We’re digging deeper into your core foundational beliefs about the world around us and how you fit into it. I gave you a list of six categories that are the most influential in terms of the self-esteem you develop and how happy and successful you ultimately become. Let’s review them again:
Last post we looked at money and success. Now let’s explore the beliefs and programming around marriage and relationships. The memes to watch out for in this category are:
The difference between healthy, nurturing relationships and toxic, dysfunctional ones makes a massive shift in your mental health, harmony, and overall prosperity. In fact, your relationships could be the most influential determinant. Because your connection to those around you – whether they build you up or tear you down, and whether or not they bring you peace, joy, and empathy – will impact every area of your life: health, career, family, and spiritual. Note: I won’t cover all the relationship effects in this post, as some are better addressed in the ones about god/religion and sex/sexuality and will be covered in those.
First let’s deal with the construct of marriage itself. Unfortunately, this is another area where organized religion casts its dark shadow on your prosperity. Religion has saddled us with a lot of dysfunctional – even batshit crazy – mandates regarding relationships but especially marriage. These includes practices and directives like arranged marriages, woman treated as property, child brides, only proper between opposite sexes, paying of dowries, and prohibition of divorce. As usual, government loves the opportunity to meddle and control, and has in many cases, legislated much of this religious dogma into law.
So before you even find someone to marry, the very institution itself is riddled with doctrines and laws that may produce horrific consequences for you, in terms of your self-belief and self-esteem. Suppose you marry an abuser but believe divorce is a sin, you’re a woman who is treated like chattel, or a non-heterosexual denied basic human rights – the effect on your prosperity and happiness could be devastating.
When we discussed the effects of the Datasphere, I wrote about the unrequited love memes, so won’t repeat them here. But it is worth noting how insidious they are, and that they are a direct descendant of the “you’re not worthy” memes propagated so frequently by organized religion.
It’s definitely worth your time to do some critical thinking on whether you have been self-sabotaging your relationships because you’ve been programmed to believe you don’t deserve happiness in this lifetime.
Likewise, I wrote about the timeless “hero’s journey” memes we’re assaulted with. If you’ve been infected with these memes, you could subconsciously be blowing up your marriage or relationship (or even close friendships) – seeking to create a more heroic hero’s journey, to assuage feelings of low self-esteem.
Acting out this situation is what I’ll call the “noble victim” meme. This isn’t just a kneejerk reaction caused by negative programming. It can also produce an emotional payoff that keeps you in permanent victimhood. Because you’re emotionally unable to accept love, you substitute pity and attention in its place. I lived with this noble victim mentality for 30 years. Many people keep it their whole lives.
Jim Rohn liked to say that your income will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I believe this principle applies to every area of prosperity. As a result, the satisfaction level of your marriage will likely be the median of the five couples you most interact with.
And here’s something that can have a major effect: most of the time, two of those five couples are your parents…and your in-laws.
Now if your parents and in-laws both are examples of healthy, loving, and empowering marriages, great. You’ve been gifted with some beautiful relationship models. But I doubt you’ll be shocked to learn that most marriages today don’t fit this definition. And perhaps the most important thing to influence your marriage is the role models you and your spouse grew up watching in your formative years.
If one of your parents cheated on the other, was abusive to the other, or they argued all of the time – you probably crystalized a core belief that this is how marriage and romantic relationships normally work. Most people continue the generational pattern of their parents’ relationship without even thinking about it.
The other big dynamic that comes into play is how incompatibility of beliefs in the other five core main categories can bleed into and destroy your relationships. Some ways this can manifest…
If one partner has poverty consciousness and the other one has prosperity consciousness, you’ll end up fighting over everything from furniture to groceries, and vacations to the car you buy. If one partner is indoctrinated with religious beliefs about sex and the other isn’t, that’s pretty much a blueprint for an unfulfilling sex life. The same with differing beliefs about wellness, work, and of course…religion.
If you’re Catholic or Hindu, and your partner is Jewish or Mormon, believe it or not, that’s fairly workable, because you’re both infected with the same type of mind virus. But there are many possible tripwires. If one partner is not a believer, they will likely resent and rebel against making major life decisions based on centuries old superstitions.
I was dating a Mexican guy and we were in church one Sunday morning. (Yes, I used to be superstitious.) There was a gay couple sitting in the row ahead of us and they held hands and were lovey-dovey during the service. We went to brunch afterward, and my partner revealed how upset he was with the couple’s demonstration of affection. I thought it was beautiful to witness and asked why he was against two people demonstrating their love. He replied that he didn’t think it was appropriate in church. I said that I thought was the perfect place to do that. My partner replied that they shouldn’t do that in church “in front of the children.”
I slapped my forehead because I finally recognized why we were having so many problems in our own relationship. My partner was homophobic.
Perhaps you think it’s incongruent, irrational, and contradictory for a gay man to be homophobic. Of course it is! But this situation happens often in the LGBTQ community and is a big contributor to dysfunctional relationships, death wish behaviors, and suicide. In my partner’s case, growing up in Mexico, he was brainwashed with the beliefs of Catholicism his entire childhood. He grew into adulthood and accepted his biological nature of homosexuality – but never cleaned out the destructive mental programming in his subconscious mind.
One of the most destructive memes for relationships is the “you complete me” one. The number of stories, films, and TV shows built around this meme are in the millions. (With Jerry Maguire being the textbook example.) The “you complete me” belief is toxic because it’s based on the low self-esteem assumption that you aren’t a whole person by yourself and require another to be sufficient. If you believe you need someone to complete you, you’re not emotionally mature enough to be in a relationship. And if someone tells you that you complete them, hit the ejector seat. Quickly.
Just like the other five categories of core beliefs, mind viruses in this category can cause you to create some pretty harmful beliefs. So what is a prosperous way to view marriage and relationships?
First, start with a belief that relationships can be wholesome and positive, and that it is not normal for them to be toxic and negative. Okay actually in society, the toxic negative ones are “normal,” but normal is not what you have to settle for here. You can love and appreciate yourself enough to allow yourself to have harmonious relationships that enrich your life. And you are not obligated to remain in a poisonous relationship for anyone or any institution. Anyone that seeks you to remain in a toxic relationship is toxic. They don’t have your highest good at heart and should be treated as a threat to your prosperity.
Replace negative beliefs about relationships with a belief that they are built upon attraction, understanding, mutual life goals, and love. Recognize that gender, sexuality, and the conventional beliefs about them are almost irrelevant. Seriously. If you find someone that excites and inspires you, someone who brings joy to your life and you bring joy to their's, and you want to share your life with them, then do that. And forget about seeking approval from anyone or any institution. It is your life. Live it with prosperity consciousness. Approval from anyone or anything else is not required.
As with the other five categories, releasing victimhood is necessary...
If you have fallen prey to the hero’s journey/noble victim patterns of behavior, you must recognize that you have two distinct choices: remain a victim or become a victor. You only get to choose one. Choose mindfully.
Next up, we’ll look at the limiting beliefs about sex and sexuality. Before then, I'd love to see your thoughts below.