Anticipate Rejections – Normal And Part of Our Human Condition

Self-Care Tip:  Anticipate rejections and some in-between times, you will be chosen.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.

-Thomas A. Edison

Foto einer Glühbirne (an),

In today’s economic climate, we are given more opportunities to seek employment elsewhere.  Of course, “opportunity” is loosely used here and it might sound like I was playing Mad-Libs, a super game in fact so I’m okay with that.

But whether we are applying for employment or asking to be someone’s friend, or like Edison, playing – these various arenas of rejections are normal. They may feel particularly personal, but that’s a distortion.  They’re part of the human condition.  They come to us who do what we love, who do for well-evaluated intentions, who put out with courage and who put in 10,ooo hours.  They come to us who haven’t found what we love, who work for a martyrs salary or who do not have the privilege to go toward their temperament.

Rejections are.  They are like the surface tension, the space between water and air and they hold us together.

We love success and too often are like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates.  We forget from sunset to sunrise what a day’s labor brought us before.  We forget easily.

But with Magic and Love, we can lose ourselves once again in the experience of doing what we love to do despite it.  We can remember better with the help of rejections.  Remember all sorts of things.  And without turning this into a script from Cheers, we can still say that rejections become the best parts of our life’s experience.

Those darn personalizations though, those distorted perceptions, those rejection-clots that cut off circulation – if it becomes that the space between water and air gets too thick, if rejections seem life defining, tell your physician about it.  It’s not “just the stress.”  It’s from the brain and might be a symptom of brain illness, much like achy joints and arthritis go together.

Questions:  How are you able to use the rejections you received to be friendly to yourself?  Please tell us your story.

You Have the Power And You Are Not A Victim

Fire KnivesDo you every feel like a victim?

When someone is doing something to turn us into an emotional victim, sometimes it can look like a performance, don’t you think?  Someone is yelling, arms swinging about, face animated – and there you are, breathless and emotional.

However, being victimized and being a victim are different things.  Being a participant of an interpersonal exchange is different from being an audience to it.

Imagine a stage and you and have been selected from the audience.  You climb up and join the performer, let’s call him Ron.  Ron is a professional fire and knife dancer.  You are standing near Ron and flaming knives seem like they are everywhere.  He is quite a dramatic dancer and part of you wants to dance with him.  You know you would get hurt badly and yet you have the hardest time resisting the urge to participate.  Your wisdom prevails and you remain uninjured.  You applaud and walk away.

Later at home, you are still marveling that anyone could move that way and work that hard to evoke such strong emotion from their audience.  The emotions replay the dance in your mind almost as if you were still there with Ron.

Do you feel like a victim to Ron?  You don’t have to.

When you don’t like what someone is doing or saying to you, imagine that it is a performance of sorts and don’t take it personally.  You don’t have to be a victim.  You have the power.  Be a friend to yourself.

Now, if you can’t do this no matter what, if you feel powerless and unresponsive to your redirections, it may be medical.  You might be suffering from any number of illnesses that cause personalization, guilt, fear, reliving experiences and so forth.  You shouldn’t suffer like that.  You were created to feel pleasure.

Self-Care Tip – Applaud and walk away when someone is victimizing you.

Questions:  How do you manage to use your power when you are being victimized?  How are you accountable for your feelings and behaviors when people are hurtful?  Please tell us your story.

Revenge – Not so Friendly to Me

Original caption states "A photograph tak...

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If you have been around kids much you may marvel as I do, how fast they dish revenge.  I’m here to tell you, if you eat food off of my son’s plate, you should run.  Yet, seeing my or your four year-old hit someone is much less awkward than seeing an adult do it.  But they do.

Ingred told me that she had been humiliated at the make-up counter of Sephora.  A stranger had called her a bad name.  The stranger said it loud enough that other customers and staff heard it too, Ingred was sure.

“I just told her to go F— herself!”  

Unfortunately for Ingred, she was soon escorted out of the store by security who didn’t care about Ingred’s story and just wanted to keep the peace.  Also, unfortunately for Ingred, she essentially absolved the stranger of what little remorse she may have felt before Ingred retaliated.  Ingred essentially dissipated the natural introspection that comes to us after we misbehave, the natural drive to right our wrongs and the self-care that that stranger was due for.  Ingred had “paid the price” for both.  Ingred made herself the scape goat.

Ingred needed to buy into this concept but also that for her, everything starts and ends with Me.  Like us, Ingred takes care of her own feelings and behaviors to get friendly with herself. Taking revenge, getting even and responding by acting out we are trying to take care of their feelings and behaviors.  That’s not friendly to Me.

Inversely, if Ingred, or my four year-old son, had owned their feelings as their own, been accountable to their shames and angry selves and adapted to this stressor, they would have … Well you tell us.

Questions:  What has happened to you in these situations?  And how do you take care of your own emotions and behaviors, and account for them even when you perceive that you are provoked.  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care tip – Revenge isn’t friendly to Me, but being accountable to why we want revenge is, so try it out.

The Gift of Desperation

Life (23/365)

LIFE

Misty sounded relieved,

Yes.  That’s it.

