Tag Archives: anxiety

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.

Advertisements

Your Mind In 3-D


English: Kitten hiding behind some stuff in ou...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever done the “pocket of rocks” exercise?  It entails filling your pockets with rocks and only taking one out to drop it on the ground when you let go of a usual behavior.  We’re talking about self-defeating behaviors such as avoiding the person who you have a problem with.  In order to get rid of a rock, talk to the person and bring up the issue.  There’s no guarantee of you and the person straightening things out right away, but the avoidance is over.  The pain-in-the-ass action of hiding your feelings and thoughts is past, at least in this respect.  To talk is a way to add dimension to the issue and offer yourself and other people with a choice of what to do on the matter.

Many of us assume that because our thoughts and feelings exist, the other people in our lives will automatically know how we stand on everything.  Because of this, we expect these people to behave a certain way.  But we end up being surprised and hurt on a daily basis.  And it turns out that none of us have acquired the ability to read minds.  People young and old, whether you think it’s right or not, are going to go about their business towards needs and wants of the moment.  No amount of protest is going to make any lasting difference.  An occasional demonstration of anger is much like hearing a car backfire while walking down the street.  Some people might feel startled and look in that direction, but are soon continuing to walk on.  So a noise was made.  Big deal.

Most of us do pay attention to established rules.  Rules are based on the costs and benefits of certain behaviors.  The cost of my son yelling and screaming while I’m on the phone, is that I’m only hearing part of what the other person says.  I’m missing out on information and have to ask the caller to repeat himself.  Now I have to spend a longer time on the phone.  More time on the phone, means less time doing something else which is important to me and my son.  This means we lose all around.  New household rule: Quiet when someone is on the phone.  The consequence to disobeying this rule is…

The rule is made aware by discussing the costs and benefits with all household occupants and then posting it in a central place.  Now it’s out of your head and on paper or poster board.  Everyone can see it and you don’t have to rely on the fantasy of mind-reading.

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.

 

An anchor to conversation.


Continue reading

I hear you!


Please feel free to share your moments or even days filled with uncertainty and anxiety regarding the journey to accomplishment.