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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Passing Judgment Versus Discernment

judge-not-discernmentDiscernment is deciding what is right or wrong for yourself; passing judgment is deciding what is right or wrong for others.  Do we put our noses in everybody’s business?  Can you pass by people without some critical, negative thought about them coming through your mind.  Worse yet, are you passing judgment on yourself before somebody else does it.  There always is some flaw or fault we can find in ourselves or others.

Giving advice comes naturally but for what purpose?  Do we want to make ourselves feel good?  To say what the other person is thinking of us before they get to say it in a way that will be even more self damaging for us.  Advice needs to be  lightly given with no expectation of acceptance.  Not to make a bad situation worse by interfering in someone’s life.  It makes us feel more powerful but to what end?

Do you ever pass judgment on yourself and utter it in a self effacing way, before someone else does it.  You try to say what the other person is thinking before they get to say it in a way that will be even more damaging than if you said it.  Joking and making fun of oneself is an example of this.  This can lead into your faults becoming the source of jokes for others to make about you to put you down; but the catch twenty two is the comment that is always made if you don’t laugh with them, “What’s the matter can’t you take a joke. ”

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Some Free Advice

the+true+secret+of+giving+advi-655I love you; I accept you; I praise you.  Can you say that to anyone? including yourself?

When something happens that I am concerned about, I pray about it;  I try to think  positively about it; and I tell myself that I will accept whatever happens.  That is my advice for the day.  I didn’t say it was easy; but it is all I can think of to tell myself to do.  It took me a while to get to this point and I am not completely there yet.  I often have to remind myself of my own advice.  In the past, I was worried that my prayers wouldn’t be heard; I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the worst thing that could happen; and I had a hard time accepting if it did not turn out well from my point of view.

Often I have a hard time accepting the idea that if something is wrong for me, it might still be a good choice for someone else.  Sometimes people just don’t take my advice and they probably shouldn’t because they probably wouldn’t see it my way anyway.  If I won’t join or support a certain organization or they wouldn’t recommend that I go somewhere for vacation based on their experience of having gone there, maybe each of us anyway should make up our own minds for ourselves.    This reminds me of what I used to think when I was in college and taking classes.  It was that just because someone liked or disliked a certain teacher didn’t necessarily mean that I would have the same experience.

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Hurt Feelings, Things We May Not Talk About

If we say something and someone has hurt feelings, does this mean that there are certain things we may not talk about?  Are we automatically in trouble because we did not know that saying what we said would upset somebody else?  In a democracy, we have freedom of speech or do we?

A Firing Offense

A Firing Offense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it a firing offense to say something that a patron, client,  or customer takes offense to even if you didn’t know beforehand that they would?  Would your boss or supervisor back you up in this situation? or would he or she throw you on the sacrificial altar of customer satisfaction and client good will?

The shoe has been on the other foot.  It creeps me out to listen to satanic rock music, discuss dental procedures in detail, witness autopsies, or see or handle snakes. I have strong personal spiritual and moral values which I do not attempt to shove down other people’s throats.  Other people have not been as kind to me.

I grew up in a family where you would occasionally hear cuss words used and nobody got upset and where my father would get gifts of liquor from business associates which he never opened and I married into a family that took offense at the use of cuss words, but some of whose members did occasionally take  a drink and might have even had an alcohol problem.  I had to remember what I could do where.  Currently I personally have forsaken cussing and drink very little, if any, alcohol.

Personally I have gotten in trouble in the past for not saying pot smoking was wrong because it was a bad drug, but only because it was illegal.  That is not what I think now.  I also have gotten in trouble for saying that men who did not go to war in World War II were called yellow bellies; because they were thought to be cowards whatever the reason why they did not fight.  I was not a man then and did not realize how sensitive this issue was.

Tolerance is a virtue.  Freedom involves being able to say or believe something without someone of different beliefs or practices saying theirs supercede yours and stopping you.  In return for this courtesy,  we can temper our usage of what someone else considers bad language and we can not engage in things that are openly offensive to others when we don’t have to.  When we share space in this world with others; we should make it as pleasant an experience as possible when we have no reason not to.


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Please Listen To Me

good_listeningPlease listen to me so that you can tell me what I said.  Don’t make it a waste of my breath to talk to you.  Sometimes a conversation becomes a competition to see who can dominate  it and at the same time no one really is listening to the other.  You are trying to tell someone something and they are too busy thinking of what to say next to listen.

