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Monthly Archives: December 2012



respect (Photo credit: Heliøs)

Respect all things.  Do you see beauty in everything?  Have you ever destroyed something that somebody else put a lot of time and energy into?  Have we become a destructive society?  I am not suggesting that you become a hoarder; but that you value what you have around you.   What is so much fun about mindless destruction?

It seems like we don’t value things, we don’t value people, we don’t value animals.  Where are we going?  It is unnatural to harm and kill others.  Or where else does post traumatic stress come from if this doesn’t bother us?  We (including plants and animals) are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We don’t respect ourselves?  We take part in hazardous sports.  We exercise to the point where it harms our bodies.  We are now finding out that excessive running and being in marathons can damage the heart which is to begin with a muscle.  You can overwork your body especially if you become addicted to the high you get from exercising.  It’s not that it doesn’t feel good to do some movement and it up to a certain point makes you healthier.  There’s the feeling of relaxation and accomplishment that  you get afterwards when you stop to rest.

Don’t put yourself down.  Don’t let others put you down.  Teach your children to respect themselves and others.  Build people up.  Don’t tear them down.  Why do we get a high from feeling better than someone else?  Our chief competitors should be ourselves.

Yes, there is danger out there and we need to learn to respect that too.  We have to evaluate our world and to protect ourselves from people who don’t respect human or animal rights.




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Omission vs. Commission

English: Truth-Telling Boy Barnstar

English: Truth-Telling Boy Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children seem to learn how to lie at a very young age.  I don’t know which comes first, sins of omission versus sins of commission.  At some point, it becomes very convenient to avoid telling the truth or to not tell the truth at all and lie instead.  Lying is something we learn to do by imitating the behavior of others.  It is also something we learn to do when we fear the consequences of telling the truth.

It would be nice if telling the truth was something which came naturally and comfortably in the appropriate situation.  Some things we feel more comfortable telling others and other things we may feel less comfortable telling others.   One of the problems with telling the truth is that others might judge us based on what we say.  Also controlling others’ behaviors is often an overriding concern of some people and the penalty for telling the truth is that other people will think badly of them.  Parents sometimes make the mistake of caring more about what other people might think than they do about their own children’s feelings.

Generally we know inside when we are deliberately keeping the truth from someone and when we really don’t have to share.  If you come right out and tell the truth freely in every situation, not everyone values the truth and respects those who tell it.

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Whenever there are two opposing views in a household, they often become more pronounced.  The skinflint becomes stingier; the spendthrift spends more.  In the odd couple, the neatnik became more of a perfectionist and the slob became messier.  It is obvious that nobody wins in these situations.  Or is it?  Maybe I am wrong about that.  It seems that the spendthrift and the slob have an edge over the skinflint and the neatnik.  The spendthrift can total the budget and the slob can wreck the house and leave their opposing partners out in the cold.  This can generate a lot of unhappiness and make the differences among people even more extreme.

Conversations which initially involved a discussion about differing points of view can turn into arguments.   Why do we feel that we have to make everybody else believe like we do?  As I have said before, men seem to do this more than women do or is that just because I am a woman.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion allow people to say and believe what they want to say and believe.

Why do people feel that they have to control what others feel or say?  Is it that they fear that if they don’t then their right to express themselves and modify their environment is impinged upon.  Certainly in our society there has to be some control over behavior like who goes first at a four way stop.   Yet, what is the harm in holding to a personal belief if you don’t force it on others.  Some people don’t just want their own way in a dispute, they want to be right too!

English: Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wi...

English: Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wisdom protects the believers of all religions (Daniel Chodowiecki, 1791) Deutsch: Die aufgeklärte Weisheit als Minerva schützt die Gläubigen aller Religionen, Daniel Chodowiecki, 1791 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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senses (Photo credit: joaoloureiro)

We are limited by our senses in the ways that we can perceive the world.  We can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.  We also can feel hot or cold.  Yet, there are other things going on in the world that we can not perceive directly.  We now know that there are such things as electric currents and magnetic fields.  We do not know these things directly but we can use the senses that we do have to monitor them indirectly.

We are limited also by what we are taught from birth.  Everyone is usually exposed to different cultures, religions, and/or belief systems.  We often see, hear, taste, smell, and feel what we expect to experience based on what we have been told.

