How do you define yourself? By what others tell you? By what you think you should be? By what you really are?
Most of us grow up learning to define ourselves by the first two ways given? Thus we may never learn who we really are! Often we reach middle age or our golden years, not knowing who we are! Then we feel we have lost valuable time actually we could have been being ourselves in our lifetimes.
Who are you? In our society, we are subject to many outside influences trying to control who we are. We are unique human beings (one of a kind) who are shaped by varying outside influences and by inborn internal constraints.
Even identical twins are not entirely identical. In their bodies in some ways, they are mirror, rather than identical, images of each other and, of course, inevitably they are not treated exactly alike by other people and have experiences that are not exactly alike.
Yes, we inherit certain abilities and disabilities from our ancestors; but not always in the way that our family is happy with. Because that is so, many parents and grandparents are unhappy with their children and grandchildren who are unable to follow in their footsteps.
Even if we find idols other than our parents or grandparents to follow after, we might still not be qualified to do so. My parents were not college graduates so when I went to college something that my parents had not had the opportunity to do), I chose to become a psychologist, something that no one in my family had ever done.
I ignored some of my creative artistic and musical inclinations to become a knowledgeable scientist who would successfully do research to prove certain principles in the science of psychology. I felt had to do this to become what I was interested in being a practicing therapist and intuitive diagnostician and this was a preliminary step!
Actually, I was really interested in helping ordinary people before their problems became serious which is something I am doing now by writing this blog. I have also discovered that instinctively I have a good singing and speaking voice and artistic sense. That led me to rethink my past interests in projective drawings and hypnosis and other forms of altered states as an aid in therapy. I had briefly become involved in these things and then rejected them because they did not represent mainline scientific psychology and because I thought I was not talented enough in these areas.
So who are YOU really?
Frightened young girls get pregnant so they have somebody to love and young boys like to feel studly and see how many babies they can generate. Neither is a good reason to have a child. Nurturing a child is also a full-time process which involves being selfless much of the time. It also requires good judgment which is not fully developed until young adulthood.
Our welfare state facilitates irresponsible parenthood and children often raised without discipline or love. How many children are thrown out on the street and have to learn how to survive there on their own.Then we chastise them (not the parents or the state) for doing this and becoming angry at society and not fitting in there.
No wonder these children don’t trust anybody. Yes, the ghetto (where many of these children end up) doesn’t always teach middle-class values. In order to survive, these children do what they can to live on the streets or with parents and foster parents that don’t care or use them for their own purposes. They often only want the check. Worse yet these parents may have been raised the same way that they are raising their children.
Parents having the right to raise or not raise their biological children as they see fit does not take into account the rights of the children. They also go so far as to often use abortion as the method of choice when it comes to practicing birth control.
I think it is a case of blame the victim (which is the child) for the sometimes irrefutable abuse they sustained whether caused by the system, natural parents, and/or foster parents.
Last, but not least, parents who do a good job of raising their children by giving their kids love, discipline, and values do not get rewarded by the system. There are no rewards for doing a good job, just for doing a bad job.
Child custody also gets handled often by people who do not know what they are doing, what the child needs, and what constitutes a good parent. If they do know these things they are hampered by laws and regulations that often don’t make any sense.
For example in one northern county of my state, only the worst judges, those who are not doing their job in other venues, get “demoted” to doing child custody cases and they receive no training on how to do this in a way that would benefit the child whose custody is being determined.
I have proposed that that county develop special training for these judges determining custody cases. It would include forty hours of hands-on training by professionals in the field of custody determination. Doing it this way ensures that judges would actually participate and not just skim through some information on the subject. It should also be a mixed group so no judge would be swayed in a particular direction.
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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?I 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.
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. 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.
Social 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?
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.
How well do you stand up for yourself or others when this happens? Are you easily shamed or guilted into doing something that makes you personally uncomfortable even at your own personal expense. When the rolis called up yonder and you go before the ultimate judge (yourself) how will you fare? How many things will you have missed out on? How many chances will you have passed by to do what you knew was the right thing but didn’t have enough courage to do?
What will you have sacrificed to make others happy by letting them get away with abusing your time trying to convince you that they are right when you know they are wrong. Giving up being joyful and happy so that others who will never learn anything the hard way can escape the consequences of their behavior. Do you sometimes feel life is a drag especially when you go along with other peoples’ preferences instead of your own especially if those choices will make you uncomfortable and continue to suck the joy out of your life.
Worse yet you go against your own internal moral code in order to conform to societies expectations and generalizations about “correct” behavior that could be be and might be applied to your behavior. Are you willing to be punished for doing something you know is really “right” even if it goes against the codes of others?
How independent are your standards both for yourself and others. Are you willing to spend time with someone who is boring but doesn’t know it because other people often let him or her get away with it. Would you spend time with someone who has few friends but who would appreciate getting your time or do you follow the crowd and do the same old thing that you do every time you go out instead? What does your intuition say you should do?
Is anger the source of depression? Doesn’t it take a lot of anger as the motivating force in order to kill yourself. You can’t take it out on anybody else so you take it out on the only other possible victim, yourself!
