by Wendy Strgar September 03, 2010
We are living in anxious times. Improvements in our economy are inconsistent and our sense of security in the systems that we have long looked to for stability feels weak and fragile. There are no quick fixes for the long-term issues that have gotten us to this point and our governmental leaders are as fractured and disconnected as ever. Job security is no longer the norm, and collectively we sleep less than we ever have. Often, with nowhere else to turn, it is our closest personal relationships that bear the brunt of it all.
It is understandable that it is the places where we feel most safe that our deepest insecurities arise. I see this with my teenagers frequently; their anxiety often translates into anger or frustration, which in turn sets up my defenses and impatience. The results can be even more debilitating with my husband, where instead of practicing patience and compassion, insecurities come out in a harshness in tone of voice or short tempers. No one is to blame and yet it is often those we love most dearly who get the worst effects of our insecurity.
Becoming mindful of the wealth that our relationships offer us during hard times is a healthy start. Harnessing and directing our basic fight/flight response to our advantage in proactive moves like helping to search for better living conditions or a new job is proper use of the added adrenaline running around. Strengthening communication skills and cultivating a sense of humor at home goes a long way in combating the normal but unhelpful habits that let our anxieties eat away at the most stabilizing social fabric we know as our intimates. Sustaining the well being of our relationships pays even greater dividends during hard times.
An equally reliable way to think about and measure your economic wellbeing may be right in your bedroom. Good sex is worth more than money. There is no other activity that carries the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and benefits that an hour of shared intimacy bestows. According to research of more than 16,000 participants by economists at Dartmouth and the University of Warwick, sex “enters so strongly (and) positively in happiness equations” that by increasing intercourse from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by getting an additional $50,000 in income for the average American. In fact, the economists calculated that a lasting relationship equates to happiness generated by getting an extra $100,000 each year. Divorce, meanwhile, translates to a happiness depletion of $66,000 annually.
Unemployment and financial insecurity are some of the most challenging obstacles to personal self-esteem. Why we go from bad to worse on automatic pilot is hard to say. Although we often don’t remember our promises to love for “better or worse,” during the “worse” parts, the lack of intention towards preserving our loving relationships when things are hard is a tragic mistake that can slow our recovery in ways we can’t imagine.
Any time that I get lost in the dark places that have me believing that I am better off alone, I scare myself back to my heart by thinking of life without my husband and family. I know that in the last moments of my life the only thing that will have any meaning and that will fill my mind and heart is the people I loved and those who loved me in return. It is a more powerful foundation than any bank account has ever offered.
by Wendy Strgar May 22, 2018
There is no time like long summer nights to cultivate our uniquely, profoundly human capacity for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure. Our pleasure response transforms our relationship to each other and even to life itself. Focusing on pleasure not only changes how we see our opportunities for intimate connection, but also invites us into a deeper relationship with our erotic soul.
by Wendy Strgar May 17, 2018
It becomes hard to trust your own thinking when nothing seems to be working. The space between how I thought it would go and how it is going seems to widen in front of my eyes. Maybe most difficult of all is how often the undesirable outcomes around us spill over into our relationships, both at home and at work. An errant comment too easily turns into an argument. I become blind to my impact on people around me, caught up in the unresolved problems surrounding me. During times like these, we often underestimate the power of the choices we make and how it can create a path back towards what’s working or down the slippery slope of self-destruction, which my husband affectionately calls “flirting with the gutter.”
Here is my short list to making it better when it isn’t working at all. Each one helps you do the next one, so start at the beginning and work your way down.
by Wendy Strgar May 03, 2018