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Sometimes You Have To Let Something Go To Make Room For Something New To Come In

rp_300px-Sabbatical_titlescreen.jpgAs you can see I am taking a sabatical this fall.  I have no classes to teach this fall which means it will be a squeeze financially but I will have more time to devote to writing for this website, more time to babysit grandchildren (which is a mixed blessing), more time to meditate in several different ways, and more time to pursue my own personal growth.

While I was teaching this summer (and taking an art class myself), I was feeling stressed out and at times it made me physically ill.  Do you think that as a psychologist I should have known better than that?  Maybe.  But I just know from past experiences that it is a sign that I should take heed of and do something about.

It took time and money out of my pocket in order to teach even though I have been enjoying it and growing a lot doing it.  Yes, I was paid but as a part-time instructor and only for what classes I taught each semester.  This summer I made an hour round trip trip to town four days a week for two months spending the whole day there two days a week.rp_300px-New_Life_Ranch_Sign.jpg

I will take two road trips this fall to see the evangelist Joyce Meyer and attend the homecoming celebration of my undergraduate college in honor of my class’s 50th anniversary.  I will be doing this on a shoestring; but I am not going to miss these chances to do something I want to do which only comes along once in a blue moon.

I have already gotten one surprise phone call offering me some financial help for one of my upcoming seminars after it was decided that I was not going to teach this fall. I also have recently found some books that answer questions I have been asking, but did not get the answers for that I have been gobbling up.

Yesterday, I caught up on some of my sleep and decided to do nothing that I didn’t have to do.  I missed one of my regular salesmen while I slept in the afternoon and I did not check on most of the things that I am checking on today and I did not turn my computer on.

I am growing.  I intend to explore new and old things that I have not gotten around to doing recently.

Positive Attitudes, Winner or Loser

not who you are 344Why are we so afraid to create positive expectations of future situations?  We are afraid that if we do this we will be badly disappointed when it doesn’t work out.

Have you ever played pretend and created exactly what you wanted in every detail?  You probably did so as a child when you were only limited by your imagination.  I used to think that the president and his or her family had access to every thing a person could want and many things that ordinary people, even rich people, didn’t have yet.  They had color TVs in my child’s mind before they were even invented.

For example, my best friend and I created beautiful ballgowns in our heads that we could really see.  Daydreaming, you say just daydreaming….  Did the candy taste just as sweet if only in our imaginations and everything starts with an idea before it becomes a reality.

Your frame of mind can influence your outcome.  How do you act if you know you will get something?  How do you act if you are sure you won’t get something as things are unfair and no matter how good you are you don’t have a chance!

 

 

Feeling Beat Down And Worn Out?

Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke.  Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions  and/or wishes of those being put down.  The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.

Anger Is Often Used To Control

Anger Controls People

Nagging can result from such interactions.  If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument.  Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.

Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope.  Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.

Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is.  Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer.  Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are.  Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You

For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types.  Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences.  For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”).  However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.

It often boils down to a whole issue of control.  If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like.  In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.

Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship.  The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”.  This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.

 

 

Have You Been Brainwashed As A Child To Not Notice Certain Things?

Have you been brainwashed as a child?

Have you been brainwashed as a child?

Have You Been Brain Washed As A Child?

It is likely that you have.

In order to understand our world, we quickly accept our parents and others views of the world and begin to reject or deny those things that don’t fit these preconceived notions.  How much evidence from our own senses do we reject in order to fit in?  Researchers have found that sounds not used in our native language atrophy  if we don’t use them.  How many other things atrophy from disuse.  Our caregivers teach us what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to and thus, limiting what we take in in terms of our senses (normal vs. paranormal?).  Yes, if some limiting does not get done, a child will be confused by all the input coming from his or her senses and his or her ability to pay attention will be impaired.

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgFor example, still today professionals in my field, psychology, deny that children see monsters in their rooms when they try to go to sleep and give advice to parents that they should reassure their children, when this happens, that this is not so, and not to  encourage them to make a big deal of it.  This can make children doubt their senses and this can be seen as a form of manipulation.