Why do we talk to others  Is it to learn something new or to convince someone else to accept our values or to take our point of view.  If you are not open to changing your mind or rethinking a position that you have taken then why do you think that other people would be that way?

Have you ever gotten involved in a conversation that has turned into a yelling match?  What do you think that you or the other people you are talking “at”  are accomplishing ?  Yes, it is nice to get something off your chest; but what if it doesn’t really solve anything?

Sometimes therapy is the only place where someone really listens to you; but then I (and probably you) have heard of stories where the therapist fell asleep during a session while supposedly listening to their patient.


activelistening-glych1 (Photo credit: stallio)

Therapy involves “active listening” where the therapist repeats what the client has said in his or her own words to be sure that he or she has gotten correct what the other person has been trying to say.  Then the therapist might make an interpretation of what the client is actually probably doing or make a suggestion as to what the client might do about the problem they have just related to the therapist.

Debating is an activity that promotes active listening and the ability to see the other side of issues.  Critical thinking is encouraged and people are forced to be able to take both sides of an issue.  We are not always able to see the other person’s point of view.  In a society that promotes individual differences, we often get caught up in defending our right to have our own preferences and ignoring the right of others to have theirs.

Think for yourself, but give others that right too.


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Giving Yourself Away


shadowself1Sometimes the things you do are giving yourself away.  All that advice you have for others.  What does it really mean?  Maybe you are telling others things to do which you really need to do yourself.  Do you ever gripe and nag?  Do you call people names when you get frustrated with them.  Maybe those are names that you fear others might call you.  You can attack your demons by examining the advice you give and the things you would like to change in others.  This leads us to our shadow selves.  A part of us that we are ashamed of, maybe the polar opposite of the way we like to present ourselves.  You can’t have one without the other.

Debbie Ford in The Dark Side of the Light Workers does a good job of  presenting these problems and tells stories about people who overcome their shadow selves and grow expotentially.  For example, my husband sleeps too much; he doesn’t get up and move around; and he watches too much TV even when he is sleeping.  What does this say about me?  Do I do the same things which I criticize in him?

Next step is that I like to give self-help advice.  Maybe I should spend some time working through my issues rather than just telling others to do it.

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Three Things To Try From Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra (Photo credit: JP Newell)

There are three things in life you might want to do to give yourself peace.  Stop attempting to control others.  People easily take offense when you do this.  Stop seeking other people’s approval; be self-motivated.  Don’t judge yourself or others.  Life is not a contest based on whether you win or lose.   The standards that you judge yourself or others  by can be very fickle. Taken from Deepak Chopra‘s material and expanded.

For example, in class when students asked for two smoke breaks during a three hour course, I initially thought to deny them that because they shouldn’t be smoking anyway.  I thought it would be better for their health.  But I did it anyway and cemented my position with the smokers who knew it was a bad habit anyway.

Seeking other people’s approval and getting it is impossible.  Like the story of an old man, a donkey, and a boy who were traveling along a road.  Everybody who came by had a different idea of how the donkey should be used, to carry cargo, to carry the frail old man, or to carry the young boy who might not be able to keep up.  The most ludicrous solution of all was for the old man to carry the donkey.  You can’t please everybody all the time.

Standards against which you judge yourself and others can change over time as you acquire new information.  Also it is a game of one-up-man-ship and frequently the person who is doing the judging is not faultless him or her self.  It is a case of don’t look at me; look at him.


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Here I Am, Tomorrow

livetomorrowReady to start life over and develop my creative side.  After all being left-handed, I am in my right mind.  Is that why I need to develop my spontaneous, intuitive side?  I  find a better fit as a psychologist when I view myself  also as a crafts person, not only as a scientist.  I now know who I am; I am an artist and life is my canvas.

At this time of life most people are winding down while I am winding up.  After a hiatus of five years due to physical problems,  I’ve got time to make up.  The new me, JoyL, has changed her name and now has red hair.  If my friends could see me now.  There is no time like the present.  I have waited long enough.  I am not your usual housewife, mother, or grandma anymore (if I ever was).

There’s no time like the present.  Can’t stop now.  I’ve just begun.  Anyone else like me out there?  Could you write a post for this blog that was inspired by this?

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Your Locus of Control Part I

theirfaultIs your locus of control external?  Does somebody else always have it in for you?  You try hard; but are limited by forces outside of yourself.  You usually believe that it is not your fault if something goes wrong.  It’s her fault; it’s his fault; it’s their fault; Not me.  Blame it on somebody else.  When you constantly blame others, not yourself, when things go wrong, do you ever consider whether it might be something you have done not something they have done.  Criticisms and judgment passing put the focus external to yourself.

