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Monthly Archives: May 2013

I Knew It

nothing-new-under-the-sun2I found that I already knew it; but I couldn’t get it to work.  There comes a time when in exploring any body of knowledge that you realize that there is little new material out there.  What you really are seeking is a magic trick that can get what you already know about to work for you.  For example, take the subject of dieting, there are only so many kinds of diets, low carb, reduced calorie, etc., that you begin to think that there is nothing new under the sun.  If it works for them, people write about it, talk about it and are enthusiastic about it; but often they fail to convey the one thing they have found that makes it work.

There is a time to stop buying books, viewing videos, and listening to audio recordings as the amount of new information and the number of new insights you get from the material becomes extremely limited.   Your return on your investment in terms of time and money diminishes to almost zero.  In order to get you to purchase materials and go to workshops, promoters promise something new and different with surprising results.  At this point in their studies, people are often disappointed.

solveyourownproblemsI knew it that is the solution to this problem,  It seemed too hard to do,that was to find a way to can make it work for yourself.  We can solve our own problems, but we often have not been encouraged to do this.  People are competitive and like to promote the idea that they can do something or know something you don’t know.  We have innate problem solving abilities, but they are often rusty from disuse and remain almost unused as we usually have no confidence in our ability to do so.  Too often as we grew up, we were encouraged to solve problems the way our parents and teachers did and to come to the same conclusions they did.  When we do solve a problem for ourselves, we are often become discouraged because our mentors often criticized us and rejected our methods and solutions in favor of their own.

I already knew it (but I thought it might be self-aggrandizing to think that I might know almost as much as the “authorities” did in some areas after I had thoroughly studied them.  When I did find a source that I hadn’t examined in those areas, that I learned very little that was new.  One thing that you can do is to expand your area of search and cover material that you may have overlooked or rejected as not being useful to cover.  For example, people who have one religious belief system may have thoroughly studied the information available on that system; but may have avoided learning about other religious systems that they believe to be incompatible with their own.



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Anger Causes You Stress

Anger Controlls Him

Anger Controlls Him (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anger causes you stress.  Anger can eat you from the inside out..  It is usually not your servant.  Something happens and you have to blame someone, somebody else or yourself.  This (you probably think) will give you more control over your life.

Not that anger will solve anything especially if you don’t do something with it.  We have all heard of the flight or fight response.  Your body gets ready physically to do one or the other.  When these changes are short-term and occur when you are ready to use them, they can be helpful, not harmful.  If they result in a prolonged alarm response, then they can be harmful.  They are there to motivate a person to react.

Externalization therapy, ala Dr. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross, encourages the expression

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of these sometimes harmful emotions.  You can beat a pillow, tear up a phone book, scream, or cry to release them.  Doing this can also result in other people in the group who are watching becoming upset about their own problems and needing to do some externalization work too.  No comments by the persons watching on the persons doing this technique are allowed.

Anger can be like a freight train coming toward you which increases in speed the closer it gets.  How can anybody be reasonable in this situation?  Yes, you can count to ten, leave the situation, decide to discuss the problem later when tempers are not hot.

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Money And How You Think About It

american-currencyBecoming more mindful has led me to realize that the amount of money that something costs and whether it seems like too much or a real steal depends on what it is, who you are, and where you are.  I first began to think about this when I started watching HGTV and realized that what was considered a reasonable price for a house in one part of the country or the world was not reasonable in another part.  Decent-sized homes could be bought for $200,000 or less in some places, for $500,000 or less in others, and for over a million dollars in yet other places.  The same was true of rent which ranged from under $1000 to several thousand dollars a month.  The bigger prices were found not just in resort communities but also in suburban areas.highpricedpen

I am currently on a fixed income and am very money conscious.   I found that what I considered to be a good price for something depended on what category it fell in.  I found that I was the cheapest about clothes, hitting clearance racks and garage sales and usually spending under a few dollars usually no more than five or ten bucks; but  I found that I would  spend that much on eating out and on a very special occasion, I might double that.  It all dealt with what I allowed myself to spend even actually keeping a running total in my head.   Why is it more acceptable to spend more on laundry detergent than than on many grocery items?

You might not be on as tight a budget as I am and you may have to spend more to keep up appearances than I do.  Even the higher house prices don’t shock you and you may have already invested that much in a place to live.  What determines what seems reasonable to pay for one type of thing and not another?  Yes, this can be a matter of personal taste and the desire for quality in something you purchase.  But it does seem at least for me that I am willing to spend more on somethings than others.  How did I get that way?  Is it price fixing like the cost of a carton of pop?  Is it brain washing?  Is it due to propaganda?  What one person considers acceptable to pay for something may not be acceptable to another person.  How much of this is due to what is the usual price for something in a certain area and how much of this is due to what its really worth.  Or are things not intrinsically worth anything, except what you can get people to pay for them?



