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Sometimes You Have To Let Something Go To Make Room For Something New To Come In

rp_300px-Sabbatical_titlescreen.jpgAs you can see I am taking a sabatical this fall.  I have no classes to teach this fall which means it will be a squeeze financially but I will have more time to devote to writing for this website, more time to babysit grandchildren (which is a mixed blessing), more time to meditate in several different ways, and more time to pursue my own personal growth.

While I was teaching this summer (and taking an art class myself), I was feeling stressed out and at times it made me physically ill.  Do you think that as a psychologist I should have known better than that?  Maybe.  But I just know from past experiences that it is a sign that I should take heed of and do something about.

It took time and money out of my pocket in order to teach even though I have been enjoying it and growing a lot doing it.  Yes, I was paid but as a part-time instructor and only for what classes I taught each semester.  This summer I made an hour round trip trip to town four days a week for two months spending the whole day there two days a week.rp_300px-New_Life_Ranch_Sign.jpg

I will take two road trips this fall to see the evangelist Joyce Meyer and attend the homecoming celebration of my undergraduate college in honor of my class’s 50th anniversary.  I will be doing this on a shoestring; but I am not going to miss these chances to do something I want to do which only comes along once in a blue moon.

I have already gotten one surprise phone call offering me some financial help for one of my upcoming seminars after it was decided that I was not going to teach this fall. I also have recently found some books that answer questions I have been asking, but did not get the answers for that I have been gobbling up.

Yesterday, I caught up on some of my sleep and decided to do nothing that I didn’t have to do.  I missed one of my regular salesmen while I slept in the afternoon and I did not check on most of the things that I am checking on today and I did not turn my computer on.

I am growing.  I intend to explore new and old things that I have not gotten around to doing recently.

Positive Attitudes, Winner or Loser

not who you are 344Why are we so afraid to create positive expectations of future situations?  We are afraid that if we do this we will be badly disappointed when it doesn’t work out.

Have you ever played pretend and created exactly what you wanted in every detail?  You probably did so as a child when you were only limited by your imagination.  I used to think that the president and his or her family had access to every thing a person could want and many things that ordinary people, even rich people, didn’t have yet.  They had color TVs in my child’s mind before they were even invented.

For example, my best friend and I created beautiful ballgowns in our heads that we could really see.  Daydreaming, you say just daydreaming….  Did the candy taste just as sweet if only in our imaginations and everything starts with an idea before it becomes a reality.

Your frame of mind can influence your outcome.  How do you act if you know you will get something?  How do you act if you are sure you won’t get something as things are unfair and no matter how good you are you don’t have a chance!

 

 

Should You Judge A Book By Its Cover? What Do You Think Is More Important? Looks? Or Personality??

Drp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifo you realize we learn to like certain skin colors, hair types, body shapes, heights, and to discriminate between them.  To me, my mommy was beautiful and my grandmas were a “sight for my sore eyes,”  although they were older and heavier than my mother.  My BFF, who I met in first grade, was not judged by me on the basis of her physical size but on how much fun we had when we were together.  I had a cousin the same age as I was and I often got hand me downs from her as she (although my age) was “bigger” than me.  We have to be taught to see these differences as significant.  The standards of beauty and handsomeness can vary quite strikingly from culture to culture and have you looked at wedding pictures and seen that there is a man for every woman and a woman for every man.

I was having a discussion with my daughter-in-law and discovered that an actress that I considered to be no beauty was considered very attractive by my daughter-in-law.  Also men and women focus on different parts of the anatomy when they try to decide if a woman is beautiful and/or and a man is a potential  “chick magnet.”  Haven’t you ever heard a discussion about what physically attracts a man to a woman: her boobs, her butt, her legs, her hair color, or whatever.

Remember the saying, “Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses.”  Doesn’t seem to face-partsmatter now.  It used to be what attracted a woman to a man was his profession or his ability to be able to support her in the style she was or would like to become accustomed to.   At mid-life or latter some men look for a younger woman sometimes even young enough to be their daughter.  Then there women who are “cougars” and seek younger men.  Ever hear the terms, “sugar daddy”or “trophy wife”?

There is one particular cable news channel that is often on at my house and one of the recurring “experts” I became acquainted with was so ugly, I didn’t like to look at him; however he was very knowledgeable and had a very credible life history to support his road to being this “expert.”  All of a sudden one day as I was listening to him, I realized he no longer was bad looking to me.  His looks didn’t change but my attitude toward them had.

rp_5798468679_59ea50286a_m.jpgI came to realize that I had been selling other people short when I concentrated on their looks instead of their personality, knowledge, and abilities.  I also I noticed I was selling myself short too when I dressed to impress and probably could not afford it instead of wearing something flattering and comfortable so I could be comfortable being me.  I don’t mean that looks don’t count.  You can go too far in this direction to the point of being offensive.

