07Dec

Respect Your Past

The PathBut it doesn’t define you.  A great psychologist once said that “if you don’t like your childhood, then re-invent it.”  It is part of you and yet, the emphasis is up to you.  You can give power to any part of your past that you want to.  Do you want to remember the embarrassment of your mother’s harsh words or do you want to remember what your mother gave to you?  Do you want to remember the teacher who treated you badly in grade school, or do you want to remember the pride you felt when you earned a B in Math?  All are true, but which will characterize you?

The more you tell yourself you have suffered, then the more you have suffered.  What you tell yourself becomes your truth.  In this brave new world, where we are scrambling to understand our higher and better selves, we are prone to an over emphasis on psycho-analysis.  Both psycho-analysis and behavior modification work when you want a change, but behavior modification skips over the emphasis of what went wrong to you in your past.  We have all suffered, some of it awful and traumatic, all of it traumatic, yet we cannot compare a sports injury to a rape, we cannot, one induces much more trauma than the other.

I don’t suggest that we have no need to work through our very own trauma, I suggest that we move through our traumas, not into our traumas.  That may take a long time.  We must be aware of the time that we spend there.  Is the time we are spending inside of our past traumas, damaging the life we have available now?  Are the past traumas causing belief structures that damage us, for example, does the rape victim say to herself “what’s wrong with me?  I don’t matter.”?   Does the child bullied live in fear for years?  If this is happening to you or to one that you love, how do you empathize and encourage, either your loved one or yourself?  How do you make it across the divide of great sadness to being ready to move on with this life?

The way to moving forward is not to be in the past, reliving it and psycho-analyzing it.  Work through the past, yes, yet use behavior modification at its best.  Decide to make things different for yourself and reward your different ~ every step of the way.

Give yourself the very best childhood that you can recall and then move proudly and confidently into the very best future that you can build.

29Nov

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia

Finding Myself after Fibromyalgia
It was so gradual, it was like a pine tree growing, you could not see how it grew from day to day, but you noticed at different intervals that growth had occurred.
The most intense emotion that I remember feeling was the fear. I had no idea what was wrong. There were so many symptoms. I want to say the first really scary symptom was my stomach. I began to feel discomfort on a daily basis. It seemed like no matter what I ate there was no getting away with anything because my stomach was going to hurt. I was constantly nauseated. I finally ended up in the emergency room and from there to the gastroenterologist. It was a journey of fear and doubt. Was my body betraying me, was I finally getting old, did I deserve a terminal diagnosis?
During this time my body aches are getting worse and worse. Most of the time the pain is chronic, but often it would become acute. I remember talking with the orthopaedic doctor and being told that there was nothing that could be done about the pain in my hand. He gave me a horrid cream to measure and then rub on twice daily. I found no relief and was nauseated by the smell. When I went to the follow up appointment, he announced that the cream had no smell.
The usual pain in my neck, knee and lower back came and went, but mostly came. I began to feel all kinds of pain more acutely; a small bump became a debilitating incident. I remember crying over a small injury and being mystified by the level of pain.
Again, it was the fear that was the most exhausting. What is wrong with me, why am I hurting so often, why am I tired, why is it difficult to move around after a lot of activity?
After an endoscopy, I found out that the amount of ibuprofen I was taking was burning holes in my stomach. I had lots of painful ulcers and a hiatal hernia. I was elated to learn: no celiac disease and no h. pylori. However, ibuprofen was the only magic to work fighting my pain.
From my hand, to my neck, to my back and my knee, everything was measurably worse. The new hand doctor started with cortisone shots, he was somewhat cruel in the application so that doctor did not last long. In the meantime, I had to go to a different doctor for the rest of my body. This was a daunting task. No pain relief and now my chores and errands have doubled. I had to have x-rays and MRIs and all sorts of other evaluations and sometimes the doctors themselves became the problem (like the cruel one).
The medication to help cure my ulcers was an unfortunate mix of help and hindrance. While the medication reduced acid in my stomach and my unrelenting nausea was slowly receding, my body became unable to properly absorb necessary nutrients: an old diagnosis of anemia reared its ugly head again.
Months and months go by and it seems endless, I find a pain management doctor who performs several procedures. Her choice of medication for me makes me faint and dizzy, so once again I am without even a hint of pain relief. Lying down on the bed becomes agonizing as the muscles refuse to respond to pain relief. The procedures help, but cortisone is dangerous to the body.
Now I have to change my primary care doctor, the new medications confuse my hormones and now, my thyroid is not operating correctly (again). Does the madness ever end? Then I remember that I am basically okay. I can still work, see, feel and hear. I am not able to walk as much anymore, but I AM STILL WALKING. No more sissy-baby for me, I had to get myself through it.
Eventually, the right medication begins to work. It takes months to get the correct dosage and finally, I feel as if I can maintain. It’s been over a year since that trip to the emergency room. I am finally at the point that I understand the disease and I have accepted it. My fear has somewhat abated. I am not looking for the worst anymore. Fibromyalgia has become manageable.
Several people have blamed the fibromyalgia diagnosis on stress and over extension of my energy. I don’t know how it started, but I sure wish I knew how to make it end.

