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Martha and the Twins
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Sleep sound for a healthy lifestyle 2

Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow, Tom Roth.

What good is success if your health has deteriorated from a lack of sleep?
If you don’t get enough sleeping hours, make sure you read our first article Sleep sound for a healthy lifestyle and follow these tips.

Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex at all costs. The bed is NOT for studying, reading, watching tv, etc.

To sum up, sleep matters! We all need to sleep well.

Laugh with us: God’s Humour

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness, Emo Philips
The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. ‘They won’t let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.’ -‘What are you complaining about?’ said God. ‘They won’t let Me in either.’ , Brennan Manning.
A man goes to a church with a large, very disproportionate knife which would instantly kill anyone it hit.
The priest asks:
– How could you bring this weapon to the Lord’s House?
– I always take it with me just in case someone dares to contradict me. I hate people who disagree with me on literally anything. I am an atheist, are you a Christian?
– No, of course not and honestly, I wouldn’t advise it to you either.
Atheism is a non-prophet organization. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam, George Carlin
A man was beaten up by robbers on the road. He lay on the side of the road, half dead.
A humanist came along, saw him and passed by on the other side.
A Samaritan came by and also crossed to the other side.
Finally, a modern Christian came along, looked at the man and said: “Whoever did this to you needs help”.
What's black and white, black and white and black and white?
A nun falling down the stairs..

Men and women: Are we the same or different?

I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that’s how I operate my life, Oprah Winfrey.

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition, Timothy Leary.

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance, Kofi Annan.

There is a current cultural trend of “political correctness” which claims that significant gender differences do not exist. Therefore, it is believed that pretending there are no important gender differences, we will achieve more equality, prevent discrimination and even violence.

Let me tell you, I don’t think this is true. Do not get me wrong, it is very important to avoid sexist language and behaviour and, more specifically:

Many argue that the use of gender-neutral language is nonsense, which leads us to using awkward constructions, vague language, and ugly neologisms. As one comment in the What’s wrong with the world? blog affirmed: It was hard not to wince today during the Gospel reading appointed for Mass: “One does not live by bread alone…” (Matt. 4:4) which is our Lord’s paraphrase of Deuteronomy. 8:3. Thus, the magnificent declamation: “Man does not live by bread alone…” […] is shattered. The translation makes Christ sound like the Prince of Wales who often refers to himself as “one” presumably to distinguish himself from his mother’s royal “we,” Against Gender-Neutral Language.

I do strongly think that there is a middle ground of neutral writing and speaking which avoids sexual bias, awkward constructions, ugly neologisms, etc., and which also communicates without using sexist language.

However, “it is ironic that this long-overdue gender neutrality comes just as scientists are recognizing more and more the actual physiological and psychological differences between men and women,” Vive la Diférence? by Michael Henry. As Allan Pease puts it: “We are different because our brain is wired differently. This causes us to perceive the world in different ways and have different values and priorities. Not better or worse ― different.”

The fight against gender inequality and discrimination should not be confused with recognising, valuing, and celebrating our differences. These allow us to grow and learn from one another.

For example, men are more violent than women. “In 2011, the United States Department of Justice compiled homicide statistics in the United States between 1980 and 2008. Males committed the vast majority of homicides in the United States at that time, representing 90% of the total number of offenders,” Wikipedia, Sex differences in crime.

Worldwide, men are more likely to be literate, about two-thirds of illiterate adults are women. However, “women have overtaken men at every level of education in developed countries around the world,” (BBC News, Girls top of the class worldwide). For instance, in the UK: “The disparity between boys and girls has become a regular feature of GCSE and A-level results. While 72.3% of girls got A*-C grades, only 63.7% of boys did,” The guardian. The USA Today 10/19/2005 affirmed: “Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional. […] There are more men than women ages 18-24 in the USA — 15 million vs. 14.2 million […] But nationally, the male/female ratio on campus today is 43/57,” USAToday.com, College gender gap widens: 57% are women.

In general terms, boys are less attentive to classroom tasks and more disruptive (they lose more classroom learning time because they are sent out of the classroom or sent home), they also read less and later (and so they value reading less), and talk less.

