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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Middle Way

Being so bound up in life that everything that happens creates drama is not the way to live. It is better toMiddle Way, Summertown, Oxford

take the middle way. Taking the middle way does not mean that you don’t have any feelings; but it does mean that you don’t get so excited or upset that you can not think rationally. It is okay to cry or get mad but not to the point that you overreact and do something which you might regret later. Being suicidal or homicidal is not taking the middle way. Things happen and life goes on anyway. Grieving is a natural process which leads towards the eventual but not necessarily a quick acceptance of the loss.  Anger can be handled by writing in a place that is for your eyes only such as in a journal. It can be acted out safely by beating a pillow with your fists. We should not let negative emotions ruin our lives and crowd out positive emotions such as joy and love. Enjoy positive emotions, but don’t let them go to your head. It is wonderful to fall in love with your heart , but it is not safe to ignore subtle signs that this person might not be as wonderful as we initially thought that he or she was. Don’t lose your head when experiencing a strong emotion. That new car that you love might be a gas guzzler and expensive to drive. Take the middle way.

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Rash Judgment?

A Different Church Building

A Different Church Building (Photo credit: justshootingmemories)

When my three children were very young, just toddlers, I had trouble controlling them in church as I only had “two hands” and I brought them to church by myself (and sat at the back of the church so as to cause the least amount of disruption).  After church I was shanghaied in the women’s restroom by an older woman from church (of course I still had my children with me)  and told how when she had brought her children to church when they were little that they sat still and were very quiet like she had taught them to be.  She said that her children had also grown up to be extremely successfully linking her having kept her children quiet in church to their growing up that way.  Another lady even joined in and agreed with her.  I went home feeling miserable and like not going back to the church after being treated that way.  I felt that nobody there saw that bringing them to church at their age by myself was an accomplishment in itself.  That afternoon, the lady in the restroom, who contributed her comments when I was being criticized by the other lady, called me up and sincerely apologized for any upset she might have caused me.  I did go back to church after that.  This could lead to another discussion on forgiveness; but I think I am done.

Patience that day was in short supply not only on the other woman’s side, but also on my side as a mother.  Both of  us were easily riled.  For me it started while I was trying to get us ready.  It never failed, but at least one of us would require a complete change of clothing before leaving the house.  This was after everybody had gotten dressed once for church.  Toddlers are also notorious for doing something “bad” while your attention is otherwise directed, in this case, by two other toddlers.

The lady in church was a little-bit short-sighted and also lacking in patience.  I understand that it is hard to hear the sermon when babies are crying and toddlers are screaming.  Should mothers of young children stop going to church until their children are bigger?  Children also can also be a distraction when they head down the aisle towards the altar on their own.  Do you abandon the other children?  Capture him or her and take him or her out of church to be chastized?  I remember it well.  Now it is my grandchildren doing this.

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Thoughts For The Day

Bullying

Bullying (Photo credits: www.mysecuritysign.com)

Again, think for yourself.  Take what you can use and discard the rest.  I am only providing food for thought based on my learning and experience.  To each, his own conclusions.

Hypnosis can boost self-esteem so it is not fixed.  How do you fix it without hypnosis?  The most important person to love (and like as well) is you.  What does your inner voice (the thoughts that go through your mind) say?  Are there constant criticisms and “put downs.”  Some people judge themselves more harshly than they should.  How well do you treat yourself?  How you treat yourself can affect how others treat you.  How you treat others also reflects how you view yourself.

I was once asked to do research with mentally retarded adults; but I said, “No,” at that time.  Little did I know was that I would end up working with them anyway.   The biggest problem that I had was that I thought of them as having fewer skills and good qualities than a normal person.  I wondered if they were they were God’s mistakes?  I had a hard time accepting that God would make mistakes like that.   Later I came to the conclusion that we are all equal in God’s eyes (even if we couldn’t see how or why) and that any handicapped person is to be treated with the same respect and consideration as anyone else.

Lack of confidence in oneself can lead to bullying behavior as a constant reassurance that the person doing the bullying is better than the person being bullied.  Actually if a person has self-confidence and good self-esteem, they don’t need to prove it to others or themselves in this way.  At the very least, people with good self-esteem don’t look for people to be better than and they don’t have to point this out to others in the form of the judgments they make about other people.  Often these people are revealing by their criticisms of others what they fear others seeing as wrong with them.

