Archives for August 2014

31Aug

Only Get Mad Once

Don’t get mad about the same thing, or the same incident more than once.  Sometimes, it’s hard not to get mad a second time.  If you get mad a third time, you are truly wasting energy, and mostly, you are wasting precious life energy.

So often, the brain wants to replay the offending incidents or conversations over and over again.  Sometimes, these replays are truly damaging because they can bring about the same emotions and reactions again.  To replay them is to indulge the pain of the original moment.

Take care of yourself by moving on.  Get past the original moment; get past the original emotion.  When you are having trouble doing this, tell yourself that what you need is the future, not the past.  The best way to get to that future is by leaving the weight of the past behind you.  This may be difficult to do.  You may not be able to banish your specific nightmare easily – and yet that does not mean that it cannot be done.  Redirect your mind to the task at hand.  Be stern with yourself, as stern as you would be with a recalcitrant child.  Once you have completed the task with one incident, do not allow that event to crowd your consciousness again.  Go on to the next event or incident and follow the same thinking technique.

Your entire way of thinking may have to change.  You may identify yourself so strongly with your past and those wretched events that happened to you, that you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of changing.  If you do, you may have to go slowly, be aware that your brain may try to sway you into not changing.  It is up to you.  Decide to go forward, or not.

26Aug

Face the Situation AND Maintain Yourself

In life, we may find ourselves in punishing situations. These can range from having a bad job, living in a hostile environment, going through basic training and even more severe situations that threaten our well-being. Worse, we may not be able to immediately navigate away from these situations. We may have to endure them for a period of time.

While people may treat you rudely (translate, “I don’t like you”) or dismissively (translate, “I don’t respect you”), you must do everything you can to maintain your dignity and self-respect.

Tell yourself : “others’ may not perceive my talents, but I know that I am a great person.” There have been times when I have actually said to myself “my mother loves me, ha.” I would say this to keep myself from getting discouraged. This is an exercise that you can do easily, and you must do this exercise every time that someone has treated you badly. Tell yourself the opposite of whatever perceived insult you have endured.

People may treat you poorly, but that is no reason to feel worthless or have low self esteem. Human beings are fantastic creatures with resilience and great capacities for love. If you need it, point the love to yourself.

23Aug

Stupendous Mistakes

Require profuse apologies.

22Aug

“A Good Person”

Also, I just wanted to say that people say this:

You hear people say this phrase all the time. “Oh he messed up, but he’s a good person.”
only because they don’t want to be “gossipy” or they don’t want to sound negative. As soon as someone says “he is a good person, but” I know there is something bad coming. If someone is messed up, they are messed up and that is what is happening right now, so what if underneath they are really a good person, I say, so what?
Good means the positives are way better than the negatives, it also means: no purposeful harm. If you spit in your boss’s coffee pot, you are not a good person, you are a person who thinks that being upset allows you to cause harm to others, that is not a good way to think.
17Aug

Using Parental Love to do Good for You

My father used his father’s love to quit smoking.  My parents lived in the time of everyone smoking in order to be sophisticated.  His parents never approved of his smoking and always urged him to stop.  When my father was 52 (1977) and divorced from my mom, his father took him out on his boat into Sarasota Bay.  My father’s father brought a bottle of whiskey and couple of pounds of cheddar cheese.  My father stayed out there on Sarasota Bay for three days.  His father said, “every time you want a cigarette, go take a bite of cheese and a sip of whiskey.”   When they stepped back onto the dock, his father said to him “don’t ever pick a cigarette up again.”

That three day trip onto the water was what my father needed to quit smoking.  He clearly remembered and spoke of how much his father loved him.  My father wanted me to stop smoking, but he never preached or proselytized about it.  He thought that I would get around to quitting.  I devised a way to keep people from preaching to me about smoking.  I told everyone that I would quit when I turned 52, just like my father did.

In the meantime, my mother passed away when she was 67, her final heart attack was in the intensive care unit and the hospital staff tried very hard to save her.  My father, who was 70, steadfastly supported us through our heartbreak.  Daddy lived on and did not pass away until he was 82.  I always thought that we got those extra 15 years from dad because he quit smoking and mom did not.

Inevitably, I turned 52.  I’ll tell you, I was shocked when I did.  I did not realize that getting older would happen to me!  It put me in mind of something my dad had told me years ago.  My father said that he was looking in the mirror and he couldn’t believe that he had aged.  He said that inside, he felt no different, he was still the same person that he had always been and it was a mystery to him, how his body kept changing.

I used the love of my father to make the final commitment to quit smoking after 30 years of smoking.  I chose to quit smoking by midnight the day before my 52nd birthday.  Luckily, I had the love of my (now) husband to keep me on course and to get me through those first 3 days and then beyond.

