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anxiety

Do You Hear Only What You Want To Hear?

Do You Hear Only What You Want to Hear Or See Only What You Want To See?  Do you sometimes tune things out and skip parts of the material that is given to you? or that is shown to you?rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgI go to a place to meet my spiritual needs and I go to hear what God wants me to know.  I try to go with no preconceived notions of what I will get from attending church that day.  I quiet myself and pay attention to what is prayed, said, or done.  It is a time to be in the moment, not about feeling bad for what has happened in the past or being anxious or worried about the future.

Something was said yesterday during the service that I caught and am presenting here.  This idea not only applies to worship services, but also to doctor visits, books, lectures or workshops.We often hear what we want to hear not actually was said or intended.  When we learn something new, we often make changes to other ideas we have held or if this makes us uncomfortable we decide to tweak the material that was presented so it fits our notions of how the world should be.

Gossiping

Gossiping

Ever play the game of gossip and noticed how distorted the original message became?

We may tune in and tune out adjusting what we do hear to make it more acceptable no matter what the content.  We can have attacks of boredom.  We can become irritated because we have to sit there and listen to the speaker drone on and on.  We can day dream or even fall asleep.  Pay attention there may be something useful there.

This also can apply to visual material like posters, power point presentations.   Did you read the quote presented at the top of this post.  Here it is again.rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpg How did it make you feel: comfortable or uncomfortable.  Are you generally open and receptive? or do you not like someone else telling you what to do and/or commenting  on your appearance, possessions, and family.  You have your own ideas and are comfortable with them.

I realize when I jump to conclusions I don’t pay attention to what is being presented.  Stereotypes of people and cultures leave much to be desired and prevent us from encompassing diversity and learning what these people and cultures are really like.

Now you may understand why that Active Listening (Carl Rogers) is so important in communication.  Being able to repeat what the other person has said before giving your reply encourages people to hear everything that was said.

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

Take A Trip This Christmas And Leave Your Worries Behind

Take a trip this Christmas.  It doesn’t matter where you go  if you know you won’t have to do anything but enjoy the ride.  That is what I am going to do when I take a Christmas shopping trip tomorrow.  Somebody else is driving and I don’t have to worry about getting in and out of the vehicle and finding a parking space.  We are going out to dinner and seeing Christmas lights.  The most it will cost me is a small fee for the ride and whatever I decide to pay for my food at dinner.  I have nothing in particular to get and I will be happy to get out and about no matter what stores we go to.  It is out of my hands and I like it that way.  There will be no drama as far as I am concerned as I don’t expect more than what I have described on this trip.

rp_300px-Face-smile.svg_.pngI leaving my worries and bills at home.  My motto at home is ” what house gets kept I keep”;  and I am sure the household chores that don’t get done before I go will be there waiting there for me when I get home.    I will empty my mind and leave room to experience the gift of the present.  I will not be concerned with whether or not I will make friends. . I just want to get along with the other passengers.   I won’t be rude or crude.  I don’t care which seat I get in the bus.  I won’t fight over a window seat .  I won’t try to take control of the group riding the bus and demand that they sing Christmas carols, the ones that I want to sing

I am going to let go and no matter what happens (even if it doesn’t make me deliriously  happy) I am going to accept it and realize that the privilege of getting to go on the trip is enough  and so is having a chance to to leave all my cares behind.  Now your “trip” might not be my “trip”; but do it anyway.  Just let go and do something with few expectations about what will happen.  Give yourself a break.  If  possible, leave all or as many of your responsibilities behind as you can.  You can always take them back up again when your “trip” ends.

When Will You Come Out Of The Closet And Help Yourself Or Others??

rp_300px-Baby.jpgThe value of human life is invaluable but many people want us to hide our light under a bushel basket so that they can let theirs shine.  When are you going to come out of the closet and stop others from making us do this.  Just as it is life changing for a homosexual to come out of the closet so is it life changing for any individual to come out of the closet and expose who he or she really is.

Forcing a belief system on another through coercion is not the way to spread love and knowledge.  We all have something to contribute and to have another’s belief system forced upon us out of the fear that our expressing our beliefs system which is different will restrict theirs.