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A Good Relationship

Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever (Photo credit: 18brumaire)

A good relationship is so much more satisfying than an uncomfortable one.  In the former relationship, you can be yourself, express your own personal opinions, and not have to change for the other person.  It is a breath of fresh air.  BFF (Best Friends Forever) was coined to con-notate this kind of relationship.  Some of these relationships are born and some are made.  I like both kinds.  With the first type, you instantly know you have found a friend and share things you usually don’t share.  With the second type, you have resolved some issues that have kept you apart in the past, and you value the relationship even more because of this.

If possible there needs to be some openness in all your relationships.  This is the ideal situation.   However, in our society, not all people operate this way.  Such openness could make for an ideal work situation and make life in a family a rowdy, often argumentative one with ultimately a feeling of mutual support.  The foundation for such a relationship is mutual respect.  There is also the recognition that individual differences exist and can be accommodated for.  Freedom for you is freedom for me and the foundation for all this is love.

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Toxic Relationships

The Toxic Avenger (musical)

The Toxic Avenger (musical) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you tell if you are in a toxic relationship?  Often you can tell by your guts.  If you have a stress related illness that impairs your ability to function in everyday life at home or work, you might be functioning in a toxic situation.  You stay in this relationship or job because you think you can’t survive without it.  In this economy, I am not necessarily recommending that you quit your job or ask for a divorce and move out of the house.

Are you losing your sense of self-respect?  Do you start questioning your judgment?  Do you feel very insecure?  You have become more concerned about going along with what somebody else wants than with what is right for you.  Are the “warts” on your own nose actually more offensive than those on the other person’s nose?

When you take a break from a relationship and go away from home (for example, go on a retreat) or have a few days off from your job where you can’t work from home, do you find that you can finally relax and you feel like a wet noodle and you can doze off quickly if there is nothing going on around you.  You may feel very free for once.  You also may have the experience of rediscovering who you really are and you realize that you had forgotten this.

Gaslighting in relationships can cause this.  There is pressure, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle, to take the gaslighter’s point-of-view and do what the gaslighter wants you to do or if you don’t, to feel guilty about it.

 

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Gotch Ya!

Cover of "The Gaslight Effect: How to Spo...

Cover via Amazon

Do you find yourself under the control of others even when you don’t want to be?  Do you not know what to believe until somebody else tells you what to believe.  Can you not believe what you see with your own eyes if somebody tells you different?  Are your behaviors determined by what will meet the approval of others?  Is doing what someone else wants you to do, a way of making sure that they won’t abandon you?  Have conflicts in the past resulted in the threat of broken relationships?  Are you fearful and insecure about keeping the support of others?

The Gaslight Effect is a book written by Dr. Robin Stern.  The purpose of this book was to help people “learn how to stop letting other people get inside your head, tell you what to think, shake your judgment, sabotage your self-esteem, and make you question your grip on reality.”  This often happens when one person is having an affair, but he or she is denying it to their partner.  Also the more isolated the person being gaslighted is, the more vulnerable he or she is to it.

Unconditional love is the anecdote but it is not as effective after the gaslight effect has occurred as it is if it occurs sometime before, preferably in childhood.

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What We Value Tells Something About Us And What We Are Missing

No Hunting Campground Park Sign

No Hunting Campground Park Sign (Photo credits: www.campgroundsigns.com)

The more well-rounded we become, the better we are able to judge what actually goes on on earth.  I used to reject things that I didn’t likeEnglish literature, hunting, opera, blue grass, abstract art by some famous painters, etc.  Now I realize that people have different abilities and tastes.  Some people can see better than others and this would help them if (for example) they played major league baseball.  Everyone likes different styles of music.  Often people classify music that they don’t like as noise.  For example, what surprised me was that the hostess of a polka (if you don’t know what this is, look it up.) program could sing, dance, and play several instruments  and obviously the people dancing the polka were having fun.

There is sometimes a difference in the sense perceptions of people that makes one activity more enjoyable than another.  Also people come from different backgrounds and may  have learned to appreciate certain things that not all people appreciate without the same backgrounds.  We are easily influenced by the biases for or against something of people with whom we associate.  Why do we have to denigrate things that we don’t appreciate.  In our society, nobody is forcing you to love sports or various kinds of music, literature, and art.  Does this suggest a lack of self confidence on the part of the person making uninformed judgments about things.  Do some people only feel confident when their way is the only acceptable way?  It is difficult to be a loner in a group of people with whom you have nothing in common and who are excited about something you don’t share.  Picture attending a tailgate party at a football game at a college you never attended and missing the symphony orchestra play when you have excellent seats reserved for each performance.