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When Things Are Black And White

Recently I have discovered that this is not true.  Things do look different in a darkened bedroom with only a little light from a night light or from the hall through a barely open door.  Our pupils dilate in these circumstance and we can see more with less light.  True, it is the multitude of  black and white sensors (which are called rods) in the retina that perceive this as they are the most sensitive in this type of situation of low light.  Also their accuracy in perceiving things is only fair unlike that of the cones which are not operating. Cones perceive things in bright light and do so with a lot more accuracy than the rods which take over and dominate when there is not much light.  Part of the reason for this is that there are more rods than cones.

Sweet Dreams?

Sweet Dreams?

I’ve tried this out in my bedroom in the middle of the night and things don’t look the same as they do when the room is well lite.  I often initially have difficulty figuring out what things are, even familiar things like my spouse laying besides me.  I am an adult and I know that this is happening.   What about about a child who naturally sees things differently when the light is dim and he or she may see formless shapes that don’t look familiar and is scared.  A parent denying that this happens doesn’t make it go away and further more it doesn’t change what and how children see in their dimly lite bedrooms.  It just encourages them to deny that what is really happening is true.

When Is Reassurance Necessary?

When Is Reassurance Necessary?

Often the child learns that asking for reassurance doesn’t work.  It just teaches them to keep it to themselves and to be afraid of the dark like I was as a child.  The only time I could sleep comfortably is when there was another person staying in the room with me or when I had a low wattage light nearby where I could see it.  This fear can spread farther if parents’ continue to tell children to deny what they see and how it makes them feel.

Can You "See" What he is feeling?

Can You “See” What he is feeling?

For awhile there was a lot of research on the “double bind”and how it was often found in families of schizophrenics (which is a serious mental illness) and their ability to think and reason is also often impaired.  A family member would say one thing when he or she  obviously looked like and or sounded like he or she meant something else.  For example, by holding a small child at arm’s length and saying, “I love you.”  Sometimes adults’ think that they are being polite when they do this and often people are trained to not “see” this or if they do, to not comment on it.  This can completely mix up a child’s brain.   He or she can not be confident that what they are seeing and/or hearing  is what they are actually seeing or hearing.

A Perplexed Child

A Perplexed Child

Genuineness can become a rare commodity if this is constantly done.  The child’s gut feels one thing when he or she is told that the person with them is not feeling that way.  Lately people have been told to trust their intuition or instincts more.  So many people have shut off that “still small voice” so often that they don’t hear it anymore.  How often have we been taught not only what to think, but also what to feel.  Does the word “propaganda” sound familiar?  It starts when parents are uncomfortable with children who see and feel things  like they really are and that is not what the parent wants the child to see and hear.  This makes them uncomfortable because they don’t want a child to feel or think that way for some reason.  What is the difference, if any, between this and outright deliberate lying?rp_Feelings.jpg

We naturally are able to perceive many different things and people find it easier to deny this ability in others so they can control them, not only what they do, but also what they think.  We are not a bunch of sheep who must be herded in the direction that the “shepherd” wants us to go for his or her own convenience or nefarious ends.

How often have we heard the response, “No, I am not angry,” when a person obviously is.  Lying is often a convenient thing to do.  It aids in the manipulation of others and has almost become a way of life for many if not all people.  In this society we continually put people down and this most often happens after we have encouraged someone to tell the truth.

rp_Is-Status-More-Important-Label-LB-1981.gifDon’t put people down.  There are enough people doing it already.  Bring them up instead.  No wonder we are so sensitive.  Sometimes I feel that I should be wearing a suit of armor.  This is often done in childhood when it is most easily done.  Children are innocent and don’t realize what is being done to them.    Do people put other people down just so they can bring themselves up?  Sounds phony doesn’t it?

What do you think?  Continuing to explore this issue, was your childhood family motto:”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?”  More on this in a future post.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes It Is Hard To Be Me

rp_Truman_pass-the-buck.jpgSometimes it’s hard to be me.”  Do you ever think that especially after a hard day when you feel like you really got nothing done and several things have gone wrong?  I tried that out on some people the other day and they had to agree with it.