When you see something, is it always from your own perspective?  Do you have difficulty taking another person’s point of view or even acknowledging that another point of view could exist.  If somebody does something and you don’t understand why they did it, you come to the conclusion that they did something wrong or stupid.  Do you wonder why other people often don’t accept your comments calmly and frequently get mad or feel put down?

You learn so much more when you ask questions opposed to passing judgmentsDo you realize that other people have their own points of view and reasons for doing things?  Do you understand that it might offend them if you don’t first let them tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it before you pass judgment on them?  Does your attitude tell them that you already think that what they are doing is wrong?  If they’re wrong, you are right.  If you often find that when things go wrong it is somebody else’s responsibility.  It is something that they did wrong, the locus of your control is out there external to you.


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Who’s Your Inner Voice? Part I

Having discussed mind chatter before, now I want to know,  Who’s your inner voice?” Parent, teacher, minister, God, the devil?  Your friends and/or neighbors.  Family members besides your parents?  When you talk to yourself, do you become your inner voice or do you have to do it out loud?  Interesting idea isn’t it?

Who’s your inner voice?  If it is not you, then it is someone else like I said above.  Why do you let somebody else tell you what to do when it is you who will suffer the consequences?  Doing what you are told to do by that inner voice may save you some grief or it may not save you some grief.  If you constantly repeat in your head what somebody else has told you, is this benefiting you or that person.

Who’s your inner voice?  Have you thought about it and come up with an answer?  Did you choose that inner voice?  Does it benefit you?  Please don’t just believe that because the voice comes from inside your head that it is really saying what you need to hear.  Our parents, our peers, may have less than good intentions when they tell you something and it sticks in your head and tells you to do something for your own good?  Think for yourself.  What really do you need to do for your own good?

Who’s your inner voice?  Is it positive or negative?  Negative voices whether anger, fear, self-despairaging comments are things that get you in to trouble, lower your self-esteem, and may even make you think you wish you were dead are not in your best interest.  Guilt, shame, etc. can work against you if you continue to voice them even after the incident has passed and you have made amends if any were necessary.

Who’s your inner voice.  Does it egg you on, promote behavior that will harm you or others?  Adolescents often have an imaginary audience who they perceive as judging their behavior.  They also may believe things that are not true (personal myths) that support beliefs that will put them in harm’s way.  For example, they think they are invincible.

Inner voices can be positive.  You may have grown to trust them.  When you are about to give up, they keep you going.  More about who’s your inner voice next time.


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Dampening The Joy of Children

JoyofchildrenChildren are a source of light, love, and joy; but we often unthinkingly dampen their enthusiasim.  Children can be blissfully happy or madder than a wet hen.  We often only orient to their screams and hysterical outbursts.  We are sensitive to that erie quietness that means they are up to something either naughty or dangerous.  We react with shock when they get hurt or are  in harm’s way.  But can we enjoy the everyday sounds of childish laughter or the intimate conversation between two toddlers?  Childhood emotions are often uncensored and in their purist form.  Even their very innocence in their quiet times can be rewarding.  Recently I enjoyed watching a two month old sleep quietly, so quietly, I almost didn’t notice she was there.

Why do we often use the term “childish” as a derogative descriptive term?   In the past, children were to be seen and not heard.  Children were highly scheduled and there was a certain time for everything.  Babies were fed every two hours or so and if they cried with hunger in between feedings they had to wait.  Bottles were preferred to breast feeding.  Breast feeding was too spontaneous and interrupted things.  They also could be given by someone else rather than the mother.  Being a child was often a frustrating experience.  The natural joys and highs of childhood were often ignored and depreciated.  Children were told to go out and play and get out of mom’s hair so she could get some work done.  Playpens were a standard household item when one had small children.

Having been a play therapist, I learned how to observe and participate in a child’s play which was their world.  I was not really another child so I was not a real playmate; but I could become part of the child’s world and participate in it. Hopefully in a helpful fashion.  This has been useful with my own grandchildren as I have some idea of how to interact with and make playing or reading a book to them an interactive experience.  I also get a lot of  enjoyment of it.  I don’t have as many rules as their parents do and generally the scheduling is looser.

Refresh your memory and relive the best parts of childhood.  Focus more on having a good time and enjoying yourself.  It is contagious.



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