I had planned to post on the fact that the cable news channel had only impossibly beautiful women in at least distracting (if not very conservative) clothes, dangerously high heels, high maintenance hairstyles, and glamorous makeup that required that these women show up early for work in order to attain this look.  Also of course, the men who had the same jobs were often not necessarily tall, athletic, and youthful and wore more comfortable, less revealing, clothes.  I then realized I was judging these women on how they looked but in a negative way.  They didn’t deserve that either.  They invested a lot of time and money into looking the way they did and should not be judged for trying so hard.

Stay Involved, Don’t Opt Out

rp_Feelings.jpgSocial interaction is crucial to children learning language.  Watching a video or listening to an auditory version is not enough.  Are children becoming autistic because people in our world are becoming less and less involved?  What about a good old fashioned conversation or a satisfying read?  Being unable to interact with others is a very real problem and I can see the day when children have virtual play dates?  How removed from reality is this?  Will we all sit home and rely on clouds and the internet to keep us in touch?  Will the ethers be doing our talking?  It will no longer be necessary to read or write as computers will communicate for us just by talking and ultimately will thoughts and images not words be used to share ideas?

 rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpg This just started out as a blog about how children need human contact to learn and ultimately to thrive.  Scarey isn’t it?  For example, someday people will not sign their names, not just because they did not learn cursive writing; but because reading and writing are no longer considered necessary.  We have done this since the dawn of the machine age and eliminating the human factor in creating things that we need and use.  Is it possible we are also eliminating the good vibrations that many skilled, dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen put into their work.

Rediscovering Yourself

meditation stonesI went to Sedona to rediscover myself.

Rediscovering your self is a process that you go through many times in your life.  You may think that you already know who you are and then you discover what you really are is really someone else.  Have you become society”s conception of what you ought to be.  Make your own plan, forge ahead blindly not knowing where you are going but knowing you have the freedom to do so.

Meet your soul, the person you were meant to be, not letting other people or other things determine who you are.  Do you not know what you want.  although you may know what you do not want.  Unfortunately the unconscious only understands positive statements and we waste a lot of time having negative thoughts and not converting these negative thoughts into positive ones.  We don’t want to be disappointed so we warn ourselves that we must protect ourselves against losing things that have come to mean a lot to us.

rp_300px-ThinkingMan_Rodin.jpgMost of us were warned against having a “big head” as a child or even as an adult and this prevents  us from promoting ourselves.  Fortunately or unfortunately men more than women are encouraged and reinforced for creating a name for themselves and for getting respect from others.  Think of the accomplishments a man can line up: school board president, kindly old physician, preacher, evangelist, solid businessman.  Someone whose opinions and comments count.

Some of us have been encouraged to step back and let others have the limelight.  “Pride goeth before a fall.” A male “expert” often gets more recognition than a female “expert”. We think for  “the chosen” to have powers, others must shirk or shrink from the limelight.

Our self-confidence is often  so fragile that we can become depressed and procrastinate and feel  doomed to fail.  We think that there is no room in the inn for us and we must settle for the stable.    We spin our wheels and get nowhere.

Everyone is important just as every child is precious.  Do you not think that your grandchild or son or daughter is or was precious.  Their eyes, their nose, their mouth were perfect.  Every saying they made or thing that they did or created was or is  precious.  Something to be cherished and remembered.  What happened to you?  When did you stop being a cute little kid?  God’s or nature’s perfect gift.

rp_303404356_6ff7a23b4b_m.jpgSelf confidence and courage do a lot to keep a person from having cold feet about what they want to accomplish.  Most of us suffer from the that we can’t debilitating have or do what we want so we stop wishing and visualizing the perfect future for us.

Sometimes we focus on one objective  that was chosen by ourselves as an acceptable one or by others for us to the exception of all else.  Remember when we free to explore all outlets of life back when your artwork or other creations were considered to be significant and not a waste of time.  Yet you began to work harder and harder to meet the one goal that you thought was achieveable whether you liked it or not.

The opportunities are endless if you believe in their existence.  Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others limit you.  Are you the friend everybody likes because compared to you they are successful in life?  “Oh, woe is me”, can be an endless litany and those who listen to it can become tried of it eventually.  When should you start discovering your real self?  THE TIME IS NOW!

 

 

Celebrate Yourself?

rp_Crookedfingersdignity.jpg

Do you keep a low profile.  Do you wait for others to celebrate you life landmarks and they never do?  Did you miss your graduation? because it was too much pomp and circumstance and you saved everybody the hassle of coming to it.  I have my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin; but I don’t know what my academic colors are because I didn’t go.  I didn’t feel I should make everyone make the trip back  as when I finished I was no longer on campus.

