Posts Tagged ‘personal’

A True Confession About Friends

May 20, 2009

TwoWomen_1914

Artist: Diego Rivera

 

As I get older, I’m becoming more and more of a loner.  That is to say, I prefer my own company to the company of others. Given the choice of a visit with a friend, or reading or writing or creating, I will always choose the latter.  I’m going to say what is true for me, even though it sounds awful. After about a half hour visit, I get bored. Yes. I get bored. Because my mind drifts away to my interior landscape from which my creativity springs, and I want to get back to it. To whatever medium I’m working in. I don’t want to listen very long to  somebody’s daily travails or about their their kids or daily lives.  I feel trapped,  a captive audience.  Phone calls are the same for me. Maybe even worse. Because they have to be returned if I want to have any friends at all.

So why do I want them, you may be asking yourself.  Well…because I love them! And I care about them. And when the chips are down, they’re there for me and I’m there for them.  I think maybe  its just that in this fifth decade of my life, my identity is morphing into an artist and I have no patience for daily minutiae.

Also, the more I think about it, a man would never even write this post or have these thoughts. Men don’t chat about their daily lives. Most of the ones I know are very much bottom line kinds of people. Phone calls serve a function, as in : where are we going and what time are we meeting? Men do things together. Women seem to talk about things more. …A cultural thing, I guess.

 How could Psychscribe admit to such mean thoughts? Because it is my truth. Does this sound really awful?

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Slowly Resurfacing

May 18, 2009

Well, finally no more itch, just extreme fatigue. I’m taking this week to recuperate and catch up on all the sleep I lost… I’ll be back, thanks for all the support, everyone….zzzzzzzzz

Lupus causing extended suffering

May 12, 2009

My previous post was tongue in cheek…but now, this is living hell…the constant itching is actually painful…dr has increased my antihistamine to the point that it knocks me out…when i wake up there is a 1 hour window (now) before i can take my next dose…i have to choose what feels like induced coma, or suffering…the lupus is making me suffer, exacerbating and extending the allergic reaction

Autoimmune Disorder, Allergic Reaction, Help Please!!!

May 7, 2009

 

urticaria_resized

 

First, this picture is not me. I found it on google images. I WISH i looked this good…

Not good, people. Not good. I was given the drug Plaquenil to  add to my autoimmune disorder arsenal by my doctor a few weeks ago with the goal of weaning me off the prednisone.   I am now covered in a rash from hell over 75 percent of my body. EVERYWHERE  you can think of and don’t WANT to think of.  And the non specific lupus type disorder I have is gleefully helping the reaction to reach its fullest potential.

Long story short, the morning that my slowly developing rash blew into a full blown stage 3-4 allergic reaction, I also fainted and broke my ankle. So I spent the day in the ER, and was admitted. They were more worried about the fainting in case it signified something serious. It didn’t. AFter mega dollars in testing the fainting was attributed to an episode of low blood pressure.

I look like a monster. I feel like a monster. I have red, elephant ears. You can barely see any skin beneath the eruptions. My face is masked with them…Does anyone have any recommendations for excriating itching? I”m taking steroids and antihistamine but topically nothing is offering much relief except ice packs. Oatmeal bath – so so.. Coritsone cream the same…. wahhhhhh!!!!  😦

To My Everlasting Shame

February 6, 2009

I did not stay at my father’s bedside, to be with  him until he passed. There he was, right upstairs in the bedroom, while I hid like a coward downstairs and out of sight. We knew it would be that night. The doctors had called the family in and said so. 

All his brothers and sisters, the aunts and uncles I grew up with,  had been pretty much staying at my parents’ house for those last weeks.  The pasta pots were always boiling. They brought Italian bread and provolone cheese and sweet salami with big green olives. Most importantly,  they brought the black humor which is our family trademark , especially during our darkest hours.  It sustained us and carried us.

And yet, there was an age regression that took place for me. At age 32, they were still the grown ups and I was like a child again. That’s just how the dynamics morphed. When it was soon to be time, my favorite aunt had a talk with me and asked me if I really wanted to watch my father die. She explained to me, 32 going on 8, that dying was not like in the movies. It was quite a frightening thing to see.  She encouraged me to have my quiet time alone with him, now in a coma, and say my good-bye. I did so. Then I walked out of the room and all his siblings and my mother went in and the door was firmly closed.

