Posts Tagged ‘men and women’

Does Improvement Ever Work Against Us? Part 1 of 2.


Photo Credit — Joseph Sohm.

Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby

Today’s conversation about “improvement gone wrong” is a huge subject with high impact in relationships. 

Frankly, it could be considered a   s-p-r-a-w-l-i-n-g   subject.  Heck, it’s basically unwieldy.

But I’m going to give it a whirl. 

Some version of this topic comes up in practically every consulting session I do.  It also comes up in the daily news, in politics, in homes, churches and schools — everywhere, in all sorts of ways.  Therefore, I think talking about it here could be really helpful.  

So hang in there and do your best to keep an open mind — and tune in next week to take the Quiz in Part 2.  It will certainly make you think.  And I would love your feedback, so feel free to comment.

In this post, I am speaking — mostly — about women, because the majority of my clients are female.  But this subject is certainly not exclusive to females. 

However, in my experience, what I will highlight is more of a feminine tendency, and, of course men have a feminine aspect as well.  So I’m hanging this on “the feminine” aspect, but not on women, if that makes sense.  I’m attempting to simplify enough to make this a manageable and focused conversation.  Fair enough?

Why talk to women about improvement gone rogue?

There’s a good reason for that.

Because this type of improvement we are exploring is a woman’s arena.  It’s our skill, our passion.

There’s a really good thing women do. 

We beautify, improve, guide, garnish, shape up, nurture, cultivate, enhance and make better.

We do it all the time.  It’s our thing.  Women make the world a more beautiful place. 

In overly simplistic terms, we could say the feminine is inspired to beautify or make our environment aesthetically pleasing.  This creates ease and relaxation in us, and we like that a lot.  The masculine carries out the inspiration, puts muscle to it, and makes the idea physical.  

The feminine is receptive (receives inspiration) and the masculine builds it.  The masculine turns the vision into a building, a helpful gadget, water delivery system, and so on. 

Can women build?  Yep.  Can men be inspired?  Yep.  We all have both masculine and feminine in us.  Our personal balance of masculine and feminine helps make us the unique person we are. 

The Feminine Principle — Beautify.  Nurture.  Enhance.

Is the patio a little plain?  We add a potted plant or a flower.  Is the living room a little dull?  We brighten it up, freshen it up, add a pillow or a throw, or a whole new set of furniture.  Does the show need a little kick?  A little pizzazz?  We add choreography, special effects, or a humorous skit to make the audience happy.

We paint.  We add color.  We make life more visually pleasing.  We make our surroundings more beautiful, more pleasant.

We enhance.  It’s what we do.

But Can This Skill Get A Little Out Of Hand? 

Can the idea of improvement create problems?

Maybe.  Every good thing has an opposite.  So how could improvement possibly go wrong?


When we think we can improve someone else, or when we “know better” for them than they know for themselves…

…about their method of doing something.

…or who they are being.

…or what they should do.  What’s a legitimate profession?  Is school important?  How should you get your college degree?  What about a back up plan?  What’s “good enough?”

…how they should run their life, plan a wedding, raise children, or eat.

The downward spiral can happen when our own penchant for betterment gets all over someone else.  It happens when we think we know better — for someone else.  It might be that we offer advice when we’ve not been asked.  We inject our solution because we’re sure it will improve things.  Or we tell someone how to arrange his/her life or what to do.

We meddle.

We mean well.  We believe we’re giving advice that will help the other person.  We’re sure we have their best interests at heart.  But, when it comes right down to it, we meddle.

And then our meddling, well, you know… those we meddle with get upset, they walk away in a huff, vowing never to speak to us again.  They get mad.  They get irritated.  They don’t want to hear our good and well-meaning advice.   

And they shouldn’t have to.  Why?  Because the advice from you fits you better than them.  You know yourself better than anyone. 

“What-I-think-you-should-do” causes arguments, too, about little things like how to load the dishwasher.  And about big things like how to love, give attention or make happy.  It’s also where we might argue with our kids about what their priorities should be, what they should pay attention to or consider important, why they should stay in school, who to spend time with, or their eventual livelihood.

So how would you rate yourself in this area?  Want to find out?

Tune in next week to take the Meddling Quiz and then check out some solutions.


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Why Men Stop Helping — What YOU Said — Part 2 of 3

NY Hotel Man

In Part 1 of this series of 3, I asked a question:

Why would a woman — ever in a million years — point the finger at someone else, and put herself in a position where she essentially claims no power to make a change for the better?