Explore different areas of interest and keep an open mind.  I am among those who love hunting (not me) and it takes skill and many different abilities to succeed in shooting game.  This is often a male-female difference.  Men probably wonder why women make such a big fuss over a party like a wedding and women probably wonder why men spend so much time and money on team sports and hunting.  Around here it is coon hunting and the hunters, usually men, can be out all night when involved in this activity.  One takes organizational skills and artistic sensibilities and the other involves the knowing the typical behavior of the animals being hunted, knowing the terrain, having a good dog if you need one, and the ability to stay up all night.

Almost any enthusiastic participant in any activity has knowledge and abilities you probably have not thought about.  I know for a fact that I don’t hear high frequency sounds which other more sensitive people can hear and it usually annoys them; but not me.  I am not as sensitive to smell as others are and, therefore,  I avoided the whole problem many women have while being pregnant that of merely smelling food and wanting to throw up.

 

 

 

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Dignity and Compromise

Dignity and Shame

Dignity and Shame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How can we negotiate something when we are dealing with people who feel hatred toward each other and who want revenge against them because of past hurts. People, who are in this situation, often primarily want to make the other persons feel as bad as possible and to leave them worse off than when they came to the bargaining table.  How can we convince people that you don’t get compromises by putting other people down and that there might be no winner or winners if you do.

People can be very sensitive about certain things and will think that you don’t respect them if you offend them in a sensitive area.  It might require a little humility on your part and a willingness to give into what might seem to be petty demands on the part of the other person in order to be able to negotiate a deal satisfying to both parties.

Usually no situation can be seen objectively  from only one person’s point of view and once we step out of our comfort zone where we are with people with the same background, religion, culture and/or (dare I say these words) race or sexual orientation, we can be very narrow-minded and/or uncomfortable when we need to respect standards and experience conditions different from our own.  It can be as simple as taking your shoes off when you enter a home.  What seems to be an affront to their dignity for one person might not upset another person at all.  This is why people who are in international businesses or politics, have to be very skilled in diplomacy.

 

 

 

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Pride and Competition

In our society, some people have become so competitive that they feel that they have to win every time they think they are in a contest with somebody else.  Also the more contests they can win, the better, even if it means nobody else takes home a prize.  Sometimes this happens at wedding and baby showers.  When is enough, enough?

The challenge is accompanied by both excitement and anxiety and the competitor feels that he or she has to win at any cost even if he or she doesn’t need the prize that is being offered.  Often the person “needs” to win so badly that he or she will cheat or trick someone else in the competition to make him or her fail.  Also he or she may have so many awards and trophies at home that he or she is running out of space in which to put them.

What is a happy medium between healthy competition and run away greed?  Maybe it is when a person has  done his or her personal best irregardless of whether or not he or she won or lost.  It also may be when a person decides to give someone else a chance and exits out of an annual prize winning contest and becomes the past champion and lets someone else take this year’s honor.

Contest Winner

Contest Winner (Photo credit: pixel8 (RCRD))

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Second Guessing

(Photo credit: the|G|™)”]housewife [derogation]It was part of my upbringing and now I do it myself.  When I am second, third, even fourth guessing my decisions, I don’t get anything done.  There is a human dynamo around here that must not second guess herself.  She does as much in one day as three ordinary people would do.  God, bless her.

Anticipating people’s behavior is another problem.  I get out of the way before someone else tells me and we sometimes bump heads because of this.  Second guessing this way is part  of a learned pattern aimed making the doer more secure.  Security is one of our basic needs.  Housewives and moms stayed home in the past and depended on their husbands to survive.  If the husband was unhappy, everybody was unhappy.  He even might abandon them to their own resources.  Not too far to from  homelessness, is it?

You can never second guess what a person will say or do if you ask them for their opinion.  Confrontations don’t happen sometimes because of an ongoing conversation in the head with me, myself, and I discussing what the other person will say, how they might react, and what this would do to me.Second guessing leads to low self-esteem.  The person doesn’t trust him or her self.  He or she may focus on all the mistakes he or she made and not on the things that turned out right.  It also results from a regime as a kid where criticism is over-utilized.

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