Become a problem solver, a solution generator like the little engine that could repeating to himself over and over, “I think I can; I think I can.” Our brains live up to our expectations of them. If we think that we are dumber than a box of rocks then we will be dumber than a box of rocks. My first words, when given a problem to solve, were often, “I can’t,” or worse yet, “I’ll try”. You can try to do something forever and never succeed. With enough work and a different attitude, you can master many things that you think that you can’t master. Someone was talking about scuba diving today and what a marvelous experience that was. You know what my first thought was that I am not a good swimmer. That would be my first hurdle, the swimming and treading water requirements you must pass before before you even get to go into the beginner’s program. But you know, I could master that and go on to have the fun and enjoyment that people get out of scuba diving. I am lucky in other areas. For example, I am not afraid of public speaking or writing. But my lack of self-confidence got in the way of my considering scuba diving.
Children are fearfully and wonderfully made. You can always learn something new. As you might know, I am teaching a child psychology class this summer. What I am reading is reinforcing what I already knew. Children are busy little beavers from birth and they come equipped with amazing hardware which enables them to perceive and understand their environment.
Children are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are not just passive receptacles of stimuli. They are programed to take it in in a certain way and then use it to form an amazing 3-D, multi-sensory model. It forms their conception of what the world is like. From this, they proceed to make assumptions about how things are and they use these assumptions to draw conclusions about what will happen in their environment. This will lead to developing concepts like depth perception and object permanence.
Do you have problems around the issue of control? Do you live with a control freak or are you a control freak? Indirectly you may be one if you let everybody else take control. Are you flexible? Do you want to reduce stress? In order to get a task done, do you usually have to compromise? Do you run upon people who you can’t count on even if they are a lot of fun to be with and they take control that way? Does someone who throws a lot of (you think unnecessary) paperwork at you and who demands that you follow numerous rules and regulations as well drive you crazy?
Do you stay in control by letting other people take control? Do you ever think that you will get to a win-win solution for both yourself and the other person or persons involved? Traumatic, isn’t it? Have you ever felt like you were a doormat? Everybody steps on you and then wipes their dirty feet on you? Ready to quit working with these types of people and start over somewhere else where people aren’t like this? With control freaks, it is my way or the highway.
I am a modified control freak when I need to get a task done and it is my duty, job, or responsibility or all three. I once was put by myself in charge of three wards in the lunch room in an insane asylum while the other aides took a lunch break. I stuck it out even though I got slapped in the face by a disorderly resident while I was on my own. I always say, “The buck stops here,” like Harry Truman. Being a mother or babysitting is also a situation where I have to maintain control especially concerning the safety of the child or children I am in charge of. Sometimes in situations somebody has to take control and that person is you. You may have never wanted the position, but somebody has to do it.
Everybody has to take a position on the control issue different from the one they are comfortable with sometime. Maybe you should practice being less of a control freak or more of a control freak. I know this takes you out of your comfort zone but the most growth usually occurs when you do that. You may surprise yourself.
What we encounter in the mirror of life is important for our personal development. Things come into our lives to reflect different parts of ourselves that we often can not see otherwise.
The mirror of life does not reflect the same things to different people. Psychological studies have shown that when people who witness the same scene are asked to recall what they saw, they will recall different things depending on who they are and what they are interested in. Picture a murder scene in a mansion. Besides the family of the murder victim, there are three witnesses. An interior decorator remembers the abominable decor and what horrible taste the murder victim had who owned the mansion, a mechanical engineer remembers how hot it was in the room and that the air conditioning system must not have been working and that the body would decompose rapidly, and a psychologist might have noted that the members of the murder victim’s family who were present were not very upset. Different things struck the attention of each witness and it effected what they remembered and/or found significant.
The mirror of life just does not only reflect our interests in life, but also presents certain things for us to see and experience. Some religious or spiritual people feel that certain people and certain things show up in our life for a reason. For example, a person who is not comfortable being around people with developmental disabilities might find themselves having a child or grandchild with Down syndrome. Other people who are sensitive to certain kinds of slights are more likely to interpret or misinterpret what might seem to another person just to be a harmless remark. An extreme form of this is paranoia.