All senses perceive a broad spectrum of physical qualities and do to training and experience we may focus on a certain portion of that range.  Our brains are very adaptive and areas of the brain which are receptors for certain sensations may be atrophied through disuse or enhanced by use.  Thus people from different parts of the world can perceive it differently with more or less sensitivity.

DNA may determine which sense a person or animal favors and/or how well they can use them.  It would make sense that chefs are more sensitive to tastes and smells than musicians and musicians are more sensitive  to sounds.  I lived in a student living facility where one of the students living there constantly complained about a high pitched sound that the rest of us living there couldn’t hear.  Also dogs and especially certain breeds are very sensitive to smell and can discriminate between many different kinds of smells that humans can’t differentiate among or even in many cases can’t detect.

What is going on out there in our world that we haven’t learned to detect yet?  What are other living organisms able to sense that we are not able to sense?  Will we be able to confirm the existence of extrasensory perception in the future?



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Do You Deserve it?

When it comes to the good things in life, do you deserve them?  When it comes to this, you can over or under do it.  Some people think that they can buy happiness.  Yet, they are never satisfied.  For some people it goes to the point of becoming an addiction and they can never get enough and spend themselves out of house and home.  This may have gotten to the point that there are things in their houses with the price tags still on them.

It may even become a competition between two people in one house.  One sees how much they can save while the other sees how much they can spend.  One is stingy and the other is a spendthrift.  Of course, neither wins.  The more conflict there is over this issue, the more each person becomes set in their ways and the worse the gap is between the two.  It may seem that the one can not stop spending and the other one finds new ways to do without.  Either one may appear to get a charge out of what seem to be opposite behaviors.

It can not just be over money and things, it can be about time.  For example, it can be about who works the most at home or on the job. You have heard about workaholics who take their work with them when they are on vacation.  What about the spouse who never has the time to spend with his or her partner?

Are they being selfish or overly concerned with the opinions of others?  Is there a middle way?  Can you meet some of your own needs so that you are not so dependent on others meeting them for you?  Can you find joy in meeting some of the needs of others without expecting anything in return? Maybe you are going too far in one direction when you should be try going in the other direction for awhile. Stop going without just to make others feel guilty. Do something just for you, you deserve it.


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When things go wrong in your life, do you drown your sorrows in drink? cry your heart out? give up? take your disappointments out on others or on your self.  This, when taken to an extreme, can make bad things even worse.

If life punishes you, don’t you think that you have already suffered enough?  Yes but if you have intentionally done something wrong, you have to admit it to yourself and to anyone you have hurt on purpose and make amends.

You can’t control everything.  Sometimes things do not go your way even if you were convinced that they would go your way.  If there is something you can do to make it less likely in the future, do it.  I am also not suggesting that in order not to feel pain and face losses in life that you enter a state of denial and pretend that nothing has happened.  Sometimes there is something you want and think that you deserve that other people, not you, control your access to.

Expected or unexpected bad news can ruin your day but you can decide to not let that happen.  A big loss needs to be grieved and it can be a lengthy process; but for instance don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and let something that you let ruin your day ruin your life.




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Letting Go of the Controller in You

What if 'PLE' stood for Personal Life Expectat...

The only person you can change for sure is you and this, more than likely, will change how other people react to you after you are no longer trying to exert control over them.  This effect is amazing once it starts.  Letting go of the need to control others rather than yourself can change your life for the good when forcing others to do what you want can’t.  (Of course, there are times in life such as when you are raising children  that you do need to exert control over others, but it won’t hurt to keep your cool and keep the force you use, if any, in doing so to a minimum.)

Expecting others in everyday life to always change for you is a big job.  It is often the origin of a lot of drama ending in tears and anger.  The frustration that is caused when you don’t get others to do what you want them to do can make your life miserable.

If you can get others to do what you want rather than what they want, you may be creating a time bomb that goes off when they realize what has been happening and they rebel.  Then you no longer have control over them and you  may even discover that they now have control over you.

Changing yourself is a project and only you know at first when you are succeeding.  You are the judge of the extent of your self-improvement.  For example, taking a positive attitude, rather than a negative one, when things don’t go your way is one way to improve yourself rather than others.  Another thing you can do is when others are judging people,  don’t join in with them.  Better yet, find something good to say about the person being criticized.  You may be surprised at how the atmosphere changes.




