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gratitude

Maybe, You Are Where You Were Meant To Be

Did you ever wish you were in somebody else’s shoes.  I have.  But you know, they just might not fit.  With the internet, reality shows, newspapers, and magazines, we probably just haven’t realized that we might know too much about people we used to think that we would like to be and it’s not good.  Fame, things don’t buy happiness and some of these people have not learned this yet.

Do They Fit?

Do They Fit?

Envy and jealousy eat away at your happiness.  Society says, “Don’t be satisfied with what you have got.  Don’t cultivate a feeling of gratitude for these things.”  However, this is your real path to happiness.  Many successful people do this and then realize down the line that while they had stuff, fame, and fortune, they never had time to enjoy it.  They were too busy seeking more of the above and many have found out they were not working for themselves, but others who depended on them.

Do you choose your friends and admirers or do they seek you?  What is the payback?  Some hangers on depend on the fact that you have poor judgment and will take them on and will essentially work for you.  I know a reputable psychic who appears to be compelled to do readings (for which she gets a hefty fee), to support her own church, to keep releasing new books, and to keep up an exhausting schedule of appearances and she is at a point in life where she needs to sit down and smell the roses.  I used to envy her until I realized this.

People have been taught to idolize and sometimes even worship other people and have been encouraged to model themselves after them.  Today they are more often called teachers or mentors.  We all have flaws and the most saintly of us have readily admitted this.  Mother Teresa knew that she wasn’t always perfect and that her life wasn’t always perfect.  Even Jesus on the cross asked that his Father would take this cup from him.  Even if you are not religious, you still may realize that the most famous people, the most powerful people, the ones with the most influence and wealth can’t always have what they want or live the way they want and there is nothing they can do about it.

One of the biggest pleasures in life is to do what you love doing (hopefully making enough money to be able to keep doing this), to have true friends and family around you, and to have a philosophy about life that enables you to keep doing this.  One size does not fit all so wear your own shoes that you have already broken in.

I will take this further at www.mutualspiritualaffinity.com where I am more open about my spiritual beliefs.

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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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Reading Other People’s Minds

English: A simple pizza slicer.

English: A simple pizza slicer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading minds is it an acquired skill?  Don’t get started reading other people’s minds for them; because then they always expect you to do it.  This got started when I tried to avoid other peoples’ drama.  I think my mother taught me how and then she reinforced it by getting upset when I missed the mark.

Here’s an example of having to read minds, someone in my house can’t find a pizza cutter so they use a dull knife.  That person gets upset with me and the utensil drawer and is going to throw half the stuff in there out (someday when they get around to it).  I didn’t find out until later that they had not looked in the silverware drawer where I found it.  (I indiscriminately often use both drawers for such stuff.)  Then he told me that he didn’t want the small cutter which I had found for him and that he wanted the big one.  Needless to say, I had put that one was in the dishwasher when I partially loaded it earlier and which he had just finished loading and had turned on.  Now what is the message?  That I should have finished loading the dishwasher and ran it before he came home? and  taken care of putting the pizza in the oven and then of course, it would have also been my job to cut it and bring it to him.

If I don’t read someone’s mind correctly, is it terrible if I make someone else upset?  Who is going to consider my feelings?  Whenever it is a lost and found situation, it is always my fault and, of course, I should apologize and immediately go find whatever is lost.  The lost thing is not usually not lost when I go to find it.  Help?

I usually lose at reading people’s minds.  How can such a simple problem become such a big thing? Ordinarily I try to go with the flow.  I usually do not make it 100% certain that things should go my way.  It is easier to not make a big fuss, especially if there is
more than one person involved and everyone is jostling for position.
What is this thing about having to be the winner and the winner takes
all.  The other person is not always right; but he or she finds it
difficult to admit it.

 

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Practice Makes Perfect Sense

Bullying

Bullying (Photo credits: www.mysecuritysign.com)

Practice makes perfect unfortunately sometimes.  People continue to think that obsessive preoccupation with playing violent video games is harmless because you don’t actually hurt someone and you get your aggression out.  As long as you fill your mind up with something and frequently rehearse doing it in your head, you will be more likely to do it in real life.  Bullying is like this.  Kids observe other kids doing this and it seems like fun and if you do it to someone else first than you will be less likely to be a victim.  Observation has shown you being a victim of bullying is no fun.  Sometimes it even generates laughter and favorable attention for the bully.  If you can’t beat them join them.  Young victims of sexual abuse may also go on to do it to other children.  Sometimes people go from being the victim to becoming the aggressor.

Practice makes perfect with manners.  Small children easily pick up manners when they have them modeled for them by adults and are encouraged to use them themselves.  “Please,” “Thank you,” and “You are welcome,” are encouraging to hear toddlers using in everyday life and help them to realize that people don’t demand things from others and when you give someone something,  you should do so graciously.  These same children that I have observed in real life are also being taught to share and to say, “I’m sorry,” when it is appropriate.  Initially these things have to be modeled for them and they have to be prompted to do them; but then later they occur spontaneously.  Children can learn to respect the feelings of others and in turn have their feelings respected by others.

practicemakesPractice makes perfect; but be careful what you practice doing.  This is how bad habits are made.  This is easily observable in people who use cuss words.  After so much repetitive use, these words come easily out of the person’s mouth.  Parents often realize this about themselves when they first have a young child who mimics everything they say.

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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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/6209571577/.)

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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Without A Thought, Effortless Living

Coffee table book

Coffee table book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

Can you enjoy, truly enjoy, something without dissecting or analyzing it.  For some mothers breastfeeding is such a moment.  Do you actually look forward to a moment when you are doing a task that is so routine, you don’t even need to think about it.