Later, I chose an elaborate talisman to bring magic to my decision.  I am left handed, which I believe came from my mother.  When my mother was a child, she began her life left handed, but the said the nuns would slap her hand and tell her it was the work of the devil to be left handed.  She learned, the hard way, to be right handed.  It was symbolic of her times that her natural state was punished and she was force-formed into something that she was not.  I love my mother deeply and mourned her loss endlessly.  I had my mother’s birth initials tatooed on my left wrist.  I reasoned that I wanted the extra 15 years of life that my father got and I hoped that by seeing my mother’s initials on the wrist of my left hand – the hand I used to smoke cigarettes – I would always remind myself that I really want that extra 15 years of life.

13Aug

I’m Pretty Sure this is Plagiarized from Somewhere:

Don’t “give” advice, it makes people want to return the favor.

06Aug

Anger, A Condition

I spoke softly, so as to get my point across. I had lost others to anger and did not like the idea of my own child becoming foreign to me. If I am afraid to speak with someone because I believe their anger will attack me, then I end up avoiding that person. I will go miles out of my way to stay away from that person. The relationship ends because I cannot endure being relentlessly attacked over and over again.

In the case of my sister, her attacks were of me, but not me. She railed against everyone and everything. She felt victimized by the “system”, and struck out blindly at each and every one who was around her. She ended up becoming her anger. I lost her somewhere in the nineties, I couldn’t cope with her relentless wrath.

So, I said “anger can be un-chosen”. She answered, “but, there are reasons for my anger, people take advantage of me”. I persisted, “you can decide that anything does or does not make you angry.” I wanted her to understand that the choice lies in the mind, not outside of self with the other person’s behavior. The choice to be angry is always our own choice. We can say to ourselves “stop, no more anger right now!” In the case of my sister, anger is still the chronicle of her life, yet her example is not the only type of anger gone awry, sometimes anger goes underground. This is the insidious type; I much prefer the loud type of anger to this type of anger. If you are angry with me, please say so, don’t sabotage me for a later discovery. In either case, the relationship gets destroyed. Anger and the fear of retribution becomes the focus of relating. That is the kind of relationship that I must run from. Sometimes, we must relinquish entire relationships to save ourselves.

I have a note on an index card that I keep with me and read daily: I promise not to get angry about personality failures. I promise not to get angry about mechanical and electronic failures; my inconvenience is not worth a heart attack.

In regards to our conversation; I fervently want to have this relationship. I also want this relationship to be healthy. I fear that we stand on a precipice where anger is not an emotion, but instead is a condition. When the anger becomes the condition, the life becomes a series of reasons to be hurt and angry. How difficult that is!

Please, please step back from that precipice.

04Aug

Cruel Behavior, How do we Stop it? First, Stop Denying…

As a young woman, I was very serious and very smart. Humanity mystified me, but I believed that everyone was basically good hearted and if not, at least trying their best to be good. In the way of human beings, I had not one clue. I had no understanding of the culture of drugs, alcohol and sex. I went to work, I went to school, I took care of my children. I briefly drank some and once was even drunk and driving. That only happened one time because it scared me silly.

Now that I am older and my kids are adults, I am much more capable of seeing people around me and understanding behavior. Ridiculously, all of my life I believed that cruelty was an aberration and that all stories had a somewhat positive ending. Why? Because people really do try to do the right thing… how ignorant I feel now.

It has been a compelling journey.

So I had experience with people being nasty and mean. I saw angry people treat others badly, but I had always categorized them as the disenfranchised, people less fortunate than others, who had been mistreated by civil brutality. What I did not have experience with and understanding of was cruelty, anger and hatred for its own sake, expressed out of meanness rather than misfortune. This kind of meanness comes from selfishness and greed and has nothing to do with lashing back at others, but rather was a means to a specific and self-centered end.

Even then, when I experienced it, I believed it to be an anomaly. I had no idea that yes, in fact, half of human beings are capable of being cruel for their own selfish sakes. Many have documented that our minds are capable of great story telling (i.e. rationalization and justification) and I know this to be correct. Stories abound that explain every bit of human behavior.

I want to believe that now that we know these things, for example that our ‘brains can justify anything’, that we would also take a chance at openness and listening so that we could be sure that our justifications were not in the service of harming ‘someone else’. In other words, how do we put a check on cruel behavior? Indeed, how do we?

01Aug

Marcus Sakey, On Personality

“Cooper had a theory about personality.  Most people considered personality to be a singular identity.  Malleable, sure, but essentially cohesive.  But he tended to see people as more of a chorus.  Every stage in life added a voice to that chorus.  The different iterations of himself – lonely military brat, cocky teenager, faithful soldier, young husband, dedicated father, relentless hunter – they all existed within him.  When he saw a ten-year-old girl, there was a ten-year-old boy inside him that thought she was pretty.  Just one voice in a chorus of dozens, which was what marked the difference between healthy people and broken ones; in the broken ones, the inappropriate voices held an inappropriate number of spaces.”

An excerpt from the Brilliance saga.

01Aug

Striving Makes you Sharper, Leaner and More Polite