Only two people were invited to our wedding, the witnesses.  I don’t believe I have ever celebrated my anniversary with a special date night on the town.  Is it bad to blow your own horn?  I bought my own birthday cake and my friends knew I was celebrating my 70th birthday last November but my family didn’t know it wasn’t an ordinary birthday (Don’t worry it has been almost a year and either I am getting used to it or getting over it (being 70)).  Many achievements in college I didn’t get to celebrate with my family because they couldn’t make the trip but my mother did come for my graduation.  But when my son and my son-in-law graduated from the training academy, we went.

If you don’t celebrate yourself, no one one else will.  If you don’t think you are worth it, no one else will?  Your attitude toward yourself communicates itself nonverbally to others and they treat you the same way you treat yourself.  I can be very professional when I know I am right and have the responsibility to do what is right!  But it doesn’t carry over sometimes to my family and friends.  Even the grand kids have begun to question my authority.  But I’m not going to back down for their sake.

I have a list of complements hidden on the back of my medicine cabinet door that I would like to get; but it is not posted where anyone could see it.  Why are we encouraged to be so self-effacing?  I am the opposite of a narcissist I guess.  Stand up, stand up for what you believe in including yourself.  I hesitate to share my opinions at home or at family occasions so nobody knows what I think there.  I hesitate because I might embarrass myself or others like family or friends.  Keep your mouth shut.   Ever hear of that?

Self-help materials suggest that you associate with only supportive friends in order to keep your self-esteem high.  Of course that can keep you in denial by only associating with people who agree with you.  Is there a happy medium?  Are you lying to yourself or do other people keep trying to put you down?

Robin William’s Suicide, Completely Misunderstood!

(No media have been added because to do so might  make light of this tragedy by focusing on the “clown” not the person.)

Laugh clown, laugh.  Could it be that comedians and persons with depression who commit suicide are some of the most misunderstood people in the world.

We all enjoy laughter.  It has even been proven scientifically to help people fight cancer.  Why do we laugh when others put themselves down?  Why do we laugh when we put ourselves down or worse yet why do others put us down and expect us to laugh about it?

What people don’t realize is that if people feel threatened enough to put us down that we may be more powerful and talented than we think.  Otherwise why we would be seen as such a threat?

Things people say about us create mind chatter.  It may even have a little truth in it.   Also most of us  believe it is better to laugh than to cry.  But why would someone who loves us do this to us anyway?

Have you ever been told that you don’t have a sense of humor when other people make jokes about you at your expense.  Maybe it is a way for comedians to control being put down this when they make fun of themselves.  Other comedians ridicule others to get the same thing.

Deep underneath what does it do to one’s self-esteem?  As the thoughtless mind chatter is repeated over and over, it can become the truth at least from our point of view and maybe others too.  Ridicule is not funny and eats at your insides.  It is worse enough when others do it to you but what about when you do it to yourslelf.  Traitor!

When you get real good at it, how can you stop yourself when other people begin to expect that you will put your show on any time, any place.  Can you imagine a comedian at his or her spouse’s funeral making a joke of it.  I can. What a Sad Sack.

If you get recognition and also re-numeration for it; it must be be worthwhile  and it often becomes who you are.  Then why are you so unhappy?  Why would you commit suicide to get out of the situation?  You can’t or shouldn’t always take work home with you; but comedians do.  On top of that no one wants to cry with you when all they expected from was a few good laughs.

Imagine a prostitute who doesn’t enjoy her work.  Doesn’t a comedian somewhat prostitute him or her self to make it in the world.  You can’t just pretend to be or act happy to be happy.  Only the real thing works.

On top of this, put depression, the dark night of the soul when a person feels hopeless, like the worst person in the world ,and possibly even deserving of hell if they commit suicide,  even if it doesn’t seem reasonable to others.  It is a job  hazard associated with being a comedian especially if the depression feeds a dark sense of comedy which makes other people laugh at and accept him or her.  This could be considered as reinforcement for being depressed.  Drugs are also a way to self-medicate and they work for awhile but eventually can  lead to self destruction and death and/or an “accidental” way of committing suicide.

Add to this the possibility that a person is not only severely depressed at times but also has manic states, possibly extreme manic states, which fuel their comedy and creativity and impair their judgment.  Often to medicate this state results in killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Please do not condemn Robin Williams for ending his life as he saw it and not as we think we understand it.  Aren’t suicidal people often in hell on this side before they ever go to the other side?  Who are we to condemn them?

 

Am I Better Than You?

achievementAm I better than you?  Competition is what it is all about.  Our society is all about winning and losing.  Some people give up before they start because the perceived competition out there is so overwhelming.  Worse yet, even when you don’t want to compete, someone else might enter you in the competition.  This is often true about children and their parents.

Yes, you should do your best; but you should enjoy yourself doing it.  I learned this lesson early; but it didn’t hurt me.  I was almost always picked last for the pickup ballgames in the schoolyard; but I still enjoyed playing.  Winning was not so much on my mind then.

“Whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” is a famous quote.  Do you agree with it?  It is like seasoning something you are cooking.  Too much salt, too little salt, too much pepper, too little pepper, or too much sugar, too little sugar.  In our society, we sometimes don’t want anyone to lose so everybody wins.  What should the emphasis be on?

Or are you so competitive that everything you do is a contest?  I was that way in my classes in school.  It even spread over to my life outside of school.  Every time a party I attended played games; I wanted to win every time.  Did that make me a spoil sport?  Did that take the pleasure of playing the games away from everyone else who didn’t win?

Even if I am better than you, I shouldn’t gloat.  Making people feel bad in this way may eventually drive them away.  Remember the song, “I can do anything better than you?”  Plus the strengths, talents, and abilities that our society admires are not always what is needed to solve the world’s problems or fix society’s faults.

Aren’t you excited when somebody on a reality show makes a fabulous find of something previously undiscovered.  Who knows that when it comes to other people and even ourselves what hidden things we might have that might better ourselves and/or others.,

Time On My Hands. I paid The Price.

Time is a Tickin'

Time is a Tickin’ (Photo credit: im elsewhere)

This being under the weather sucks.  Everyone thinks you have time on your hands when what you actually do is get behind and have to pay the piper.  Nothing gets done without your presence and when you do return, they clamor for your attention.

I was recovering quite well when I decided to help my 2 1/2 yr. old grandson get in my lap after an absence of over two weeks due to my “bad” cold  (You don’t always tell the whole truth to two year olds.).   I strained some muscles in my neck and back.  Well, one step forward, one step back.  This left me not able to turn my head or bend my neck to look at things.  (Actually I could do this but the price in terms of pain was too high.)  Indirectly, this kept me from typing too.

Insomnia

Insomnia (Photo credit: schnappischnap)

The other price I paid for being sick was not being able to get any sleep.  In the first place, I couldn’t stop coughing long enough to fall asleep.  In the second place, if I tried to get comfortable in bed, I set off a muscle spasm.  It hurt to get into bed and it hurt even more to get out of bed.  When I got out of bed, I was extremely stiff and could hardly move a muscle.

P.S.: I am not kidding even though it is April Fools Day.

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Know Nothings And Status Envy

Know nothings, critics who don’t know what they are talking about.

English: A display of the academic regalia of ...

English: A display of the academic regalia of Harvard University. Top left: Harvard Law School professional doctorate; bottom left: Harvard Divinity School masters degree; right: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Ph.D. degree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Envy is the the price you have to pay for getting there when someone does not know the price you paid to get there.  As a female Ph.D., especially one from the 70’s,  I got “no respect”.  Automatically a man with a masters or less would assume that if a woman like me could do it then it wasn’t that hard to do.  Automatically they thought that if they went back to school to get their own Ph.D. or professional degree or advanced degree,  it would only take them a couple of years and it was not that big of a deal.  Women who worked under me and with me often thought I should do my own office work rather than depend on them to do it for me.  They did not expect a woman to be in charge.

I went straight through college and graduate school and it took me ten years of full time study and perseverence.  An “C” or even a “B” was not an acceptable grade and could get you “flunked out” of graduate school.  I took tough exams to get into graduate school and to get out of graduate school with my degree.  I had to qualify for scholarships all through my schooling and they were my sole source of support in graduate school.  They also accepted only so many applicants and I had to compete for one of those positions.

Lightner Witmer, the father of modern clinical...

Lightner Witmer, the father of modern clinical psychology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturally I focused on doing well in college so that I would be considered and offered one of these positions.  I was aiming on going into one of the graduate degree programs that was well respected and offered only to people who whose professional goal was to get their doctor’s degree, not a masters.  People who left the program with “just” a masters were considered in other words to have flunked out. Elitist, yes but I wanted to enter a profession and to have the best credentials.  Also I wanted to be a clinical psychologist not an educational or counseling psychologist as positions in those graduate programs were often considered to be consolation prizes for those who couldn’t get picked for a position in a clinical psychology program or did not want to work as hard as they might have to in a tougher program like clinical psychology.  Worse yet, another “back door” into the field was through social work.

I am being a snob but only for the reason of making my point about how hard it was to get in a clinical psychology program and get a Ph.D. in my field.   Where I stand now on the question of what direction my professional life should take is different than it was then.  It was very competitive to have to do that.  I was very competitive.  I survived and after much experience in life and in my field.  I see things from a different perspective.  What other people think is not always the best barometer of who you are doing in life in your chosen field.  Self satisfaction and self knowledge can be a form of protection or shield against the thoughtless opinions of others.

Graduate School Blues

Graduate School Blues (Photo credit: ChiILLeica)

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