Part of the reason I write a lot about relationships is that I know what it's like to feel hopeless and misunderstood. I know what it's like to constantly push back on love, while desiring it at the same time.
It's incredibly difficult to get in touch with the deepest parts of ourselves and recognize why we are what we are, or why we feel what we feel.
For many years, I didn't understand why I just couldn't get into normal, healthy, safe relationships. I felt overwhelmed by people who had genuine feelings for me, and I felt drawn to people who pushed me away - just like I pushed those who loved me.
Those of you who have followed my journey know that I love to explore attachment theory and share it with you, so the title may sound contradictory. But I promise it's not contradictory at all.
Attachment theory can be a great tool for understanding your emotional tendencies in relationships. It helps you understand how you perceive intimacy and closeness, as well as why you tend to attract a certain type of partner.
Once we identify our attachment style, we usually have an “aha moment” and suddenly it all makes sense.
However, it is essential that we know how to use this knowledge - and that is what I am sharing with you today.
Your attachment style is not your identity
Throughout our lives, we identify as many things: our work, our family role, our sexual orientation, our political values and our personality traits. We say I am a father, I am a lawyer, I am an introvert, I am an actress, I am an activist or I am a liberal.
Our identities put us at ease. They tell us who and what we are. But sometimes when we've worn an identity for long enough, we get attached to it. We lose our ability to see life outside of this box we have put ourselves in.
Identities are dangerous because they take away our power. Ironically, they should have no power - they are just the result of our past experiences, which lead to a series of beliefs and behaviors. We only give them power after we stick with them.
This applies to your attachment style. If you keep telling yourself that I am anxious or that I avoid, you will end up feeling helpless because you assume that this is just who you are and that there is nothing you can do about it. And this is not true.
It's just like Kathrine Meraki said:
“Each has a secure version in itself - but sometimes we have to untangle the layers that others have wrapped around us to access them. We can blame others (like me) or we can take the reins and change our lives.
Once you label yourself as something, what you really do is reinforce that identity and limit yourself to that specific label. So let's be honest: do you really want to be tied up insecurely for the rest of your life?
You have the power to change
Instead of viewing your attachment style as an identity you can't shake off, you can use it as a tool to increase your self-awareness and improve your intimate relationships.
Becoming safe is a long process, but it can be done with courage and determination. Everyone is different, but I can share with you what I have done to change my attachment style to secure:
- I identified my fears and my emotional wounds. I realized there were 2 main reasons I was so afraid of relationships: the abandonment issues of my childhood and my first romantic relationship. When I was a teenager, my therapist told me that being adopted would always have a big impact on my life. I thought she was exaggerating, but now I can clearly see what she meant - when you are abandoned at birth you subconsciously carry a huge and terrible fear of being abandoned again.
- I questioned them. Why am I pushing people away? Why do I guess people are always going to abandon me at some point? Is it because it would prove to me what I already know - that I am not lovable and unworthy of love? Is this really true or am I self-sabotaging?
- I created a new story. Once I identified what was holding me back, I changed my internal dialogue. I started to tell myself that it was safe to be vulnerable and to open up. That I was worthy of love and that this love was not necessarily painful. I started saying no to people I knew they had no interest in something stable and committed and allowed myself to set limits.
Weeks after starting this process, I met the person I am with now. And the truth is, the process never really stopped. It's been 3 years and no matter how amazing and magical our connection is, I am always healing and finding new ways to be safer.
Every now and then, wounds appear and emotions come to the surface. Its good. In fact, I believe this is precisely the purpose of a secure and mindful relationship: to support us on our personal journey of growth.
“Although you may have learned insecure attachment habits as a child, you may be able to overcome them with effort as an adult. Practice knowing how you interact in relationships to determine what you want to improve. Determine what emotions you feel when feeling insecure with a romantic partner (anxiety, anger, mistrust?) And how they decrease your interactions. "
Berit Brogaard, in How to change your attachment style
Your attachment style is not who you are, it is just the result of your past experiences. You can use these experiences as a way to grow and heal, rather than limiting yourself.
Ultimately, attachment theory is a tool that only you can choose how to apply - and you can choose to be more secure.
How? 'Or' What? Make a conscious effort to get in touch with your fears, feelings, and insecurities. Find yourself exhibiting unhealthy and insecure behavior. Change your internal dialogue and get out of your way.
Remember: Healing is for the brave.
This message was previously published on Medium.com.
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About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no intention to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.
There are versions of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no assistance from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff groupes de muscles, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.
tera set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral position at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck place. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.
From this starting position, use your back to pull the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. tera control my pace, I usually sweat up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting position in 2 seconds.
By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.
We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.
But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big effet on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than 7 percent of calories should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole céréales and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally réactive and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even bermuda bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of soutenu activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.
It’s important to maintain a saine weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be hard on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your probabilités of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider nicotine replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.
Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. to protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.