Sex is a big difference between men and women: “How do you know if a man is ready for sex? He’s breathing […] A woman wants lots of sex with the man she loves. A man wants lots of sex,” Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What to do about it, Allan Pease, Barbara Pease. As Billy Crystal put it, “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”

The average man tends to be much more sexually driven than the average woman is. This can be observed in prostitution. The oldest profession is mostly exercised by women. Male prostitution is less frequent, and male prostitution services predominantly male clients.

In a classical but very revealing study conducted by Russel D. Clark and Elaine Hatfiel in 1978 and 1982, male and female confederates of average attractiveness approached potential partners with one of these requests: “Would you go out toning?,” “Will you come over to my apartment?” or “Would you go to bed with me?” “The great majority of men were willing to have a sexual liaison with the women who approached them. Women were not. Not one woman agreed to a sexual liaison. The men that said “No” even gave apologies, i.e., “I’m married” or “I’m going with someone,” Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers, Rusell D. Clark y Elaine Hatfield, 1989.

In general, men are better at gross motor skills while women are better at fine motor skills. Men are found to have greater spatial skills and better mathematical reasoning ability (this last one is a very controversial topic in which there is no consensus), while women show greater verbal skills. All these differences are logical from an evolutionary point of view, men used to perform more physically demanding tasks, such as hunting, defending territory, and obtaining food while women were engaged in housekeeping and child care, Kimura D., Human sex differences in cognition, fact, not predicament.

Men take more risks. On average, men have more sexual partners and are less than enthusiastic about condom use. Obviously, this is not a good idea. However, this attitude may come in handy within professional contexts and sports. Being capable of making decisions and assuming calculated risks despite the limited facts and great uncertainty is also fundamental in entrepreneurs, executives, and policy makers.

Women are better at active listening, non-verbal communication, and empathy, making them more effective at interpersonal communication. When a women is talking to her boyfriend or husband about a problem, she usually describes it in great detail. She longs for empathetic listening. On the contrary, men get confused and annoyed with so many words, they try to reduce the peripheral (or noise), focus on the problem, and provide a solution. And by doing so, they are missing the point completely, she only wanted his attention and empathy!, so she could feel just how much he cares for her.

When a man can listen to a woman’s feelings without getting angry and frustrated, he gives her a wonderful gift. He makes it safe for her to express herself. The more she is able to express herself, the more she feels heard and understood, and the more she is able to give a man the loving trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement that he needs, John Gray.

Men can learn from women to develop a better style of communication, so they can build more meaningful relationships together. They need to listen patiently and actively, use non-verbal communication (eye contact amongst others), and show understanding and empathy.

Many are wondering whether it is possible or not in this crazy and hedonistic world to maintain a stable relationship when there are so many differences between men and women. Perhaps, the best answer is found in the classic book “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” by John Gray: “when men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.”

To maintain a healthy and stable relationship, men should learn to listen more, talk less, and show more empathy and understanding. On the other hand, women should understand men’s need for retreat, for being appreciated and valued, and also have more sex with their partners (we are talking about sex in marriage or in very stable relationships, not casual sex) in order to let intimacy and complicity grow between them.

Accept your partner for who they are

I am what I am. What you see is what you get, nothing more, nothing less. Do not choose only one part, take me as I am, whole and such as I am, so you don’t make any mistakes. If I am totally honest with myself, I am not much, but who I am I give to you, Anawim, #justtothepoint, inspired by Joan Manuel Serrat.

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward, Benjamin Flanklin, Joan Manuel Serrat.

Before you begin a serious and stable relationship with someone ― marriage, kids, moving together, etc. ―, you should really know him/her very well. Then, you should consider and meditate hard because there is a lot at stake. Do not fool yourself into believing that he or she will be different, better, or you will make him/her change.

Love me without restriction, trust me without fear, want me without demand and accept me for who I am, Anonymous.

It’s beautiful when someone can accept me for who I am, instead of trying to make me what they want me to be, Anonymous.

If you want a happy and successful relationship, you have to accept her/him for who s/he is. It is that simple, it is that profound.

Active and constructive response

Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals, L. J. Isham.

Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self, Dean Jackson.

Such responses are not just for romantic relationships, they should also be used in parent-child communication, in the workplace, etc. But, what do we mean by active and constructive responses?