If you challenge yourself frequently to meet up to certain standards and set yourself multiple goals as well as take on too many responsibilities, you might feel that way.

rp_Anxiety.gifFrequently I suggested to people I saw for counseling that they set more manageable goals on which they could be better able to focus.  Simply the plan is to either to set a time limit on how long you are going to work on a given problem and then go on to something else or to determine what part of the problem you are going to work on and finish before going on to something else.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by not changing your goals when and if you realize that it is not possible to meet them on a certain day.  Everybody needs to experience a certain level of accomplishment and don’t be too hard on yourself if you realize that you haven’t set reasonable goals.

"Let me see here,"

“Let me see here,”

For example when I studied for my licensing exam as a psychologist, I set my self a certain number of pages to cover a day during the week and if I reached that goal, I did not have to cover any pages on the weekend to make up for what I didn’t get done during the week.  Also I was just starting to juggle my new role as farm wife with that of fledgling psychologist.

Also don’t forget to say to yourself (when this is going on), “Take good care of yourself.  You belong to me.”  You get that?  This is “you” saying it to “you”!rp_300px-Sweet-dreams-dreaming-of-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarves.jpg

 

 

Procrastination Is Making You Wait…

rp_4266893491_71b4f4f722_m.jpgProcrastination often occurs because of the fear of failure or doing something wrong.  You can never get something done right or learn something that you don’t know how to do without going ahead and trying.  Some people avoid doing something because they would rather do something else like nothing.  I have had jobs where at times I had to be at work and had nothing to do but I had to stay there.

I often spend more time avoiding something than it might actually take to do it and then either fail or succeed.  What would happen if you did something when you saw it and/or thought of it?   Might you save time and energy and/or actually learn something about something you are afraid to do for various reasons.  A coward dies many deaths, but a hero dies but once.

rp_4612035503_13ffb333f8_m.jpgHow much clutter do you accumulate because of the fear of throwing something away and needing it later however so slight.  In the long run would it be cheaper in terms of time and energy to redo or replace something or hunt the information you didn’t save up again on the internet.  I got a bargain individual serving coffee maker that did not have the instructions and it really was no problem as I found them on the internet and printed them out?

I have always heard that if you live in New York City where rents are extremely high and space is extremely limited that you have to learn to do this and that people who have amassed collections of stuff over the years sometimes feel relieved when they no longer have to keep track of them and or maintain them.

rp_8182308742_11e245507e_m.jpgAnother problem is the “I can’t” response.  Have you ever really tried and at the same time remembered that other people have been able to do it and they had to learn sometime.  It also improves your self-concept and makes you less dependent on others.

Either farm the job out on a regular schedule like most people do that with their trash or do without.  For example get a duvet and a duvet cover which is washable to replace your top sheet and blanket and simplify a bed making job and/or wait until just before you go to bed to straighten the bed up and now you won’t need the bedspread and fancy extra throw pillows.  Whoever thought a bed had to be dressed up and often didn’t kings and emperors hold court from their beds and I guarantee that their beds weren’t made when they did that.

Aim too highI once solved a patient’s problem with organizing and submitting paperwork so he could get what would amount to a very substantial amount of money refunded when he got all done.  I gave the patient a time limit to get it done in and if he didn’t meet the time limit he would have to agree to throw all the paper that he had saved away so he wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Sometimes we take more time ensuring that we not do something than it would actually take to do it.  We sometimes are so busy ruminating about something that we don’t realize this until it is too late.  One thing I am doing is fixing up a standard card table to use only for the current  paperwork that I am doing and it is removed from the TV and the the refrigerator and the company of any human beings (haven’t pledged yet to keep my pets out as the cat likes to sleep in the middle of my paperwork and/or stand in front of my computer screen and paw at it.  He can no longer sleep on top of the monitor (because it was warm) as it is now a flat screen.  No, I don’t know why he does this?

aim at nothingSomewhere we learn early on to drag our feet this way to get out of doing something (going to bed?).  As I have said in another recent post, some people spend more time in the workplace avoiding work than working.  I don’t know how or why they get paid for this?  At least when I do this, I am usually only cheating myself.  Now when you think of it, it seems awfully stupid when we take these things into consideration.the-greatest-barrier-in-success-is-the-fear-of-failure

Should You Judge A Book By Its Cover? What Do You Think Is More Important? Looks? Or Personality??

