litigation.

No, taking control of your life is a decision, and a simple one at that. It’s a decision, just like sitting back and letting it be run by poor drivers such as Fear and the Past is one too.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m sure some terrible things happened to you in your life. Things that you feel ruined you.

Things like the abusive beatings you suffered as a kid.

The way you ran away from home at 14 years old and ended up eating food out of dumpsters and sleeping on benches.

The way you lost your pregnant fiancée in a car accident.

The way you struggled with brain aneurysms for two years and had 8 NDE’s.

Those are all things that I went through.

I’m not telling you all this for a WIM response, nor am I handing out pity party invitations to you.

I’m telling you all this to show how I have more than enough excuses to hide behind, yet I CHOOSE not to do so.

We all have emotional wounds. We have all suffered injustices. But we do NOT need to be a slave to these things anymore.

Learn your lessons from the past, but don’t repeat your mistakes in the present.

Be like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and utilize your God given power of choice to your advantage, not to your detriment.

Scary Questions

Here are some scary questions to ask yourself about your current relationship. They’re scary because they’ll lead you to the crossroads of change, and they’ll expose any excuse you’ve ever hidden behind.

– Does the person you’re in a relationship with fulfill you?  Do you fulfill this person?  Are you both working on issues of control, withholding, anger, and/or neediness?

– Does your partner give you the love, affection, and emotional stability that you desire?  Do you both honestly express what you desire in a relationship?

– Do you find that arguments materialize at the smallest of things?  Are you actively learning better communication skills together and separately?

–  Can you open up to your partner comfortably?  Are you numbed out to continue the status quo of the relationship? Do you dream of a different type of relationship?

If you OBJECTIVELY ask yourself these questions and answer HONESTLY it will become very clear, and very quickly too, whether you are in a relationship that is fulfilling or unfulfilling.

I know the answers may not be an easy pill to swallow, but the truth never is.

And if you are ready to sit in the driver’s seat of your life, and to drop off Fear and the Past at the nearest Motel 6, then be sure to drive straight into the light of the life that you want.

Ethan Michael Carter is a screenwriter, author, fight choreographer, and stage actor from the UK.  He started life on the wrong side of the tracks. Most of his youth was spent in gangs and seeking out fight after fight, but his life changed when he met a very wise boxing coach. This man not only taught him the art of boxing, but also the art of Living More Than You Exist. This mentor turned his life around and taught him that “We are never a slave to our environment, only to our choices.”   Ethan’s time with his mentor began a life long journey for knowledge and self-development. A journey that has, up to this point, led him to work as an English teacher, and as a fight choreographer for film and television, with credits including the acclaimed Heroes series. He’s also worked as an actor with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. At present, he is currently working for AMC as a screenwriter.   For more of Ethan’s bio and coaching philosophy, please check out his blog.

Tricia Barker

Tricia Barker experienced a profound near-death experience during her senior year of college, and this experience guided her to teach overseas, in public schools, and at the college level. National Geographic and A&E’s I Survived: Beyond and Back covered Tricia’s story. Currently, Tricia teaches English and Creative Writing at a beautiful community college in Fort Worth, Texas. Tricia’s memoir in-progress, Healed, chronicles the moment of her accident, her near-death experience, and other moments of trauma that affect many women. The book focuses on being of service to the world as one way to heal from trauma. Tricia’s poetry has been featured in The Binnacle, The Paterson Literary Review, and The Midwest Quarterly.

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