While I was in it, I wasn’t me.  I wasn’t the person that I used to be, I’m still not that person.  Reconciling the new me with the old has been a difficult task.  I judged that old me as better, after all, she was younger, prettier and she had more energy.  I know that who I am now is good and good enough, broken and bent do not mean spent.

17Jul

Dishonesty

Unknown author

Unknown author

For the first time since I started this blog, I am materially aware that I have an audience.  It has stopped me from writing.  I have been through a painful experience which made me leave my job.  I have been grappling with such issues as self control, my ability to modify my environment and the effects that another person can have on me.  In some ways my experience has been at odds with my belief system, which has caused a cognitive dissonance.  As you can imagine, I have been struggling.  This does not cause me to write less.  Indeed if you know me, it actually causes me to write more.

What has caused me to write less, is this awareness of my audience and the fear that my life would be negatively effected by my work here on the blog.  There is nothing more anxiety producing than losing one’s income.  I am not willing to be a starving artist, I have too much going on in my life to stop the train for the sake of my own written word.  Trust me, I have saved the words.

Some things that have caused me concern is the idea that my old boss, who is vindictive and mean spirited, would work hard to block my efforts to find new employment.  Another concern is that, a person interviewing me (with hiring authority) would turn out to be a Trump lover.  Based on experience, I know that these things can be real and I want to avoid the effect of someone’s negative feelings on my future.

Today, I read some research about why we want to believe that the universe is just and that things happen to people because they deserve it.  It’s far easier for us to believe that the universe will treat us right if we act right.  We can then believe that we have some control over life.  We can believe that people get what they deserve, even when there is an injustice.  I have known that this is not true for many years.  The universe is full of injustice and apathy and even evil.  We humans do not have control over the universe.  We are subject to life.

Which is why, in order to thrive, we must sometimes resort to dishonesty.  I have dishonestly withheld my truth from this blog, in order to create a transition as painless as possible.  My feelings had endured enough pain and I would not be my own perpetrator.

I have been dishonest with my blog, and I hope you will forgive the lapse.  It was intentional and it is over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.

 

23Jan

From May 21,2010

Being open is fearful stuff.  Anticipation, hope and desire swirl around the edges.  Being open allows “knowing” in.  Some times “knowing” is unpleasant, hurtful, painful.  Being open requires faith.  Faith waxes and wanes like the moon.  Life is all of it…

18Aug

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

I can only conjecture why people ‘play games’, I don’t understand it and I can’t identify with it.  I don’t remember ever playing head games.

According to Wikipedia it is “Psychological one-upmanship” and this definition surely describes what I see.

In the work world, we have this activity called training.  Training is a way to get the job done and to get new staff up to speed quickly.  It is an extremely beneficial activity because it instills confidence and creates efficiency.  However, at some levels in the corporation, training becomes a competition, something to prove a point.  From an external observation point withholding knowledge seems ridiculous for a number of reasons:  The first reason is that often, the perpetrator believes that s/he is proving a point about another’s intelligence or lack thereof.  This is never the case, because even if it proves difficult for the new person to complete a task unaided by support, no one ever views it the way the perpetrator wishes it to be viewed.

Sometimes this one-up-man-ship is just for self-gratification.  The person with knowledge enjoys knowing something that others do not know.  Watching others look for the information is a way to demonstrate one’s self superiority over others.

What I find most amazing about this withholding of knowledge is that, knowledge does not prove anything about intellect at all.  Knowledge, in no way, demonstrates critical thinking skills, or reasoning abilities.  Knowledge is just knowing something and something always changes over time.  This perpetrator works hard to prove how smart she is and instead proves that her intellect is lacking.  While knowledge may be power, strength is in numbers.  Sharing knowledge is the only fool proof way to maintain knowledge.

The other type of mind game is the one where I pretend to know it all and won’t consider that anyone else is correct.  From an external observation point, this is an extremely difficult stance to maintain.  Many, many people work hard to maintain a know-it-all stance.  From what I have seen and observed, the difficulty lies in the need to ignore information to the contrary of this belief “I know it all.”   This person will tell everyone how to do the chore, when the chore does not work out or the instructions prove incorrect, this person must find a reason that proves that their instructions were above reproach and must have been either misunderstood or perhaps not followed.  It is difficult to ignore all of the information that tells them that there was a mistake, but even more difficult is the need to convince others that their eyes deceive them.  Instead of the “customer is always right”, the mantra is that “the boss is always right”.  Or, in the absence of being the actual boss, just the person with a forceful personality.