I believe we all have something to contribute if we believe in our selves from the most developmentally disabled individual to the most brilliant and verbal individual.  When we assemble in a group, why do we almost automatically begin to judge ourselves against each other.  Leaving some people out and promoting other people to positions of leadership over the rest of us.  How often does someone sit quietly in a classroom because they feel that they have little to contribute.  So often people criticize others and complain about others so strongly that they cause others to shut up and make no contributions for fear of being criticized.

rp_3476636111_c551295ca4_m.jpgGreat people like Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross have recognized the contributions of “little” people that most people don’t notice or ignore.  How about the cleaning lady who when she goes into hospital rooms her mere presence quiets and comforts dying patients?  Consider the behavior of the “Father” also known as Pope Francis who has not taken on the pompt and circumstance of being the Pope and thus has discouraged those in the Vatican and Cardinals and other clergy in positions of authority from elevating themselves above other religious or common folk.

How uncertain are we about expressing ourselves when we see what other people can do to us when we express ourselves.  In psychology, this is called relational aggression versus direct aggression which involves actually hurting someone physically.  Rejecting someone and encouraging others to reject them too can be deadly (sometimes resulting in self-murder or suicide or mass murders of innocent people) .  Have you ever feel that your own opinion was as good or better as someone else’s or that your instinct to do something in a given situation would have resulted in a better outcome than someone else got? but we stay quiet.  How much does that actually help the world  if all the good people  keep their mouths shut.

All of us are diamonds in the rough.  It just takes cutting and polishing to bring out our brilliance.   Some of us are fearful of going through this process.  Some of us do not have enough self-confidence.  What if people like Ghandi kept their mouth shut.  What if mother Teresa had been content to just be an ordinary nun?  Would she have been more comfortable?  When Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross came out against quarantining and rejecting children who had aids (through no fault of their own), she was virtually kicked out of the community that wouldn’t let her take them in.

embarassingquestionsHow often have you been in a group where you kept your mouth shut even though you might have said what many others were also thinking?  This can be true about supporting homosexuals right to lead normal lives without rejection and persecution.  Have you ever kept your mouth shut in a group where someone was trying to do this? or something similar?  I am not wanting to take away anyone’s right to disapprove of homosexuality while taking the right to app0rove of it or at least not to reject it.  On the one hand, everyone  has rights and we have to be careful not to take away someone’s rights while asserting the right to have our own.  On the other hand, have you ever supported someone else’s rights while keeping quiet about your right to your own beliefs?

Comparing Yourself To Others

How often when you hear about some other person , do you enter into a self made competition with them?  Why do we always have to be better than or, worse yet, worse than somebody else.  Often when I hear good news about somebody else I automatically enter myself into competition with them.  I hear it is wonderful “so and so” lost so much weight and I think that is more weight than I have lost recently and it’s a “downer”.  I wonder if this person now weighs less than I do.  It is a matter of winning  or losing.  Maybe  I originally wasn’t  even thinking about losing weight but  now I am.  Who turned someone else’s accomplishment into a competition?  I did.

rp_7297340494_bbd50a8706_m.jpgYou are reading the Alumni news from your school and you realize you have gotten no where in life when you compare yourself to other people in your class or to all those who also had the same major as you.  Does your heart race or do you gasp for breath when you realize there is a competition going on and you might be losing.  How about when it looks like you are winning.  Who are you happy for the person whose good news you are reading about or yourself if you have done better than that person?

What is more important the goal or the process.  Should you feel that if you have not published a number of books in your life time, you have not been successful,  or is it more important that you enjoyed writing the book and you were writing about something that you felt was important.

This is not always true in other countries where what you do is considered part of a group effort and the group’s goals are more important than the individual’s.  It is your contribution to that not your individual achievement of a personal goal that is important.

Worrying about how I am doing and comparing my accomplishments against some kind of scale can take the enjoyment out of life,  Back when I was a child, I remembering enjoying participating in a team sports even if I was not one of the best players and therefore, one of the first players picked .  There was always  an atmosphere of enthusiasm and excitement and a rush that continued after the game was over even if you didn’t win.

