#SallysQuote no.2: Why don’t we do the right thing?

My approach to sex & relationship education

Did you ever put a condom on a banana?  We did in the science lab at school as part of the curriculum.  In this day and age sex education in school is pretty informative; we know pretty much all there is to know about the birds and the bees (and bananas).  We know what goes where, how a baby is formed, what we could catch if we aren’t protected and how to protect ourselves. 

banana

I like to think of myself as a reasonably astute person; I went to a grammar school which shows I was reasonably academic and I was given all the above information.  So how then, with all this supposed common sense and intelligence, did I find myself accidentally pregnant at 18 and a single mother at 19?

I believe the answer to this is in my next #SallysQuote.  Today we are talking about my approach to sex and relationship education which is a little different to that in schools.

“Nobody is ever going to behave differently than they feel…you can’t make the rules strong enough or the laws big enough or the punishment grave enough to get people to behave other than the way they feel.

Abraham-Hicks

The reason my life turned out how it did is due to the fact that we can often intellectually comprehend an idea but that does not mean that we will automatically apply the concept to our lives.  For example, I may know that a condom will protect me from pregnancy or an STD but in real life there could be many different reasons why I might not apply this information:  

  • I may be head over heels in love (or lust) with someone who doesn’t want to wear one
  • I may feel like the person I desperately want to have sex with won’t want to do it with me if I ask them to wear a condom
  • I may feel too shy or embarrassed to ask my partner to put on a condom
  • I may feel like it’s their responsibility and not mine
  • I may not want to ruin the moment by talking contraception
  • I may not like the feel of a condom 
  • I may even have a latex allergy

Feelings can override intellectual ideas

I may feel in the moment that the risk is worth taking, whatever I know conceptually about the harm I could come to.  Whether we like it or not an overwhelming feeling can very easily overrule an intellectual idea, no matter how sensible the concept.  

I bet you can think of a time that something was the “right thing to do” or something you knew would be good for you but you didn’t do it.  Just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean we always do it.

The emotional side of sex education

This is the part of sex education that I like to address in my work: the emotional part.  Until we discover that we can have control over the way we feel and we can have control over what we focus on, we are not fully in control of our behaviour and consequently what happens to us.

Just because we know how to put a condom on a banana (or anything else) doesn’t mean we will use one. In real life we don’t always act according to the textbooks.  We have our own feelings and emotions that can sometimes rule our actions. 

To be aware of what we are thinking and feeling and to learn to use our focus in a way that will benefit us, is to fully claim our power and that is what I like to help people to realise.  

responsible

#SallysQuote no.1

For my first ever #SallysQuote I want to discuss a quote I have about responsibility.  WAIT, don’t switch off, I know the word “responsibility” is not sexy.  We usually hear about responsibility from somebody who is trying to get us to do what they want us to do; a teacher, parent, or the authorities.  I want to tell you there is a way to look at it that feels empowering, liberating and gets you back in control.

“living responsibly is knowing what we are and are not responsible for.  We need to know what is and is not subject to our volitional choice—what is and is not within our power—what is up to us and what isn’t.  Without this understanding, we cannot practice intelligent self-responsibility, and we cannot protect ourselves against others’ inappropriate demands—or the inappropriate demands we place upon ourselves.”~ Nathaniel Branden

We definitely want to protect ourselves from others’ inappropriate demands and the inappropriate demands we have of ourselves so how do we know what we are and are not responsible for?

I am going to use my friend as an example:  I have a “hippy” friend who has gone the “natural” route. She has stopped cutting her hair, stopped washing her hair and has stopped shaving her armpits.  My friend has turned into Chewbacca. It’s not a good look!

Byron Katie’s work is founded on the principle of staying in your own business and this is what I try live by. The basic principle is that there are three kinds of business: The Universe’s business; My business; Your business. The only business we are responsible for is our own and if we poke our noses into any other business, this is where things will go wrong.

Focusing on any business other than our own will only cause us stress and bring us out of balance – not to mention the problems it might cause in our relationships.

 The Universe is in charge of:

The weather; natural disasters; climate change… and so on.

Worrying about the Universe’s business, or trying to take care of the Universe’s business is way out of our depth. It will only cause us pain.

Going back to the example of my friend, I could focus on her hair and wish it would stop growing, but clearly this is not something that’s within my control. Wishing her hair would stop growing will just stress me out.

You are in charge of:

What you are doing and what you are thinking (even if that is about me or to me)

My friend is in charge of her own body; it’s up to her what she does with it. What anyone else thinks or feels about her appearance is really not her concern.

I am in charge of:

How I feel, talk and act.

I am in charge of how I behave and act around my friend – but also how I think and feel about her.

I could focus on how embarrassing it is to be seen with my friend; how I believe her hair needs to be tidied up; how she looks untidy and unclean – but that’s her business, and not mine.

I have several options in this scenario, and this is where I have the control. I can choose to tell my friend how I feel; I can decide privately to just avoid being seen out with her; I can choose to no longer be friends with her… Or I can just accept that how she wears her hair is her choice, and focus on the fact that she is a supportive, caring friend to me.

Ultimately, if my friend likes her hair as it is, the only “resposibility” I have is to manage my own feelings about that. The more I tell myself that the situation should be different than it is, the more stress I am going to have. If I can accept what is and stay in my own business, I have the chance for peace.

To recap:

My responsibility is: MY hair; MY opinion of my friend’s hair; MY decision about whether to tell her MY feelings about her hair; what I want to tell MYself about her hair, and whether I want to change what I am telling MYself; MY decision as to whether I want to continue being friends with her.

You can apply this to any and every situation in your life.


My book is called It’s All About Me because that is the strongest message I have. Even if we think it’s about somebody else, ultimately it’s about us because within ourselves is the point at which we have control. Our business is our “responsibility” and that is where our power lies. When you stay in your business it is empowering; you have complete control, and taking responsibility feels good.

Taking responsibility for ourselves

The word responsibility can be broken down:

response-ability

In other words, our ability to respond to something.

If we stay in our own business our attention will be focused and more effective.

As Byron Katie says:

“If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is living mine?”

So focus on your life, and choose your response to what comes up. That is your responsibility – your only responsibility.

If everyone could learn to live like this, we would have world peace!