Lavishly illustrated coffee table books hit the spot for me.  I can do all the looking I want and there is nobody telling me to hurry up or move on.  When I make the occasional excursion out by myself, (if I have time) I make it a point to “window shop” in a new store, one that I haven’t been in yet.  I am very visual.  That’s how I see things.

For some it is a long luxurious hot soak in a bath tub.  For others, it is a shower using all the water you want.  Then you might like to crawl between sheets in a freshly made bed.  Most or all of these seemingly mindless experiences involve the senses and you don’t have to think about them to enjoy them.

You can usually tell what sense the person prefers by the words they use to express themselves such as, “I can see that,” or “Hear me out,” or “How does that make you feel?”

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You Think Too Much

A friend told me, “You think too much.”  Well, I guess maybe I do.  It does kill the spontaneity of the moment.    Maybe it comes from hearing, “What did you do that for?” too much.  Also I am always wondering as I vacillate over making a choice,  if I will regret it later.”  I always have that trouble in restaurants when I am with somebody else. I think that I will wish that I had ordered what the other person did.  That’s why people are always waiting for me to order.

That used to fit the definition of a neurotic.  Someone who’s own behavior bothers them.  A neurotic feels psychological pain about what they are about to do or have done.  Guilt, worry, anxiety, shame are the often worthless emotions that make people miserable without doing anything about the problems they are feeling bad about.  These emotions can make a person stop and think instead of acting which can be good or bad.

As usual, there is a middle way. As impulsive, hedonistic, sometimes even psychopathic people act first, think later.  But you can get so tied up thinking about, “what if’s” that you don’t make a decision and that is a decision in and of itself.  Thus both extreme approaches backfire.

Without Regret

Without Regret (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Doing Those Things Others Can’t Or Won’t Do

Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development

Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a debt of gratitude we owe to those who volunteer to do dangerous things.  It is a huge step in moral development to do this and (I think) a step backwards for those who, not only don’t do it, but also don’t appreciate it when others do it.  First responders are an obvious example.  The military and especially special forces are another.  There are other people that people don’t think about who either live a reduced life style to do the work of helping others and/or perform their jobs in dangerous situations.

What is also astonishing is the amount of preparation some people need in order to do their jobs like these and also that some of these people never complete the training having been washed out after already exerting a great amount of effort.  They don’t even get a chance to be in the limelight ( if there is any ) that others who do not fail are able to share when they graduate.

Some of these jobs unfortunately don’t have prestige associated with them and those that perform these jobs are sometimes even shunned.  These jobs usually involve thankless tasks that no one else will do, but have to be done.  Can you think of any?

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Can You Say Thank You Too

English: Mary Cassatt: Young mother sewing

English: Mary Cassatt: Young mother sewing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you say thank you, along with “I forgive you,” even if it seems to be too late?  Mothers and daughters often have conflicts and daughters often take things for granted that they shouldn’t have.  I went through a stage as an adult criticizing my mom for how she raised me and complaining about the troubles that it had caused me.  No, I was not brave enough to say it to her face.

Then I went through a stage where I forgave her having learned that nobody is perfect and that she did what she knew how to do at the time.  No one is ready to be a parent when they become one.  Some just think they are ready.  I didn’t complain about my dad’s parenting because he was always at work or asleep.  That was the beginning of the realization that I had to forgive her or wear it forever like an albatross around my neck.

Then I started thinking about the things she did as a mother that helped make my childhood happy.  She was always a ro0m mother.  She celebrated and decorated for every holiday and I had Halloween and birthday parties.  Families were always important and you visited often and helped each other out.  My father believed that too.  Children were a gift from God and they made sure I had a religious education.

Recently I was thinking about things they had done for me that I hadn’t thanked them for at the time.  I was an ungrateful kid.  I did not thank them for the effort they made to take me to girls scouts and 4-H, the county and state fairs, and other school activities like choir, band, school gym shows, and plays.  I also was a cheerleader in 8th grade.  The biggest thing that I overlooked is that they put me through college at a private school and then helped supplement my grants in graduate school.  Of course, I earned scholarships and even worked a little; but I couldn’t have done it without them.  I couldn’t forget that when I was in college that I got $5 cash in a letter each week for extras like Sunday night supper which they didn’t offer in the dorm.  I am sure they did without.

Have you forgotten to thank somebody and now it is too late?  Have you focused on the problems in your relationship and not the things that they did for you anyway?

 

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Freedom From What?

Over the last several years, I have experienced freedom in several areas of my life.  In some cases I did not know that I was not free.  Free from annoying habits, extra weight, using a walker.  It all came as a surprise to me a few months ago although it had been building up for most of my adult life.

I “know” things better.  I am more observant.  I notice things that I used to miss.  I “see” things in life from a different point of view.  The great communication explosion has  helped me to do this by giving me the knowledge and experiences necessary for change.  If you are frightened of changing, you limit yourself to the tried and true but do not embrace the new.

How I used to think of things led me to be unhappy. I realized that I carried these habits and beliefs around like ancient, heavy luggage:  what made me mad; what would make me cry; what I needed, but didn’t have to make me happy.  It was like I was keeping score and things added up and made me miserable.

It is like I have a fresh clean slate and I can erase anything that I write on it that does not work for me.  Happiness is a state of mind when you are free from negativity.  Just because negativity is thrown towards you, you don’t have to hang onto it or throw it back.  Where possible let it go; act like you have an invisible Teflon shield.  You will move a lot easier in this world.  It happened to me.

 

 

luggage

luggage (Photo credit: sleepydisco)

 

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