Competition can lead to creativity but I can remember getting so “high” doing a project that in the creation  of it that I lost rack of time and the need to satisfy the basic needs for such things as food and sleep.  I had no guarantee that I was going to win or fear that I was going to lose but I was inspired and so immersed in what I was doing that I forgot about anything else.

Being so competitive can lead to anxiety if you don’t always win at everything.  I used to have to win all the games at a bridal or baby shower. I had to have the only “A” in class.   I really wasn’t a good winner, let alone loser.

The “rush” to judgment I can still feel today if I don’t stop myself and ask myself why I am being so competitive.  Why can’t we all be the best that we can be still remembering that the end doesn’t always justify the means.. success-churchill-550x240

Consider children in a family, can the success of one to mean the failure of another?  Brains, beauty, physical abilities, is there only enough to go around for one person only in a family to be considered to have it.

Can there be only one daddy’s girl or mommy’s boy or grandpa or grandma’s favorite.  There is a shortage of something here.  Is there not enough admiration or love to go around?

Competition can sometimes lead to increased effort on the one hand and the other hand it can lead to decreased effort if there is not enough attention, pride, fame, and money to go around.  Have you ever given up at something because of this?  I didn’t realize until I got out of high school that beauty often comes from knowing what to wear and being able to do your hair and makeup and knowing you look good, and having the self confidence that comes from this.rp_KUWtK_titlecard.png

It also took lots of time and effort.  Creating the look, checking out what was in style, and finding it.  Also girls had power over one another in this area and those who were on top often stayed that way by making sure that other girls would lose their position at the top of the heap.

I found out that I could look good when for a special occasion I had my hair and makeup done and had on attractive, stylish clothes.  I also learned later in life that those girls who I thought had it made often were not as confident as I thought they were and often spent a lot of  time dieting, picking out  clothes, and doing their hair, makeup and nails to maintain their “look.”  Being constantly judged like this was stressful for them and they were not always as self-confident as I thought they were.

Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go; Why Change Is So Hard

rp_Cant_Get_You_Out_Of_My_Thoughts.jpgLet it go, let it go, let it go.  Why change is so hard.  Did you ever think you were perfect? That you can’t make a mistake.  Many people do and that is why it is so hard for most people to change.  To change and therefore admit that you might need forgiveness for something that you did is almost impossible for some people.  Too often we are so hard on ourselves that we can’t or won’t let us make a mistake.  Changing something indicates that you didn’t do something right the first time.  Edison and Lincoln shared the same “fault?”  They had many failures and thus had to admit that they did something wrong and change what they were doing.

Frequently that is one of the biggest blocks to success in therapy.  The patient has to admit that something or somethings that they did in the past didn’t work and that is why they are not working for them in the present.  For example, men often say, “If I could just find a woman that….” my problems would be solved.  Group therapy is sometimes useful in removing this block because of the feedback that they get from other group members that this tactic is not working.  They may be able to give this man many different examples of how this didn’t work in this man’s everyday life and in the group itself.rp_Crookedfingersdignity.jpg

When it comes to control, the only one you can really control and thus change is yourself.  If you believe that things for you won’t change unless other people change, you are at a dead end.  In our society, we are often looking for someone to blame and yet if the person at fault won’t admit that then things won’t change.

In experiments, it is as often as important to find out what doesn’t work as it is to find out what works.  People often find this so hard to accept that they falsify consciously or unconsciously results.  For example, in a study on snake phobia, psychologists found people who admitted they were snake phobic and thus could be tested for effectiveness of the therapeutic procedure by facing a real live snake.  Real snake phobics wouldn’t do that and thus wouldn’t admit they were snake phobic because they were too afraid that that might happen.rp_300px-High_Anxiety_movie_poster.jpg

These scientists often feel that they have only made a significant contribution if they have found the cure that works which would only have worked in this situation because the experimental subjects they found were not “real” snake phobics.  They would have been hiding in the woodwork where I hid when they brought real snakes into the office hidden in shoe boxes.