No one answered that question.  (Interesting, huh?)

Readers did have plenty to say about why men stop helping.  I responded in the comments section below the blog.    Some readers wrote me personal emails as well.

Based on what all of you said, let’s explore the subject a little more.

Why Blame?

What’s the use of blaming?  Why do it? Humans are generally not so fond of emotional pain.  We do whatever it takes to get pain away from us. For example, we:
  • Ignore it.
  • Don’t feel it.
  • Don’t look it in the eye.  Don’t examine it.
So blame works perfectly (theoretically speaking) for off-loading pain.  If I point the finger at someone else, won’t I feel better?  That’s the idea. But experience shows us it doesn’t work.  Not really.

Am I Different From These Women…?

I asked myself this question. It’s a fair question. First I thought, “Oh, I’m really different.  Sure I’ve blamed, but not like that.” Then I thought, “But not like that… hmmm… it’s still blame.  Maybe I’m not so different.” Have I done or said what these women are doing or saying? If I had to answer either yes or no (no qualifiers) I would have to answer yes. I’ve blamed my past partners for all sorts of things.  I have thought (even declared and discussed with friends), how wrong he was.  I’ve had the attitude that men are “less than.” However, somewhere along the way, I learned to be a little classier about blame.
  • I can speak rather eloquently and you can hardly pink and white liliestell I’m blaming.  Even if you’re extra perceptive.
  • I can blame and smile at the same time.
  • I have been known to toss a couple dozen lilies into a conversation reeking of blame, hoping no one would notice the ugly stuff.
  • I’ve colored blame all pretty and perfect looking, and called it “helping.”
  • I’ve been known to dress blame in fancy black tie attire, and really — you’d never know it was blame, it looked so good.
Ahhh… but the heart always knows. ‘Cause even with the overlay of a cheery disposition, blame still feels rotten. I just didn’t know what to do about it at the time.  And neither did the women I quoted. (So no real difference between me and them there.) And, no matter how we dress it up, blame is still blame. (No difference there, either.)

The Verdict Is In

So am I any different than these slug-spitting women, all disgusted and disgruntled with their lazy men who don’t care?  Am I different from these women with 10 inch nails for hair who think men are parasites, or stupid or lazy? In some ways, not really.  Not essentially.  Not so much. But it depends on the measuring stick. I may speak differently.  I may spell differently or put a sentence together differently than these women.  And — we’ve all played the blame game. Yes, I have evolved since the days when I blatantly blamed. Yes, I am growing and changing and learning.  I’ve turned (way) more of my attention to appreciation and noticing what works. What a qualitative difference that has made!  I recommend it! But do I EVER blame now?  Yes.  And I notice that these days, my blame is more sophisticated.  It’s prettier and more likely to fly under the radar. It’s harder to detect. It’s sneakier. Trust me, I still have plenty of work to do. And I’m doing it daily.  I’m cleaning up my act.

How Can I Get More Help?

VOA51-CA334The women I quoted in a previous blog are not my clients, nor would my clients say what I read. But even a smart, resourceful, loving woman can have her version of the question “How do I get more help from my husband?” It’s a good question.  A great question even…

Why Do Men Stop Helping? 

Readers, I’m interested in what you think about any aspect of this subject.  I invite you to share what you’ve experienced or what you’ve witnessed. Coming up next week:  I talked to about 20 men I know personally about this question, and ask them to share from their perspective.   It’s good to hear from both sides of the equation. Please feel free to forward this blog to anyone who would enjoy joining this conversation.  Here’s the shortlink. Thanks in advance for posting your thoughts in Comments below.  Your words won’t appear instantly — to avoid spammers, I will approve your comment. Next Week: Why Men Stop Helping — From The Mouths of Men — Part 3 of 3. Continue Reading

She’s Got Love Fingers

Christie Lenee can play a guitar. She’s the 2017 International Finger Style Guitar Champion of the Year. In September of last year in London, she also won Acoustic Guitarist of the Year.

But lucky for us, she’s not just a champion guitar player. Christie Lenee is also quite the composer.

A friend of hers, Michael Pukac, requested that she write a song, one he described as “the story of love.” She scribbled notes and went to work.

Through Christie’s ability to imagine, his desire became music. Now she plays this song for the world with her love fingers. Lucky you, lucky me, lucky us.

Take very good care of yourself this week. Why not sing a little…



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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.

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Terri Crosby

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