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Bringing The Light To All, Answering Life’s Questions

Bringing the Light to all and consulting on life changes.  Please join me here as I further my goal in life of helping others answer life’s questions.  No, I didn’t start out this way.  I was lost as many of you were or maybe still are.sun on hand gesture

Some may call this wisdom, the knowledge that I have gained.  Some may think that I have had a life changing experience or experiences, a painful one or ones at that.  Maybe the pain is what led me to seek different methods of self-help and ultimately led me to dedicate myself to the spiritual side of psychology, mindfulness, Carl Jung, and…

It all seemed to start with some unanswered questions about my life purpose, the universe, and the future.  I would like to share these answers that I have found with you and helping you at the same time to recognize that you may have had some of these questions too and even came up with the same answers.  You are not alone.

At first life’s  the answers I found may have not seemed to fit and even made me more uncomfortable than the facts that I was brought up with.  I didn’t think that so many people in this world could be wrong.

Also I have found over the years that some of the answers I did originally find find no longer worked.  I had the idea that when one made life decisions, career, marriage, children, etc. that they would stick with them.  Also I felt that only certain answers were acceptable and that what I liked to do was not necessarily what I should do.

Lightner Witmer, the father of modern clinical...

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

Also I often picked reasons for doing things that while they were the easiest were not the best.  For example, I picked a Big Ten graduate school close to home that offered a clinical psychology program (my preferred area of interest).  What I didn’t realize then was that I had to find a professor whose area of interest in research was something I would be comfortable with as I would have to do a masters thesis and maybe a dissertation in this area.

The type of practical courses offered by the school in clinical psychology were taught by these same professors whose real area of interest was research, not clinical practice.   Also some of their research was aimed at discrediting those who performed psychological evaluations and did psychotherapy.

Carl Jung integrated psychology with spirituality

The answers I found were not all out there; but they were found within.  Along the way, I found I was not alone in my search.  Others had the same yearning I did to find the answers.  Others like Carl Jung had gone on the same journey and could lead the way.

 

 

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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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Intellectualization

Intellectualization occurs when you tend to explain everything away.  People say you are

Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. Fro...

Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. From left: Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter, Penny, Sheldon Cooper and Rajesh Koothrappali. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

all in your head. You ignore your gut feelings and you tend to be less emotional than other people.  You try to find an explanation for everything.  However, you may be unconsciously programed to react in a certain way without thinking about it and can’t find an explanation for why you do what you do.  Things in the unconscious are unconscious and that is why you don’t know why you are doing what you do.

Intellectualization goes hand in hand with blocking in psychotherapy.  This occurs when a person starts to remember something and immediately forgets what it was.  Things in the unconscious are there for a reason and remembering them can be uncomfortable and therefore, they get blocked.  Emotions are attached to these memories which are repressed and feeling these emotions is unacceptable for various reasons.  Episodes of abuse are often forgotten and not remembered because of the horrible memories attached to them and the fear that telling someone might result in rejection or death.

Intellectualization occurs in persons for whom being emotional usually is unacceptable and for whom giving a reason for doing something is more often acceptable.  The problem with denying feelings is that a person can become unemotional and not experience good feelings as well as bad.  Geeks and nerds are often considered to be unemotional in this way.  For an example of this watch The Big Bang Theory.  Of course being overly emotional can be also unacceptable too.  This type of character has also been successfully portrayed in situation comedies and comedy sketches as well.

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Give Someone a Chance

Failure

Failure (Photo credit: awsandlight)

If a person tries to do something differently, make sure you don’t turn their attempt into a failure because you don’t want to be disappointed again and find it easier to expect and accept failure again.  Is it easier to expect failure and have it happen than it is to expect success and have a failure instead?  People can develop a negative attitude about other people and can make it difficult to impossible for that person to change.  Failures are easy to see while successes can be easy to miss if you have a prejudicial attitude.  Often initial attempts at changing behavior are hard to see and it can be seen as accepting too little to reward small, seemingly inept changes in a person’s behavior.   Initially it may be harder to be “good” than bad and the person’s knowledge of what constitutes  acceptable behavior is limited and may not meet many of the other person’s criteria.  In fact, it may even initially look more like unacceptable behavior than acceptable behavior.  For example, a husband’s idea of dressing appropriately to go out might consist of putting on clean clothes, i.e. khaki pants and a new tee shirt while the wife expects a dress shirt or a polo shirt and a sports  jacket or sweater.  The poor husband might get bawled out instead of praised for this attempt to dress appropriately.

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Rationalization

Rational Explanations

Rational Explanations (Photo credit: tatarize)

Rationalization is coming up with a good reason for something happening usually after the fact.  It wasn’t why the person really did something, but it sounds good.  It is also a way of explaining something away.  It usually doesn’t begin with, “Honestly….”  It is something that lawyers, usually, know how to do or politicians.  I am not to sure that scientists don’t do it too when they have some results in their experiments that they didn’t expect and/or don’t exactly fit their theories.

Once the rationalization is given, it is expected that it will be accepted and no further explanation will have to be given.  The person who gives the rationalization often does such a good job that he or she begins to believe it too and no longer feels that there was a problem with what happened that needed to be explained away to begin with.  Once a person has done this, it is very difficult or impossible to convince them otherwise and get them to admit to what really happened.

Salesmen and debaters are good at this.  Salesmen often sell a product that they don’t necessarily believe in especially before they become a salesman for that product.  Salesmen have to do a convincing job of getting people to believe that the salesmen have a product that they, the prospective customers, can’t do without.  Debaters practice taking both sides of an issue and proving that the side that they are taking for the sake of the debate is the correct one.