Sometimes the greatest findings are made by mistake.  Something goes wrong in the experimental process and the scientists are in spite of this successful.  This can be true in therapy.  Often when a person is trying to find someone to love them, they are not aware that person really has to be him or herself.  How can you love yourself if you do things wrong and can’t forgive yourself, let alone find others to forgive you.  No many people think mistakenly that you have to be perfect for others to love you and you can’t admit that you have done anything wrong and get the love you need.rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPG

 

Don’t Hit Him, Hit Me

Don’t hit him; hit me.  The bystander problem.  When you are little you may not realize that you are not big enough to take somebody on or that society thinks it is an inappropriate for someone in your role in society to do this.  Those words are a childhood memory.  Why would I remember them if they were something I did not say and something I did not experience.

In school, I once attacked someone who was attacking my brother (who is two years older).  I didn’t stop to think if this was appropriate.  I just went to his defense.

Living with someone with a bad temper is both contagious and dangerous and promotes inappropriate ways of solving problems.  What will a child as a bystander do?  Defend her siblings, defend her mother or father whom she sees as helpless?  A child thinks he rp_6690197133_ebab8b0bfd_m.jpgcan do anything he thinks of as children have good imaginations and are not so bound by reality as older people are.

Sometimes it is more painful to be a bystander in these situations than to be the victim who knows how much it hurts.  Something going wrong in the family with other members can leave a child feeling helpless.  What would hurt worse?  Being paddled yourself or watching another family member that you love and who you are close to being beaten?

Sometimes people don’t know the damage they do when they get their anger out on anyone or anything that they can get to while not fearing retaliation.  What would you rather do lose your own life and save the life of another or lose the lives of others and be there to suffer the loss.  Most parents say that they would like to die before their children do.

 

Ruminating? Is It Useful?

rp_8619481133_df8a85fccf_m.jpgHave a problem you can’t solve?  Has somebody hurt you?  Do you like to talk it over with a friend or friends?  Do you want to share your frustration or hurt feelings.  Do you think it will make you feel better if someone thinks or feels the same way you do?

A little coruminating can help but continuous airing of frustrations, bad news, or unrequited love can make you feel worse, especially for women.  Depression can deepen and anxiety increase and you can even drive away friends with your constant texting or late night phone calls.

Pathways can be reinforced in our brains and associated feelings can be intensified with constant musings and repetitious ventilating.  Going over and over a problem for which there is no current solution or recourse is frustrating both for you and the person you are sharing it with.  It may even make it worse leaving you unable to recognize a solution or change in the situation when it happens.

Sometimes you can create a time table suggesting when you should try to solve the problem again or when you really should worry because you haven’t heard from someone.  In the mean time take a break and encourage yourself not to do anything rash or jump to conclusions.rp_300px-High_Anxiety_movie_poster.jpg

For example, being called to jury duty may throw a wrench in your monkey works if you are sequestered in a jury on long infamous trial but you might get excused from jury duty before you even have to report because of something that you didn’t know would excuse you from serving in the first place or after you get called in for the jury selection for a trial.

There is one thing that I usually say to myself when I start worrying about something that might happen or have happened and that is usually when something bad happens, I don’t expect it so if I am worrying that it has, it probably hasn’t happened.

Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think.  Excuse yourself from ruminating about something especially when you don’t have all the information and won’t have it for a while.  Yes, be ready when the time comes to do something about it.  It is a lot easier to prepare for something and make plans for when something happens when you’re not worried about it and can think rationally.

 

Chained Emotions

Do you have chained emotions?  Yes, you do.  chained-emotionsEvery time you get to feeling guilty, worthless, or hopeless when you look at something or think of something.  These are learned reactions and while they might have been appropriate when they first occurred, they are not helping you now.  I can leave the moment and ruin the day I am having when I do this.  I also can just let my imagination run away with me and after living in the past and reliving past disappointments, I can envision myself in the future having the same unfortunate things happening to me again.  No wonder I just can’t see any hope for me in my situation.  I can easily list the things that I can think of or see in my ordinary life or on TV or the internet that do this to me.  I have frustrating appliances that are on their last legs and feel extremely deprived because I don’t have new ones and anticipate the problems I will have when they “conk” out.