Imagine that he or she tells us a positive outcome or event, for example, he climbed the job ladder, her salary rose 5.7%, he/she passed an important exam, etc.

We are not always in a good mood or attitude. We’re often busy, tired, and ― to put it mildly ― not very eager to listen to our partners. This is especially true after a long day at work. However, a healthy relationship requires effective and constant communication where both partners listen and provide active and constructive responses to each other.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it, Robin Sharma.

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies, Nelson Mandela.

Forgive your partner, especially when s/he is sincerely sorry, willing to change her/himself, and fix the problem.

We all have flaws, imperfections, and weaknesses. We all make mistakes and screw up at one time or another. We hurt each other (“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” John 8:7). Thus, we need to forgive with compassion and generosity, move on, and be happy.

Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too, Will Smith.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you, Louis B. Smedes.

Forgiveness is also the best gift you can ever give to yourself. You should always forgive or, at least, forget; even when pain and suffering come into our lives, when you have been mocked, offended, ridiculed, betrayed, or abused. This is the only way, because all revenge, retribution, and violence give rise to further revenge, hatred, and violence.

Forgiveness brings inner peace, happiness, and healing even though the scars and wounds of our emotional experiences can linger in our hearts for the rest of our lives!

Let these experiences and negative emotions go; it is the right time to let bitterness, hatred, and anger go because holding on is just a useless struggle and misery. It is hurting you! It is killing you! LET THEM GO!

Don’t give up on love

Winners never quit, and quitters never win, Vince Lombardi.

You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up, Babe Ruth.

If you fall in love with the wrong person or it was not meant to be, do not regret it bitterly forever. When you let go you create space for something better. Overcome adversity with generosity, optimism, and joy. It is never too late to be what you might have been, to start on a new journey, to love or be loved. The place is here, the moment is now. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Who knows what the future will bring us? Nobody does. Not even a president or a king with all his power, a rich guy with all his money or even the most famous model with all her beauty and glamour, no one really knows what is going to happen, what the future holds, so it’s up to us to shape it, to make the right decisions and choices, and work hard to make our dreams come true.

Destiny is not a bitch, “it is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to wait for, it is a thing to be achieved (William Jennings Bryan).

Destiny is not always preordained. Life is about making choices. Our lives are the sum of all the choices we make, the bridges we cross, and the ones we burn. Our souls cast long shadows over many people, even after we are gone. Fate, luck, and providence are the consequence of our freedom of choice, not the determinants, Judith Land.

Who can deny that educational accomplishments, professional career, wealth, beauty, and age determine the possibilities of finding a romantic partner and influence social relationships? However, except on rare occasions, being happy, fulfilled, and experiencing new and meaningful relationships only depends on us.

Give the best of yourself every single day

You get the best of others when you give the best of yourself, Harvey Firestone.

Keep your relationship fresh, fun, and alive, value it, and show your affection every day. The more time you are together, the more reasons there are for you to show him/her that you care.

Praise your partner with sincere compliments; thank him/her for all the joy s/he brings you; listen to him/her actively and empathetically; write poems and love letters; make time for dating each other, meet in the pub or cafe, go for a romantic walk, a picnic in the park, go to the movies, dinner, or even a night out on the town; Do unexpected things and surprise him/her; have fun and share laughter; celebrate each other’s achievements and talents; try new things together; hold hands; flirt, kiss, and hug each other; touch each other and make love with passion.

Take a break and spend a nice holiday with your partner to revive the romance. Buy her/him something special, a book, a bracelet, a diary, some roses, a sophisticated fragrance or a necklace.

Blessed are you who sow. Every seed you so plant, will grow into bountiful crops for great harvest […] As we plant in tears, we shall harvest with joy, Lailah Gifty Akita.

Love is blind but not stupid

People in blind love throw away common sense, conscience and comedy from life, Amit Kalantri.

blind

Before problems arise and a relationship goes too far, it is important to be rational and weigh up the relationship, its pros and cons, and see if you think it’s worth the trouble.

If you are on vacation in an exotic location like Hawaii, Australia, or the Caribbean, but you both live in two cities 300 kilometers apart, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that relationship. Meditate and consider it, because it may be desirable to stop a relationship before things go too far -the distance between both of you is a very objective problem. Long distance relationships can be really tough. They face many problems, such as lack of physical intimacy, hectic schedules of jobs, differences of time zones, etc. They cost money, time, and a lot of effort.