The judgments that you pass about a given situation or certain person may tell more about you than it does about the situation or the person that you make a comment on. Psychologically a person or persons who find overweight people disgusting may be hiding the fact that they have an eating disorder and are secretly scared that they might become overweight themselves. On the one hand, what you comment on in a given situation presented to you by the mirror of life might reveal more about you than you would like. On the other hand, you can use this information to understand yourself better and possibly even make changes in the way you do and see things.
Things you are not to talk about keep you in a prison of silence. There are things you don’t share with others. It can be a burden to carry these things alone and to whose advantage is this? Probably it was to the advantage of the person who taught you not to talk about these things. Yes, they probably told you that they were telling you this for your own good. If fact, they may have implied that they and only they can tolerate you and even they don’t want to hear certain things from you. These are things which you will not talk about if you want to be loved and accepted by them.
When it comes to abuse, it is the things you are taught not to talk about that keep you, if you are the abuse victim, from stopping the abuse. Abusers often use this ploy to get you (the one who is being abused) to believe that others will reject or punish you if you talk about the abuse and that the abusers can cause harm to you or your family if you talk about the abuse. There is no way to know if this will happen or not if you don’t tell somebody.
Take a moment and make a list of things that you are not to talk about. It will tell you a lot about you and the people who influenced your life. Low self-esteem is fostered by the idea that you really are a failure and/or a bad person and if someone else found this out, they would reject you. This is one of the most important aspects of therapy being able to tell another person anything without losing their support.
I am not talking to you about this in order to make you a compulsive truth teller. I believe that you have a right to choose what information that you will share with others. There are people out there that will ask you some very embarrassing questions and for information about you that you don’t need to share with them; but who are you protecting and why? Are there people in your life that you can and should share this information with? Is it causing you more stress to keep this information to yourself than it would to be to finally get it off your chest?
Are there impossible dreams? What do you think? Almost everything starts as a dream, a dream of something we might like to be true. Bringing up hypnosis again, hypnosis can change a person’s perception of what is possible and the impossible can happen. For example, a person can have surgery without anesthesia.
What about what seem to be the impossible dreams of other people? How often do we reject another person’s reality as impossible? What if we accept it first and wait to reject it later when we have examined the proposition? Take it a step further. What if we believed that if another person thought something was possible, it would be possible? Take “peace on earth”. How quickly do you reject that idea as impossible? How quickly could it be accomplished if people accepted the idea? There are studies where people concentrated on such ideas, visualized them, and prayed about them and things like crime in that area were reduced.
We often are controlled by others when we accept the idea that something can’t be done. They tell us we have impossible dreams. How often has it rained on your parade when someone convinced you that something you wanted to do couldn’t be done? You started out with a smile on your face and wound up with it turned upside down. People who feel powerless often try to become powerful by controlling other people’s lives when they can not control their own lives. Just think how all that enthusiasm that gets quashed could be used to accomplish something.
Suspending Judgment is necessary if you are going to explore uncharted territory. Being ready to change your mind if necessary about some things is also important when learning about new things. It is usually more comfortable to hang on to old beliefs and to “integrate” new findings into them; but you can not usually just do this and at the same time really master the new material. Be ready to suspend judgment and change your mind about something if it is required in order to understand something new.
Suspending judgment is one giant step towards allowing yourself to experience something new. Many of us are experienced at making quick judgments and snap decisions. Doing this effectively shuts us off from exploring the unfamiliar with an open mind. Recently I experienced eating something that was not a sandwich or a piece of fried chicken with my hands instead of with silverware. I hesitated. Silly wasn’t it. How you eat your food is a matter of habit and it changes with the customs of the people with whom you are having a meal. I could have spoiled a nice social occasion by being more concerned about how I was eating something than with whom I was eating.
Suspending judgment leads to thinking out of the box. Brain storming works best when people concentrate on coming up with ideas rather than on prematurely eliminating them by initially passing judgment on them. Juries are asked to do this when trying someone accused of a crime. They are asked to suspend making a judgment until all the evidence is in. Lawyers in picking a jury often have trouble finding people who haven’t already done this based on what they have heard about the case before the trial. To be open-minded and to suspend judgment is often the best initial approach to any situation. It is often very embarrassing to find out that you have misjudged someone or something when there is new information revealed that you were not aware of initially.