 

 

 

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From Their Side From Our Side

Starting in the 1950s Carl Rogers brought Pers...
Starting in the 1950s Carl Rogers brought Person-centered psychotherapy into mainstream focus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are an opinionated country.  Everybody has something to say about everything especially now with the social network sites.  We get so caught up in how we see an issue or behavior that we are literally blind to how the other person might see them.

I hope you believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion; however, it is difficult to do when it involves a life or death question.  We often (when we have a conversation or interaction with others) spend more time thinking about we are going to say than hearing what the other person has to say and/or acknowledging it.

Active listening is one way to be sure we understand what the other person is saying.  (See the work of psychologist, Carl Rogers.)  We listen and then paraphrase what the other person has said.  At the same tine checking with them to see if we got the information right.

It is important in such conflicts to be assertive rather than aggressive.  It helps if you agree that a person has a right to their opinion.  You might say, “I can see where you might think I am being aggressive because of the tone of voice that you thought that I used.

Finally, a disagreement might be at least partly due to a lack of knowledge of what information the person used to come to their conclusion.  There are two sides to every issue.  That’s what debates are based on.  People can get so worked up about an issue that they jump to conclusions and leave no room for the other person to communicate what actually happened.

One way that a person might realize this is when they meet a person who represents the very thing they have condemned and gets to know them before they find out they are supposedly on opposite sides.  Such a person might be a Muslim or illegal alien or a conservative politician or stay at home mom; but the person with the stereotype doesn’t know this when he or she first meets them.

 

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Who’s Defensive?

Are you open minded or do you frequently deny that the problem might be with you and not someone else.  In The Games People Play, there is a game called, “Why don’t you, yes, but.”   It happens when someone comes with a problem to be solved and rejects every possible solution the therapist proposes.  I suspect that to be seen as having such a problem and having it be your fault is unacceptable.  The person can maintain this attitude even after receiving disastrous feedback, numerous times.

The behavior that is involved is often so crucial to the person’s functioning that they can’t do without it.  For example, other people see the person’s inappropriate behavior and comments as offensive, but he or she continues to feel that the problem is that the other person can not take a joke or a friendly flirtation.  This is a frustrating situation for all involved.  The person receiving the comments is obviously very uncomfortable and may stop interacting with the person who gives them while the person who gives them claims to be mystified as to why the relationship was ended when they were just being friendly.

The solution to this situation involves some dearly needed problem solving on the person’s part who does not recognize that they need to change their behavior in these interactions which end so unsatisfactorily.  Obviously they are lacking in some social skills.  They have a problem seeing the real impact that their behavior has on others.  Thus they see no need to change their behavior in these situations.

games people play

games people play (Photo credit: girlguyed)

 

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Dumb Animals?

I guess I was very impressionable when I was in grade school.  It was a christian school and I was thoroughly indoctrinated.  I didn’t know what I believed, but I knew what I was supposed to believe.  Being raised in the church and having the added experience of a religious education, was not totally a bad thing as it was there I learned about values and how to live my life in a way that considered others as well as myself.  It was from this advantage point that I developed my concepts of why we are in this world and what our purpose in life was.  As a result, I am not an atheist.  Unfortunately not everything I learned was helpful.

As I have said in another post, teachers often give their own point of view on the subject that they are teaching and children especially can easily accept their words as law.  Hopefully when they grow up they will find out that some of the things the teacher said did not represent the “gospel truth.”  I did, but not before making a few incorrect conclusions based on these teachings.  One belief I kept for a long time was that animals were dumb, not intelligent like humans, and their behavior was only based on instinct.  Also I thought humans were superior to animals in every way and that there was nothing an animal did that a human couldn’t do better.  I also believed that animals didn’t really deserve a place in God’s kingdom like man did.

When I first studied psychology, I learned that animals were acceptable substitutes for humans in experiments studying the origins and expressions of many behaviors.  Certain animals were more appropriate for use in such experiments than others depending on their similarity to humans. At the time animals were not considered to be intelligent like humans and could be used in ways that could not be used on humans. Recently (or at least since I was a student) we have learned that at least some animals can think (not everything they do is because of instinct) and/or use language which we used to think was reserved for humans. Also animals are special creatures that can do things that humans can’t do or do as well. I strongly suspect that as time goes on, we will find this to be more true rather than less.

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Generating Fear and Anger

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you resent people for what you think they have done to you in the past?  Are you concerned about things over which you have no control in the future or in the present moment?  Do you continually have such thoughts and they make you anxious and get you upset?  Did you ever think about how easily you can be controlled  because of these thoughts?   You may be calmly sitting in your recliner watching TV when something is mentioned that you are concerned about but is not happening to you at the present moment.  Are your feelings aroused?  These are usually not positive thoughts.  They can prevent you from enjoying life’s present moments and keep you from being in the here and now.  What might have been a pleasant break from everyday responsibilities turns into an unpleasant reaction to hidden fears and concerns that are associated with the content of the TV program you are watching.  The news often does not calm you and fill you with gratitude for the things life has given you.  The current presidential campaigns have taken on a negative slant and they must think that it works or why do they this?   Why do people think that the best way to motivate people is by hate and fear?  Psychological studies involving behavior modification find that rewards do a better job of changing behavior especially when they are associated with a desired positive behavior.  Unwanted behavior when eliminated must have the behaviors that are wanted already in place to take their place.

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