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Success and Fear

the-greatest-barrier-in-success-is-the-fear-of-failureSuccess and fear.  Are they related?  How could you have one and the other as well.  Well, you can.  For example, if you are a success, it could mean that you will have to perform like a success.  If you are a success doing one thing, then you might be expected to be a success at doing other things as well.  If you are a success once, you might be expected to repeat it a second, a third, or a multitude of times.   If you are a success, you might be expected to look like a success, live like a success,etc.  If you are a success, you might be expected to be happy.  If you are a success then someone else might try to compete with you.  If you are a success then the competition increases it becomes more difficult to be a success.  If you are a success and then you fail, you might feel worse than if you had never succeeded at all.success-churchill-550x240


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How To Think Out Of The Box

thinkingoutoftheboxSometimes we don’t just pass judgments on people too quickly, we do the same with information.  I have been reading (please forgive me men as I usually skip looking at the hunting books) interior decorating books lately.  With three of them although I initially wasn’t too much interested in the topics they covered and even after I  looked them over and I still was not was not too inspired, I found that after I looked at the pictures and read the text included about them that I took away some good ideas I could use in decorating in the future.  One that I particularly found uninviting was a book on “green” decorating and they (as far as I was concerned) took it to extremes.  One of the things I did learn from that book was what to look for in quality furniture or fabrics that would last and would not have to be replaced in the near future or perhaps in any one person’s lifetime.

This involves thinking out of the box and it is easily missed because we often focus on information about things we like and not on things we don’t like.  We often think that most of the material on stuff that we are not interested in will be useless; but we often miss information that is covered that could be useful to us; but that we either think will not be covered in that treatment of the topic or we reject out of hand because it is associated with stuff we dislike or disapprove off.  We tend to generalize and if one thing we dislike is associated with something, we may reject everything associated with it.  This is one of the problems with prejudice.  One bad experience with a certain religious organization or cultural group can lead to a person rejecting the whole organization or group and even anything associated with them.

applevalleyTo think out of the box, do the following.  Please take a closer or more thorough look at things before tarring everything associated with it with the same brush.  Take for example, visiting foreign countries can be seen by some people as a trying experience because so many things will be unfamiliar and an acquired taste.  Be a little bold.  Try a taste of something.  Visit a different climate or explore a different landscape.  I was surprisingly very impressed when I visited Apple Valley in the desert east of Los Angles, California.  I didn’t go to see the desert.  In fact, I was worried about the snakes there and I was not excited about eating only vegetarian food during my stay there.  I went because I wanted to attend a workshop being offered there.  I thought I had landed on the moon when I looked out over the desert and saw the horizon in the distance to be so very far away.

Here is how to think out of the box.  Take a chance try different things, learn about different things, go to different places and you might find something that you might have missed otherwise by staying with the comfortable and the familiar.

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Learning Through Experience

happyoldercoupleLearning through experience is sometimes the best way.  If things don’t happen to you early in life, how will you be able to cope with them later in life?  We all wish for our children to have happy uneventful lives, but is this the best thing to want to have happen for them?  If we could insure that the rest of their lives would stay this way, then that would be ideal and they wouldn’t have had to deal with unpleasant things.

Learning through experience is sometimes skipped by people in some areas of life.  For example, a woman meets the man of her dreams in high school, they have a long and happy marriage with nothing happening to upset the applecart while they were together.  Then one of them dies and the other one does not know how they will get along without the other.  There was always someone else to rely on to do the things that he or she didn’t learn how to do.  What happens in this worst case scenario?  Someone has to cook, do laundry, clean house, pay bills, and deal with the unpleasant details of planning a funeral or administering an estate (especially if there are unexpected expenses or unpaid debts belonging to the departed).

Learning through experience often seems to be the hardest way to learn.  There is a price to pay but whether it is money, pain, loss, or sorrow, it usually leaves the learner with some new usually hard-earned skills.

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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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Doing Things For Others

Doing things for others can backfire.  If they didn’t do it for themselves and it doesn’t work, they can blame you.  You can be a built-in scapegoat.  You can start to be taken for granted.

Doing things for others can promote harmony.  It is the middle child syndrome.  You don’t want people to fight and maybe you can guess what compromise can work here.  You spend more time thinking of what would please others and less or no time thinking about what you might want to do or have in the situation.

Doing for others all the time can lower instead of raise your self esteem.  Have you lost all sense of what is truly right for you?  For example, in a restaurant do you have trouble deciding what to order and you are the last one to order after everybody else has placed their orders.  Then do you regret that you ordered whatever it was and that is proof that you don’t know what you want and you shouldn’t trust yourself to make those decisions..  Now you don’t enjoy your meal out.

