Category Archives: unknown territory

The Trouble With Self-Affirming Statements


Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) leads brother Ral...

We are encouraged by many to produce inner-motivation towards our goals through the work of self-affirmation.  In recent years there has been the prominent referral to “I’m Okay and You’re Okay” kinds of statements.  Some of the self-help gurus make “positive inner discovery” a staple of their programs.  One thousand percent of this makes sense and is effective.

To say “I can” and then of course finish the statement is a very healthy and even courageous declaration.  It beats sitting crouched in a corner with your thumb in mouth, while rocking back and forth.  It sure as hell beats standing by and hiding your abilities while someone else takes off with the opportunity.  Do you agree?

What we’re missing here is the challenge to saying “I can” or “My strength is..” when much of life has been a focus on what a sibling or cousin or classmate can do better.  I will venture to say that the challenge has a lot to do with what communication many of us receive in these different environments.  Have you ever been told “Why can’t you be like..?”

In chapter five of “The Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence” written by Dr. James Dobson (1978), there is the conclusion arrived at on how comparisons are made between siblings.  A child in the family or at school hears spoken messages by his adult leaders which stick in his or her mind.  An older brother or sister is praised for winning the trophies.  And at every turn, upon misbehavior of the failure to perform up to snuff, the other sibling is told “Why can’t you do..?”  And the competition ensues.  For this boy or girl, the focus becomes more about what the older sister or brother or classmate has, and less about what is yet to be discovered within.

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How To Curb Your Impulse To Argue


Argument

Argument (Photo credit: andrewmalone)

First, I will ask the reader to look at the difference between “argue” and “debate.”  Quite a few of us in American culture can run into some confusion, because of our pioneering spirit.  We cherish our independence.  A lot of early training in the families of this country, reflects the value in standing up for what we believe.  Otherwise, there would not be much protest against government agencies trying to dictate how to raise the kids and run the household.  We don’t like being told what to do, period.  I for one, hope that this healthy attitude continues.  Human beings are not sheep.

When a person is in debate of an issue, he does best when ready with a convincing set of facts.  His platform for debate may not guarantee a win of the most votes, but he can at least pavé the road to a later credible battle.  Unlike argument, which is a behavior based on emotional defense, the act of debating serves a purpose.  The opponent is invited to share information and the goal here is to clarify the gravity of the issue.  A solution is eventually reached.  In arguments, there is nothing but an angry push from each person to see who is the strongest.  And when emotion is ruling the behavior on each side, the information (if any) is only distorted and both parties are further from a solution.  So another day goes by without anything productive happening.  It’s just a cycle of futility.  To argue needlessly is akin to climbing a mountain made of butter with cellophane shoes.

My way of helping to curb the impulse to argue or be led into an argument is simple and easy.  Of course, this works best when there is a personal acknowledgement of the costs about such behavior.  The method has to do with using physical cues to help monitor the rate of impulsive acts.  Your job is to cut down on the number of times per day, that a disagreement or behavior triggers an emotional reaction.  For example, if six-year-old Johnny says the “No T.V. after 7:00 at night rule” is stupid and you are starting in with “No it’s not” then go ahead and put a colored chip labeled “I argued again” in the designated can.  I’ve been known to label the cans for this kind of process, with words that remind the client of what we talked about in the session.  Bringing a souvenir home from vacation has the same effect.

I Choose Desire


Anagrams of Desire

I’m glad you have decided to get over your pansiness and click on this post to read.  Desire is a six-letter word that often connotes some sort of carnal lust for a substance or even better, a person.  Such a word is seen on the front cover of romance novels and articles, which lead the reader into an underworld filled with the kinds of unmentionable activity between people.  I would even put “desire” in the category of taboo conversation.  Only because this is the result of a social mechanism we human beings have built to label and shelve our corners of existence.

I use the word “desire” to help put some emotional charge behind my priorities and to establish a point of entitlement in this respect.  In order for me to take ownership for what I see as personal goals, there must be an investment on my part.  But let’s move on to the reason I titled this piece with “desire.”

