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You Can’t Have It All

You can't have it all
You can’t have it all

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss and dispel the myth that you can have it all.

First a quick update:

“Weiner is another example of men who marry up but cheat down”
Read my insights and quotes to the NY Daily News about why powerful men cheat with powerless women

“Men and women view cheating differently”
Read my press release about the clashing perceptions of cheating. E.g. women view emotional infidelity as worse, not better, than sexual betrayal:

“Men cheating”
Watch and listen to the various interviews I will be giving about men cheating and the motivations:
TV: The Morning Show Australia Thursday 9:35 AM Aussie time
KXNT Las Vegas Radio with Alan Stock Monday June 13, 3:30 PM Pacific Time
Playboy Radio with Tiffany Granath
Monday June 13 at noon

Now, lets’ talk about the myth that you can have it all and the pressure that creates.

In 2005, Jada Pinkett Smith (married to actor & singer Will Smith) was honored as the Artist of the Year by the Harvard University Foundation for being a “distinguished actress, producer, singer, and humanitarian.”

“Don’t let anybody define who you are,” Jada Pinkett Smith tells the audience.

“Don’t let them put you in a box. Don’t be afraid to break whatever ceiling anybody has put on you.”

In spite of a tough childhood with teenage parents who were both heroin addicts, Pinkett Smith is triumphant:

“I can stand here on this stage and say that I’ve proven them all wrong.”

“Women, you can have it all – a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career… They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it.”

“To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas. Be open.”

Some people criticized Pinkett Smith for excluding lesbians when she said women can have it all with a man; others criticized her for saying she excluded the need for action when she said all you need to do to achieve your goals is to have desire. But simply telling women that you don’t have to choose – you can have it all is the belief and the war cry by many of today’s women – they want it all: a strong, successful man who will love and provide for them; an interesting and challenging career; life’s luxuries – the nice home, the vacation, the freedom to travel and lots of material goodies; the healthy body and time to go to yoga or spinning class; to be a mom and have children and; a man who will put them first, have time for them, be devoted and as romantic and infatuated with them as when they were first courting.

Accordingly, there are many successful career women in their thirties and older who are single but unhappy – they want it all – and won’t accept anything else.

Is it possible, though, to truly have it all?

It is in the fairy tales when the Prince rescues the damsel in distress and they live happily ever after. But we never get to see the “ever after.” We don’t see how they both must devote time and energy to the children, the bills, the daily work, the struggles, the mental and emotional issues, the insecurities or even the unexpected – the natural tragedies or illness.

Ironically, Jada’s claims in 2005 of having it all were also followed by comments from Will Smith to a magazine in 2008 that they have an open marriage, and that Will will tell Jada – and vice versa – if they “need to have sex.”

So what is wrong with wanting to have it all?

You cannot devote your time and energy to one area without the other suffering or being neglected.

Here is the common scenario and complaint by married couples to me:

The husband is busy trying to provide for the family and the children’s future colleges; the wife is busy with her own career, raising the children and taking care of the house; hubby helps whenever he can but complains it interferes with his work; the children are busy with school, but they are also having problems because they are not getting enough time, attention & discipline; they’re complaining that they don’t get spend much time with their dad. Meanwhile, mom and dad are arguing or are cold towards each other – they never go out on dates, haven’t been on vacation in a very long time and it’s become a sexless marriage. She resents him because he doesn’t romance her or attend to her emotionally – she no longer feels special as if she is the one, the only one – she feels almost invisible; and he resents her because she doesn’t pay much attention to him, doesn’t appreciate him and there is little sex. The family simply doesn’t do much together anymore.

What is the cause of all of these problems?

There isn’t enough time to do everything and as a result, each person in the family is feeling neglected and suffering. Both partners are struggling to meet society’s expectations to have it all.

Even for couples such as Will and Jada who have the money to hire a nanny, the children will still miss out on critical time with their parents. When Will or Jada are filming, they might be gone for 3 months; it is not possible to take all of the three children and for the entire three months.

Jada says “You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it.” Is she saying that a married mother of three children can leave them with the nanny and daddy while she travels for 3 months exploring the Himalayas or fulfilling some other lifelong dream or ambition? Read my newsletter and article “Selfish parents” about the myth of raising children with quality time versus quantity time.

Can a devoted wife and career woman with responsibilities of children and a house still have time to attend yoga three times a week, get her hair and nails done, meditate, attend church or synagogue, attend that weekend retreat, and still hang out with her friends and visit her ill mother? Will she still have energy for her husband? Even if he is helping her, will she still be able to do it all and have it all? Will they still have energy for their marriage and children?

The answer here is that everyone, regardless of gender (or orientation) needs to become clear about what he or she wants in life. The neurosurgeon, professional ballerina or CEO didn’t start out with a goal plan that said “I want to have it all.” Success and fulfillment in life stem from having a key goal and a list of priorities.

Society and even women themselves have created this belief and curse that a woman must have it all – she has to be everything to everyone – even to herself. Not only does it create a woman who never feels good enough, it creates the pressure to do more, be more and have more – never able to be satisfied and never able to succeed in any one area because the energy and time is split.

What is the most important thing to you?

Do you want your husband to provide a generous salary, working long hours or do you want him to have more time for you? Do you want to be attentive parents who spend time with their children, appreciating them grow and guiding, nurturing and protecting them, doing things together as a family? Do you want a real partnership where the two of you are connected and growing together – still making each other the priority or do you want two people living separate lives and resenting each other because they feel invisible and underappreciated? Do you want to live out of obligation and the expectation that you must have it all, striving to prove yourself right or would you prefer to be happy?

Yes, you need desire and commitment to get what you want. “If you have wanna you can do anything!” Read the bestselling children’s story by Nancy Mure – “The Caterpillar that wouldn’t change”.

Yes, pursue your dreams independent of the opinion or criticism of others. But you must also find your purpose and meaning so that you won’t get lost trying to have it all and you won’t simply join the war cry of everyone else because instead you will be doing what you really want, clear in your own heart about what really matters to you. Decide now what will truly fulfill you and write a list of the most important things in your life.

Also read my press release and article: “Women cannot have it all – hot body, career, happy family & travel“.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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