Besides, online dating scams are nothing new, but they are growing in popularity thanks to the rise of online dating.

vacation

The same consideration can be made about relationships where someone works in a distant city, they have different religious beliefs or come from different cultural backgrounds, or one of you has serious health problems. For instance, a Muslim man is allowed to marry a Christian woman, but a Jewish or a Christian man is not permitted to marry a Muslim woman.

Avoiding dependency

Love is not about two selfish people that only care about themselves and need each other, but two generous souls that hug one another, Anawim.

It is very important to balance your personal and professional areas. You also need to maintain your relationships with your friends and family, as well as having some time for yourself.

Love is not a cure for loneliness or an escape from the harsh reality of the real world. Genuine love is not dependency, two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live together.

There are three stages in our development:

Interdependence can be found everywhere. For example, bees need pollen and nectar from flowers in order to live and reproduce. Flowers also depend on bees for pollination.

bees

Globalization and the communications revolution make our interdependence clearer day by day. On a more personal level, interdependence is defined as relationships of choice rather than necessity. Partners are mature enough not to depend on each other emotionally or financially.

cobweb

Many old sayings teach us about the goodness of interdependence: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” “Two heads are better than one,” or “Four eyes see better than two.”

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go, Luke 10, 1.

Any interdependent relationship, either romantic or friendship, has these benefits: each member offers and receives support and resources, there is an exchange of information (everyone gets ideas and tips on how to perform tasks or how to approach problems, and feedback from their results and how they are performing their jobs), anxiety and stress are reduced, etc.

However, interdependence is not possible without independence.

But, what does this mean? An interdependent relationship requires two people who are mature and independent enough to stand on their own in order to work for the common good. A team will only reach its fullest potential when all its members feel valued, safe, and that they have a stake in it. They are all inspired to succeed and develop their talents. Then, they produce high quality work because they are all committed to the task at hand, and act from personal integrity. On the contrary, when some members let themselves be swept away by others (this is so because they have not achieved independence, for example, when they have not reached the necessary personal or professional competence or they are not emotionally stable), they become a liability for the entire team.

It may happen that the team thinks that they all work as one, that they have achieved consensus on collective goals, procedures, and practices, but sooner or later, their planning will fail or the quality standards of their products and services will suffer. Why? To put it simply, because these guys were not really involved in the decision making process, they did not regard the project as their own. When push comes to shove and they need to get their hands dirty, it will be as clear as day that something is very wrong, commitments or goals were unrealistic, perhaps people were not sufficiently prepared, qualified, and motivated, resources or support were not enough, etc.

So, what can we do? In a business setting, it is absolutely essential that every member is mature (independent) enough to make compromises, and everyone has the personal and professional competence to perform their tasks. Besides, everyone should be involved in the decision-making process about goals, standards, plans, deadlines, etc., as well as, their knowledge, opinion, skill, and experience, being heard, valued, and taken into account.

teamWork

The same idea applies in a romantic relationship. It cannot be built on the need for love, affection, and protection, sexual desire, economic dependence, etc. It should be based on respect, love, and interdependence between two people. Each partner should have sufficient autonomy and maturity to establish smooth and effective communication which is completely necessary for a harmonious relationship to flourish. This means active listening, empathy, and being able to build trust together, but also to address and change what is hampering the relationship.

cooperation

The dialogue between two free, independent, and mature adults should be continuous, open, sincere, and constructive. It should be focused on solutions and opportunities to grow rather than problems, blaming or covering up.

communication

Interdependence also requires that each partner gives up some of his/her independence. It is about being able to assume responsibilities, make compromises, sacrifice personal goals and even professional careers for the sake of a better good.

Dependent people do not have the strength or courage to be able to say what they think, to show their true “self”, and thus they harm the development and growth of a healthy relationship. What can we do about it? The most difficult and important thing is to be able to recognise the problem. Then, we need to be patient and give our partner and our relationship enough time. More importantly, big decisions (marriage, kids, buying a property, etc.) should be postponed.

In summary, relationships need to be grounded in genuine friendship, interdependence, dialogue, and love.