What if 'PLE' stood for Personal Life Expectat...
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Protecting Yourself from Pain

Defending your point of view to protect yourself from pain can prevent you from facing and solving a problem.  We all want to avoid pain, especially the painful truth.  Sometimes we get into a situation where we offend someone without realizing it and  the person involved feels that they can’t reach you because you become so defensive when he or she tries to tell you about it.

This appears to happen more frequently with men because they are more accustomed to taking a stand on things and defending them.  Women are more used to giving in to men when forced to argue about something they differ about.  Women may still disagree with men after giving in to them; but they don’t tell men that.  Both don’t change their minds, but men are more open about it.

Frequently we feel very guilty that we hurt someone’s feelings and we find it hard to admit to it.  We, especially men, would like to explain it away.  Men will continue to hold on to their story which explains why they couldn’t have hurt someone’s feelings even though the person says they did.  It is hard to forgive yourself if and when you admit that you misread the situation and came across as an unfeeling lout or crazy stalker.  Taking this stance makes it more likely the person will make the same mistake in the future in a


Pain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

similar situation with either the same or a different person.  Personal growth groups or therapy groups are a place where a person can get confronted on this and encouraged to accept it.  Often feedback is not accepted in everyday situations where it takes the form of confrontation because it is too painful.


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What Happens in Mid-Life

Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome (Photo credit: cindy47452)

Some people go crazy and see this as their last chance to be young and carefree.  They dress in the style of clothing that younger people favor.  They drive the fast cars,the flashy cars that younger people drive.  They may make big changes in their lives turning their backs on family, careers, and responsibilities to the surprise of their friends and family.  They might even find a much younger significant other.  It is a time of an apparent change in values.

People go through cycles in life.  First they develop as children, then they go to school, then it is time to find a mate and perhaps create a home and family.  Along with this, they often establish a career or business.  All these things take up a lot of time and there may not appear to be time to do the other things that they once thought they wanted to accomplish such as conquer Mt. Everest, write a prize winning novel, achieve notoriety and  fame…

Is that all there is in life might be a person’s concern at this time.  It can be a time of spiritual awakening and ordinary concerns may start to seem to be a waste of time.  If person has not considered that there is an end to life before, he or she may do so now.  For women, there is menopause and an end to fertility.  Also there can be the empty nest syndrome.  Some people develop serious chronic illnesses.  There are now more serious limits on what a person can do in life.

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When Tragedy Strikes, Be Prepared

English: Harvard Medical School

English: Harvard Medical School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you always pulled your own weight? Done things for yourself? Fought your own battles? Do you think it was worth it? Yes, it was. When tragedy strikes, you’ll be prepared.

Just imagine if you are going along in life and things have always gone smoothly for you and then something bad, really bad, happens, how well will you cope? I don’t wish you bad luck, but life is not always peaches and cream and if you expect it to be that way, you will be very disappointed when something bad happens and you can’t handle it.

Often misfortune has a way of giving you a chance to learn something and a way to see what you can do in a very difficult situation. Frequently something like this is not seen as an opportunity to grow and to learn new skills. You even might wind up changing directions in your life possibly for the better.

Life’s bad experiences have a cumulative effect and where you wouldn’t have known what to do if you had not had these problems, you do know now. Imagine being a new mother and your baby (your first) has the stomach flu with vomiting and diarrhea.  Now imagine yourself in the same situation later with  the baby as a two year old.  Wouldn’t you be better prepared to handle the problem if this child had had the same problem several times before.

You can be sheltered and cossetted in life and never had to deal with the problems most other people have to deal with by themselves; but it leaves you less protected from life’s major disasters in the future.  For example, if, in the past, you were finishing your internship and applying for a residency and you don’t get accepted to train at the only hospital that you had planned on attending. This hospital supposebly might have put you on a waiting list in case one of the positions opened up because one or more of the applicants had decided to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, lets say, you had not applied at other less desirable residency programs In those days there were no computer matching programs and different programs had different closing dates after which they would no longer take applications. Then you don’t get this one and you are still on the waiting list when applications elsewhere are no longer being accepted and now you have nowhere to go. The “waiting list” actually might have been a polite form of rejection. If previous experiences applying for school had taught you to have a backup plan and to apply at more than one place in case you don’t get accepted at your first choice, then you would not be surprised and be caught unprepared to apply elsewhere when it did not look like you were going to get your first choice.

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