You have heard of self-fulfilling prophescies well I am creating them when I think this way.  I may feel bad when some “bad” thing happens but why does just the thought of something like that happen to elicit such a strong emotional response.  In psychology, it is called conditioning and it’s a learned response associated with a certain stimulus.  When this happens then whenever that stimulus appears again real or imagined, we automatically have that response.  What we focus on we get.  That is a self fulfilling prophesy.

Stop feeling what you don’t want to feel, stop being dragged down by past emotional reactions.  For example with a failing appliance, be thankful that it still works and lasted so long.  Be grateful for every extra load of dishes that get washed or cup of coffee that gets made.  Pretend this is not really your house so it doesn’t matter what the appliances are like.  Think of how much nicer the new appliances will be when you get them.  They will be spanking new, work perfectly, and save you lots of time.  You can get just what you want.  Go shopping but only with a positive attitude.  You know it pays to shop around.  Who knows you might find a bargain!  Remember that new car smell, the pristine appearance of a newly painted wall, how much fun you will have trying out a new appliance.  Focus on this not on that.

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Rules To Become A Better Person

English: Graphic on forgiveness

English: Graphic on forgiveness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What rules do I have for being a better person?  I answered this question in a post of another website.  Some are easily remembered and others I often am only reminded of when I do not follow them.

Rules To Become A Better Person:

Don’t pass judgments on others.  This means too that I will keep a rein on any criticizing.  As the Bible says, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

To forgive all wrongs that have been done to me and in doing so practice extreme forgiveness.  Not to hold a grudge.  Not to carry resentments against others.  Going even further this means forgiving every person whose behavior I have let effect negatively me in some way even going so far as to forgive radical terrorists.

Ask that what happens be not just for my own good but also for the good of others.

To work on keeping the word, “should”, out of my vocabulary.  That is more for my own good than the good of others.

Keeping a good attitude towards life.  Expecting the best instead of the worst.

To keep the amount of worrying that I do down to a minimum.  If I must think about potential problem, let it be in order to plan ahead.

To constantly wish for the best for others (and for myself and my loved ones).

To remember humans are not God’s only creations and to treat those in the animal, plant, and also the mineral kingdom like I would like to be treated.

To rejoice in the blessings that others receive and to be happy for them.

To put the best construction on everything.  That is to not always assign evil motives to others’ actions.

Not to let fear or anger take over my life and determine what I do and say.  Going even further, to not let fear paralyze me or anger turn into murderous rage.

To routinely meditate and practice having a quiet, peaceful mind.

Along with meditation, to keep an open mind and to never stop learning.  You will never know what you might discover.  Don’t limit yourself to studying under one teacher or mastering one spiritual discipline.

To love others as I love myself.  To bless all who I come in contact with and all who inhabit this place with me.

To love myself first and foremost and if I love myself, I will follow these rules.

To respect myself.  In order to do this, I need to act, think, and be that which I inwardly and spiritually need to be.

To practice self-discipline in everything I do since I am the only one responsible for my life and what I accomplish.

In other words, if I were God, what would I like for me to be?  With God, all things are possible; alone, I am only an imperfect being.

I have not been extremely pithy in doing this; but I will continue to think about this and revise my list as necessary.  I am not being God, I am just being what God wants me to be and it is the best thing for me.  Stay with me on my journey to self-realization and see if I can help you with yours.

Additions:

To love, respect, and honor children and (don’t forget) adolescents as well.

Above all, don’t  deliberately lie whether by omission or commission especially to yourself, your significant other, and your children when older and your parents when younger.

To not categorize people, whether by age, sexuality, cultural background, financial status,  political or religious beliefs or by the judgments of others.  I made it a point in school to not absolutely accept the judgments of teachers by what other people said.  I often found somebody’s difficult professor was a good one for me.  Also when I do put people in categories, I often am drawn into a situation where I have intimate contact with someone I categorized negatively.

Be discriminating when necessary, but not judgmental.

To consider that we all are equally loved and accepted in the eyes of God and we all have equal potential to be able to live up to what God expects of us.

 

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