As for the forceful personality: when it comes to discussing things with this person, there will be no discussion.  If in fact, you do not agree with the point of view that they favor, insults will start.  The conversation becomes harsh and ugly, because this is the behavioral fallback position of the bully (think Trump).  Again, mind games, head games and one-up-man-ship are the rules of the discussion.

I normally do not write an article about a person, it is always a conglomeration of events that keep happening that I have a need to describe.  Usually I describe to understand.  And so it is with this discussion, just a need to understand.

05Aug

Love and Faith

The very best gifts that you can give to yourself are love and faith.  Do it.  It’s important.  You can have some of mine if you need it.  Take love and faith from me, I will give it to you.  In the end though, you must give it to yourself.

21May

If it isn’t “a thing”

Then why bring it up?  Why mention it?  Why talk about it?  To bring it up in heated denial makes it “a thing”.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a quotation from the 1599/1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone’s too frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive, and insincere.   Wikipedia

28Apr

Do You Ever Get Uncomfortable?

You always talk about why success cannot be achieved.  You argue for failure.  

20Apr

I Want a Promotion…

“I want a promotion”
She sat in front of me tearfully requesting this promotion that was available to all applicants on the ‘floor’.
I had reviewed all applications and the woman sitting in front of me had never advanced her education beyond her GED that she had earned over 40 years ago. I almost didn’t believe that she was sitting in front of me making this request. So I asked her, “Did you take any classes at all after high school?” “Anything?”
“No” she replied. I looked at her application and then I looked up at her. She told me about how her husband was unemployed and that her kid could not get a job paying more than minimum wage. She told me how hard she was struggling to keep her family “afloat”.  I could feel her pain. Later, when I was alone, I cried for her and her family.
There are a couple of doubts that I have when a staff member is not interested in training and has not completed any post high school continuing education:
1. I fear that their own personal life is so consuming they don’t have time for anything else.
2. I fear that they feel that they do not need to learn, they already know everything.
3. I fear that they believe through some level of superiority, either because they are smart or handsome or even ‘experienced’ that they do not have to get an education.
4. I fear that they do not have any perception about the external world, credentialing is a crucial element in building a career. How could anyone miss the importance of credentialing?
5. I fear that this person has never felt a connection to a career, but rather, has just grown old in a “job”.
6. I fear that they expect a gift, rather than the reality of a competitive environment that needs production.
I cannot “give” a job to anyone. Because I am a professional manager, I will always go with the most well qualified candidate. Sometimes, the only thing that matters is experience; however, that is not often the case. I look for knowledge, attitude, willingness to learn and engagement to the work. The knowledge necessary pertains to the subject matter, the attitude necessary is an attitude of getting the job done well and willingness means that the staff member realizes that it is necessary to be open to learning and that means putting yourself in a place of learning and even challenging your own abilities. As far as engagement is concerned, I find that those who are disenfranchised do the least amount of work with the least amount of effort, often leaving their own errors for others to correct. This kind of behavior is a morale killer.
So no, I cannot “give” you a promotion. Though you may get angry with me and feel that I am unfair because you believe that your “experience” warrants this promotion, it won’t change reality to be angry. When I understand how you feel, I will be even more disappointed with you. So please, figure YOU out and please, leave me on the sidelines of your analysis.

27Feb

Hanging Onto the Past

Most people have a very difficult time staying in the moment. Scratch that, everyone I know, has a very difficult time staying in the moment and allowing the present to give information about what to do next.
What is the first thing we do when in a new situation? We attempt to anchor ourselves with past information about a similar situation. This is actually harmful to our current ability to manage the current situation appropriately. If our current situation is similar to a prior negative situation, our body will tense up and we can feel ourselves cringing, getting ourselves ready for the negativity to repeat itself. This tenseness and cringing does not serve us, because we become defensive, sometimes in perfectly benign and sometimes in perfectly positive situations. We may even close ourselves off to new incoming feedback that will give us clues to the positivity in this new situation.
What is the first thing we say in a new relationship? “You remind me of ____________” or “My last boyfriend was ___________” or “My last supervisor was _________”. I remember that at one point in my career, I became aware that I was afraid of large blonde haired men. It turned out that they intimidated me because my father is a large blonde haired man. I would snap to attention even though I was the identified supervisor.
No wonder the past plays itself out repeatedly, we are often in the past, in our own heads. From this perspective it is difficult to spring forward into the future. Indeed, historically, it was a survival mechanism to recognize the advance of someone / something harmful. I often think that this is why people take anger so seriously, in a primitive society it was important to run from angry, strong people.
So here we are today, living more precisely by our thinking and our emotion, with much less aggressively physical threats, with no way to re-adjust our brain. While it is important to reference the past when going into a new situation, it is just as important to stay anchored in the present. It is our tendency to hang onto the past that puts us in trouble in the present.

The practice of neutrality is an imperative tool for maturity and is most definitely an excellent tool for managing people.