She had just realized that life isn’t fair.  Sure.  She knew that before, but she just realized what she knew.  Don’t we all love that moment when our senses join up – sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, emotion, intellect, spiritual and the rest.  That is a lot to coördinate after all and sometimes some of them don’t make the train.

Misty was a single mom of three.  Her ex-husband was what she called, “Disney-Dad,” and her kids relished their time with him.  Misty complained that she didn’t get to spend the special times with her kids.  She mainly took care of them, but missed out on irresponsible fun.  She was sure her kids wouldn’t look back and think of her like they would their father.  She was getting angrier about it all the time, ruminating about it and it was getting in the way of her ability to connect with others and feel pleasure.  There it was in front of her blocking her from seeing her kids even, let alone herself.

Then after weeks of this along with medication and talk therapy, she told me,

Yes.  That’s it.  Life is not fair.  There are many other things in my life that aren’t fair either and if I look for them, I could spend my whole day every day counting them off.  

It broke my heart a bit to hear her and see her there.  Humble like that; she would I think affect you the same way.  So real.

Yesterday, Carl D’Agostino replied to our post about growing our understanding of our choices beautifully.

…we wait until we are at our wit’s end before we seek assistance…. considering reaching out as personal failure or inadequacy re: our own self-esteem…. Foolishly we wait until our way just is not working anymore. That is why AA calls this a gift: the gift of desperation. …For many, the depths into which we have succumbed are now found not to be so deep at all and in fact, ladders are readily available if we use them in recovery. 

Ah Carl.  Say it again.

The gift of desperation.

Too good.  Don’t you think?

Questions:  Have you ever received the gift of desperation?  What did it bring you?  Where did it take you?  What did it do to you?  Do you still have it?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Celebrate your gift of desperation.

Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

steps 15

Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
  6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Me.

For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Mental Illness Relapses When Medications Are Stopped

Free face of a child with eyes closed meditati...

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #246 – Collaborate with your physician to change your medications.

It keeps happening.  People are stopping their medications and then getting more sick.  Recently it was Olivia.  I can always tell when she’s off medications – she personalizes things way more and she acts like a victim to many many random things.  She is irritable.

Olivia, did you stop your meds?

Olivia on medication was not a super easy-going person but she dropped much of the edge, her thoughts were clearer and she was able to see other people around her.  Today Olivia felt like her bullets were in place and about to fire.  She answered my question obliquely.

There are sooo many reasons I am better without those in me!   I used to not be able to feel God.  When I prayed, I didn’t sense His Spirit.  Besides, I’m doing fine.  There’s nothing wrong with me.  I’m happy!

The biggest bummer about getting into the scene after the medications were stopped verses before, when stopping them was just a consideration – is that the patient doesn’t see themselves clearly.  They don’t see how bad it’s gotten.  They can’t be objective largely because they are using the same organ that is ill to describe itself.  If I could have discussed it with her before she stopped her medication, she would have been in a healthier state and more able to weigh her risks and benefits of medication verses no medication.

Sometimes we do agree together, patient and physician, to stop medications and sometimes we don’t.  Doing it together is the key though.

Questions:  How do you work with someone who wants to come off their medication?  How about yourself?  Has this ever been a problem for you and if so, how did you deal with it?  Please tell me your story.

Your Bridge Between Choosing and Being Chosen By Guilt

INNOCENCE/GUILT

Image by ~fyrfli~ via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #227 – Find out about your bridge between choosing and being chosen by guilt.

Guilt.

Sometimes we think people who do wrong should feel guilt.  But how many of us improve ourselves or others in response to guilt?  And because this is a self-care blog (wink), I have tooled around with what it is all about and if it is a positive self-service.  In my meanderings I remembered, Schadenfreude.  (Isn’t that a marvelous Americanized German word?!)

Schadenfreude is different from guilt, although often in the same company.  It is a natural response in which we find pleasure at observing another’s demise or suffering.  I speculate that when we see someone feeling guilty and suffering from that guilt, even against our better natures we experience a degree of Schadenfreude, i.e. pleasure.  Because we moralize things, we responsibly feel shame when insight dawns on Schadenfreude, but “it just is.”  It is a part of who we are in this time of humankind’s history.

However would we go so far as to say that we want people to feel guilty when they do wrong because of the motivating reward that Schadenfreude has on us?  For example, Mom is disciplining her children and just won’t stop until someone cries.  I remember hearing jokes about this in mommy groups when my kids were a bit younger.  …Mom thinks silently,

I’m suffering so I want to see you suffer.

Even though we maturely and grandly empathize (the counterpart to Schadenfreude) with the kids, there is a simultaneous “secret Schadenfreude” (a private feeling) that goes on at their failure.  The blend of both can be confusing.

As we continue to travel the bridge between voluntary and involuntary, we are learning more about how choice remains regardless which side we are looking at.  For example, if guilt and Schadenfreude are so natural, so biological, so reflexive, we look for our choice.

Cathy wrote on the blog-post, Choosing Perspective,

I become trapped in my own guilt. Yes it is about perspective but what to do when even changing your perspective provides no relief, only a different source of constraint?

Questions:  I can’t help but wonder what you think about this?  Where and what is your bridge between choosing and being chosen by guilt and other negative emotions?  How do you choose when guilt and other negative emotions come involuntarily and inappropriately to context?  Please tell me your story.