Doing things for others can be rewarding if you make someone’s life a little easier when you could make it a little harder.  Often in these situations it is at little or no cost to you.  Spread a little joy.  Speak up when you really want to do something you want to do anyway and contribute this to the decision-making process.

English: A poster at the Occupy Boston demonst...

English: A poster at the Occupy Boston demonstration explaining the decision process in use. (Photo credit Tim Pierce

You may be the type of person who doesn’t want to rock the boat and negative feelings for you or for others can be very unsettling and you can get upset over somebody else getting upset.  You might think it is worth it to do this just to have peace.  Remember some very bad things have happened and no one who observes them happening does anything about it.  Sometimes you have to speak out for yourself and/or others.

It may be easier in a family to just give in in order to get out the door so to speak.  However, the people in the family who always get their way learn very little about how to compromise or share in any given situation.  They find out later that people outside the family group don’t necessarily share their likes and dislikes and they don’t have the experience of other people speaking up for themselves.    Finally such a person may be rejected by others outside the family because of his or her learned self-centered behavior.

Doing things for others can leave you out.

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Why People Do What They Do

reward-punishment Do you know why people do what they do?  Do you think psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors know this automatically when they get information about a new client’s problem?  Sometimes it takes at least just a little more knowledge about a situation than what has been given to start with to understand why something is happening.  I was taught to do behavior modification therapy and although the process I used was by the book; it had to be tweaked to work right.  The necessary rewards and punishments had to motivate the client to do or not do a certain specified behavior or behaviors.  For example, I have a family member for whom chocolate ice cream wouldn’t work, but for time for this family member to take a nice long bath would.

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, sig...

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, signalling the later arrival of wet weather. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has been a problem not only when doing behavior therapy but also when doing other kinds of therapy.  Sometimes it’s not what you think that is why people do what they do.  I knew of a farmer who drank when the weather forecast was bad.  I figured he was upset that he couldn’t get into the field the next day and was worried that he wouldn’t get his crops in or out.  No, I found out later that he knew he could drink that evening because he wouldn’t be operating farm equipment the next day.

Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation (Photo credits:

I was using a very successful method of hypnosis for helping a person to quit smoking and I was getting nowhere.  The person had very serious health problems caused by smoking.  When I did a through follow-up interview, I found out that the only thing that person did for his or her own enjoyment was smoking.  He or she constantly did for others 24/7.  The amount of such work that he or she did was mind boggling.  He or she was at the beck and call of family and friends.


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How Smart Are You? Depends on Your Expectations

smart-person  I can think of three people who had trouble learning in school who went on to do something with their lives.  One became an aircraft mechanic and successfully went to school to be certified as one.  Not only did he graduate from the two year program, he went on to learn how to work on many different complicated aircraft that were developed during his career.  Another man was considered to be “dumb” when he was in school, but went on to successfully make a living and have a family just like everybody else.  A girl who had learning problems when she began school went on to college where she got an “A” in organic chemistry and then was accepted in a graduate masters program.  No, no mistakes were made.  These people’s abilities could have been seriously underestimated.

Different classes in the same grade in one school had different IQ test results given to their teachers.  These were not the real results and the classes weren’t really any smarter even though their teachers were told so.  Real results at the end of the year for students whose teachers who expected their students to be smarter were higher than they had been at the beginning of the year.  I, for one was told, I would never get higher than a “B” in college and I didn’t live up to that person’s expectations.  I never got lower than a “B” in college.  You need to believe in yourself or to have someone who believes in you and lets you know it.

How smart are you if you don’t do well in school or if you don’t have an education. There are stories about famous people who did “poorly” in school as children and went on to make famous discoveries.  Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Abraham Lincoln are some such people.  Many times people are self-limiting; because they too easily accept others negative judgments of their abilities as accurate and resign themselves to be failures in life.  It is what you believe or what your caregivers believe that can have a lot to do with what you actually do in life.  This can even be true of people who are developmentally disabled especially in the past.  People who had a child with such problems were often told that their child should be institutionalized and forgotten about as nothing could be done with them and nothing could be done about their problems.  Seriously some people are born with serious deficiencies that can’t be corrected and don’t have a long life expectancy.  Often these people will never be able to take care of themselves or to meet their own needs no matter how basic.  For example, they never be able to feed themselves or communicate in any way.  I have seen them.  They need a great deal of care 24/7.  I also have counseled parents who underestimated what their developmentally disabled child could do and who lived with some unacceptable behavior that their child could actually control.

How smart are you when others have low goals set for you.  You may be capable of doing much more if you put your mind to it.

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