Anger is the dark cloud that follows the depressed person around. It is always raining on the depressed person’s parade. When it is hard to feel happy (Some people say that this is genetically so for the depressed person) and sadness lingers longer for the depressed person than for the nondepressed person.
“Don’t rain on my parade” could be the motto for the depressed person. The average depressed person; however, doesn’t see any way out. Normal solutions for other people like creating a diversion like going for a walk, listening to some music, or watching a movie doesn’t serve as the distraction that it might serve for normal person who is upset and feels bad.
As tragic as it sounds, “taking” someone with you is not an unthinkable solution for the depressed person because he or she is so angry. Worse come to worse the most horrible solution is not taking just anyone with you, but taking your loved ones, your children with you. It is a way of taking them out of this cruel world so they don’t have to suffer like the depressed person has.
Not being able to vent anger or modeling what parents, authority figures, and possibly peers have done is to blame the only one left to blame, themselves. If you are not allowed to be angry and are in fact even more rejected if you try leaves no way out. The beauty of the world is “blacked” out. Not only is the depressed person chronically unhappy, but they have been made to feel that the only one they have to blame is him or her self.
This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that it is hopeless to try and do anything about being depressed. Often venting about being depressed and hopeless and how needy you are only has one possible outcome driving other people away because they become tried of hearing this. Also it usually also generates the creation of “Why don’t you, yes buts,” which is a game people play to insure that there is no solution for their plight which seems to be more important than finding one. Because it justifies them having not found one before now. (See the book, “The Games People Play.”)
Feeling responsible for having lived a lifetime of depression is hard to accept and/or give up. If I am not the happiest person in the world, than I must be the unhappiest one. This provides some justification for one’s helpless plight in life.
In conclusion, again could it be that some people have a harder time feeling happy than others and that it might be genetic. Perhaps endorphins are not as easily released in some people as it is in others. Another genetic possibility is that when unhappy some people have a harder time getting over it when their past experiences in trying to do so have been unsuccessful or prolonged so that the depressed person can’t predict an immediate or future good outcome when they are suffering in this way.
Last, but not least, depressed people may have had little success finding role models who are able to successfully handle depression by such things as distraction and avoiding ruminating about it. Also parents and other role models may have added to this sense of hopelessness by focusing on their own inability or the depressed child’s inability to do anything about it and by reinforcing a poor self-concept.
Find yourself; not someone else. It may be admirable to have a child or even children who are like you and follow in your footsteps; but he or she or they may not be comfortable in your shoes. In times past, it was important for people to have children so they could pick up where they left off. Parents trained their children to take their place someday and to be of help to them in a labor intensive time. Parents usually were not happy if their children did not take over for them.
Now it is more a matter of self-validation. It confirms to the parent that he or she took the right path when the children take the same path. Sometimes it is like the story of the ugly duckling. Remember that one turned out to be a swan, different, but beautiful. You can feel like the ugly duckling if you don’t fit into your family, class in school, or community. Some children like the ugly duckling even look different from the people that they are being raised with when if they were being raised with their own genetically kind (people who would probably look like them) wouldn’t look different at all. Down syndrome children and some biracial children are even often seen as different from their relatives.
If you study genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to child, you will often find that it is a very complex problem and doesn’t always work the way it seems it should. Children can have the same parents and have surprisingly different traits. This is also true of apptitudes and abilities. Add into this what happens to them from the time of conception to birth which may not be like their siblings and the children and their parents will still be related; but can be very different. Also traits may get passed down, but not to the desired child or sex (like first born male).
Children inherit tempraments which may or may not be like that of their parents. Sometimes oil and water do not mix. An “easy” parent may inherit a slow to warm up child and he or she can’t understand why his or her child does not easily take to new things.
Some talents or abilities which might be very strong can not be desired or appreciated in the family or society into which a person is born. I was born on a farm and eventually married a farmer (after doing other things) and I can understand why he sometimes does not understand why a “city” boy does not know how to do things farm boys know how to do and he has difficulty valuing what the “city” boy can do by virtue of his college education even if it was not in agriculture.
As much as I love flowers, I don’t want them to be all alike all the time. I like seeing new and different ones. Also some flowers that some people call flowers around here are called weeds by other people in other places. This might even be true of people growing marijuana when flowers appear in their plots. (I am not recommending that you start growing marijuana however.)
Be yourself as long as you are not deliberately hurting yourself (or others for your own gain) and when you find yourself, you will make your contribution to the world and become what YOU were or are meant to be. I believe finding yourself is why we were meant to be as we each have our own contribution to make. If we pay too much attention to what others tell us we should be, we may get led astray. It may not be easy, but it often will be rewarding. For example, how many shoes at how many shoe stores do some of us have to try before we find a shoe that fits us, feels good, and wears well. It usually is a personal thing. What shoe style works for one may not work for another. Also many people, especially women, pay the price for wearing shoes that they think they should wear because they are in fashion, etc. (Check out Oprah on this issue.)