Drp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifo you realize we learn to like certain skin colors, hair types, body shapes, heights, and to discriminate between them.  To me, my mommy was beautiful and my grandmas were a “sight for my sore eyes,”  although they were older and heavier than my mother.  My BFF, who I met in first grade, was not judged by me on the basis of her physical size but on how much fun we had when we were together.  I had a cousin the same age as I was and I often got hand me downs from her as she (although my age) was “bigger” than me.  We have to be taught to see these differences as significant.  The standards of beauty and handsomeness can vary quite strikingly from culture to culture and have you looked at wedding pictures and seen that there is a man for every woman and a woman for every man.

I was having a discussion with my daughter-in-law and discovered that an actress that I considered to be no beauty was considered very attractive by my daughter-in-law.  Also men and women focus on different parts of the anatomy when they try to decide if a woman is beautiful and/or and a man is a potential  “chick magnet.”  Haven’t you ever heard a discussion about what physically attracts a man to a woman: her boobs, her butt, her legs, her hair color, or whatever.

Remember the saying, “Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses.”  Doesn’t seem to face-partsmatter now.  It used to be what attracted a woman to a man was his profession or his ability to be able to support her in the style she was or would like to become accustomed to.   At mid-life or latter some men look for a younger woman sometimes even young enough to be their daughter.  Then there women who are “cougars” and seek younger men.  Ever hear the terms, “sugar daddy”or “trophy wife”?

There is one particular cable news channel that is often on at my house and one of the recurring “experts” I became acquainted with was so ugly, I didn’t like to look at him; however he was very knowledgeable and had a very credible life history to support his road to being this “expert.”  All of a sudden one day as I was listening to him, I realized he no longer was bad looking to me.  His looks didn’t change but my attitude toward them had.

rp_5798468679_59ea50286a_m.jpgI came to realize that I had been selling other people short when I concentrated on their looks instead of their personality, knowledge, and abilities.  I also I noticed I was selling myself short too when I dressed to impress and probably could not afford it instead of wearing something flattering and comfortable so I could be comfortable being me.  I don’t mean that looks don’t count.  You can go too far in this direction to the point of being offensive.

I had planned to post on the fact that the cable news channel had only impossibly beautiful women in at least distracting (if not very conservative) clothes, dangerously high heels, high maintenance hairstyles, and glamorous makeup that required that these women show up early for work in order to attain this look.  Also of course, the men who had the same jobs were often not necessarily tall, athletic, and youthful and wore more comfortable, less revealing, clothes.  I then realized I was judging these women on how they looked but in a negative way.  They didn’t deserve that either.  They invested a lot of time and money into looking the way they did and should not be judged for trying so hard.

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

How Easily Intimidated Are You?

taking-advice-badgeDo you do what is right even if other people will think it is wrong?  Will you do what other people think is wrong when you know it is right?  How easily intimidated are you?

How well do you stand up for yourself or others when this happens?  Are you easily shamed or guilted into doing something that makes you personally uncomfortable  even at your own personal expense.  When the rolis called up yonder and you go before the ultimate judge (yourself) how will you fare?  How many things will you have missed out on?   How many chances will you have passed by to do what you knew was the right thing but didn’t have enough courage to do?

What will you have sacrificed to make others happy by letting them get away with abusing your time trying to convince you that they are right when you know they are wrong.  Giving up being joyful and happy so that others who will never learn anything the hard way can escape the consequences of their behavior.  Do you sometimes feel life is a drag especially when you go along with other peoples’ preferences instead of your own especially if those choices will make you uncomfortable and continue to suck the joy out of your life.11478115084_52613dd791_z

Worse yet you go against your own internal moral code in order to conform to societies expectations and generalizations about “correct” behavior that could be be and might be applied to your behavior.  Are you willing to be punished for doing something you know is really “right” even if it goes against the codes of  others?

How independent are your standards both for yourself and others.  Are you willing to spend time with someone who is boring but doesn’t know it because other people often let him or her get away with it.  Would you spend time with someone who has few friends but who would appreciate getting your time or do you follow the crowd and do the same old thing that you do every time you go out instead?  What does your intuition say you should do?