My gives me a verbal list of grocery items right before I am about to grab the keys.  There are only four items to remember and she knows that I can keep them in mind, all the way to the store.  She asks me if I need to right them down anyway.  I quickly reply “Oh yes” and go ahead to make a written list.  Yeah, I’ve heard and read about all the different ways that we can exercise our minds.  There are many benefits to keeping our brains stimulated with memory games and what not.  The internet is full of literature on how much better a person can gain in the prospect of health by pushing our mental capacities.

The thing is, I already put my brain to use.  One bit of clear evidence is in the making of this article.  And this is where the word “desire” comes in.  Instead of holding in my memory the list of fruits, veggies, bread and other kitchen items, I desire to exercise my imagination.  Or I simply choose to listen to the car stereo and really get into the music.  These uses of the brain help me further my goals and enable quality time for projects.  My projects bring enjoyment and quality development for life and family.  There’s no doubt of my ability to bring up the list in memory once I get to the store, but why waste such effort when it could just be written?  A few minutes of writing on paper can buy me an infinite peace of mind.  The organizational tools industry makes a bundle for good reason.  It’s easier to move on with the important things and move on when we’re writing appointments on a calendar and not letting these items take our memories hostage.

I’m Already Gone


Yes, I can see your shoulders rising and nostrils flare.

The teeth clenching betrays your power in this hall

and those who walk by are now watching a one-man show.

Because you see, I’m already gone.

As I cover more ground, your screams are fading.

The anger persists in a vacuum of fear to stand frozen in,

for reasons to serve a lonely man.

No threat is present, because I’m already gone.

No one is watching your descent to defeat.

The plaster won’t speak when smashed by your fists.

Your smoldering, bitter curses will not touch my ears.

Can’t you see I’m already gone?

DWP: on the subject of power between two.

Invitation Versus Demand


Question mark

Question mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I base my writing of The Jungle Pack Workbook (counseling), on the results witnessed from using finish-the-statement prompts.  I find that a lot of the question-asking comes across as trying to trick the client, to give up the gold (hidden personal information).  Also, I recognize the minimal education for growing kids and full-grown adults, in the context of how to build personal awareness.

Most people have a hard time with understanding their personal strengths and what triggers emotions in both themselves and others.  The prompts mentioned earlier, were designed to take the focus off of the person’s struggle to meet expectations of a counselor’s question.  One of the main elements I do my best to drop is any sense of testing.  Most people have experienced enough school-type testing to have a “right or wrong answer” state of expectations to deal with when posed a question.  When asked about information the child or adult is defending, the inquiry is thought of as a demand.  Obviously this did not work the first few hundred times in school, at work or in the home.

If a person is coming to me for counseling at any age, he or she has already met many reasons to defy trust in others.  Along with this, is a reoccurring propensity to feel angered with people.  The world already looks scary at this point.  Otherwise, the promise of confidentiality wouldn’t be considered so appealing.  But even in the counseling session, trust must be earned by the therapist.  And we find many times, this is no easy task in regards to the information which keeps a person stuck.

 

Bullying: The Difference Between Games And Crimes


Beaten woman

When a person is knocked to the floor or slammed up against the wall, we recognize the harm done and takes steps to prevent it from happening again.  The act of physical harm is commonly frowned upon.  Even if the target of harm is a member of an unpopular sub-culture, the violence involved will trigger alarm.  Physical violence is a crime in any sense of the word.

If somebody has been hit, slapped, stuffed in a locker or kicked, there is no way to deny that someone’s physical and personal space is violated.  A line is crossed.  The term for this lind of behavior is “criminal action.”  It is an expected norm for wild, lower animals to attack one another or even human beings.  It’s part of their job.  We don’t think anything strange about signs at the zoo that read “Stay out of the lion cage.”

Human beings are not lions.  It would be smart to assume that act of violence by a person is indicative of psychiatric struggle.  Look in the DSM-IV-TR under Conduct Disorder or AntiSocial Personality.  Physical violence of any kind is part of the symptom criteria clusters.  When bullying progresses from repeated social mind games to any sort of physical harm, stop calling it “bullying” and start calling it “criminal action.”