And so he died with his wife, brothers and sisters all around and me nowhere in sight. They later said it was an awful thing. Blood and God knows what everywhere. Even his brothers were shaken by it. It was not something I should have had to see, they told me. As if they had protected me from something.

But not long after, I realized it was my own father’s awful thing. I should have been there. I allowed myself to be shielded by my beloved and well meaning aunt with childlike trust.  I should have been there. I was not a child. I was not, in truth, protected or shielded. I was written out of the last line of the last page of his life.  No, we wrote me out. 

And I am so ashamed, sorry, and regretful… What if my father knew or sensed I wasn’t there, right through the invisible walls of his coma? My shame is this: that I, his oldest and most responsible child, should have  accompanied him on the final stage of his journey. I should have been there. 

No tidy ending to this post. I should have been there.  

(This post was inspired by a poem by Cordie entitled:  If I had it to do all again)

The Measure of Grief

February 5, 2009

 

 

THE MEASURE OF GRIEF

 

Twenty-five years ago today my father died.  

Even in my dreamless sleep I knew it.

 

I stumble out of bed  

where is my husband?

 

I want to hug him    

hug him so tightly

but he is gone

gone to work  

to work his ass off.

 

Gone.

 

I worry about his heart.

 

I want to hug my father  

(who worked his ass off).

I want to hug him  

hug him so tightly

 

but he is gone  

 

gone to rest    

to rest in peace.

 

I’d rather he were here, God forgive  me.

Yes.  I would rip him right out of paradise  if I could

to have him back here with the whole family

loving    living   YES , even suffering

but right alongside us where   think he belongs.

 

A quarter of a century.

One-fourth of a whole.

A quarter coin is so small really.  

 

A hole the size of a quarter 

is still in my heart  

big enough to kill me.

 

by Psychscribe ©2009

God in Action

January 31, 2009

fork-in-the-roadIn addition to the blues I’ve been experiencing lately, I also am feeling physically worse as I’ve been tapering down my prednisone. So though I did go to work yesterday, I had cancelled my attendance at bible study at my sister’s because I knew that by the time I got home at around 8 pm all I’d want to do is crawl into bed. There was no way I was up to going.

But Got had other plans for me. I was almost home after sitting for an extra hour in traffic, when I heard something in a novel I was listening to in the car.  I identified with the character, who was having a badly needed spiritual experience, and suddenly felt a powerful longing to feel the presence of God.

My sister and I live very close to each other.  There is a fork in the road in which her house is in one direction and mine in the other. As soon as I felt that longing for God, I no longer noticed my aches and pains and  without hesitation called my husband to tell him I was going to bible study after all, and called my sister to say I would be there any minute. I was right at that fork.

When I arrived my sister was radiant. She had been praying, literally, “Lord, when my sister reaches that fork in the road, please help her to feel better, and make her turn left toward my house  tonight.”

I don’t know why God wanted me there so much, but I do know that the chances of this being a coincidence were statistically ridiculous.  And  I did get to feel the presence of God and the Holy Spirit last night, we all did.  It happened when a tormented client I have suddenly came to mind, and we prayed with all our hearts for a psychological and spiritual healing for her.

God works in strange ways.

If I Were To Die Today (Part 3- Relationship with Self))

December 19, 2008

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Image copyright Jupiter Images 2008

Myself? I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve done in this life.  It took me a long time to grow up. Very long. Through one marriage and into the second, where I finally, finally grew my wings. (Thank to the snuggy, supportive nest my Alph made for me.)

I went back to college  pregnant with my second child and delivered her between semesters. Twenty five years later that child became my colleague and partner in our  psychotherapy practice. Imagine that?!! The joy I feel from this is beyond measure or description.  But more than that, I love that we are able to give our services to those who cannot afford it.  Kind of like Robin Hood. We get the max from our affluent clients and give it back, time wise, to our less fortunate ones.

I’ve learned to enjoy fun. I never played at all until a few years ago when I looked at some application which asked me to list my hobbies. I didn’t have any. For me, an A type, learning, seminars, learning, work were all I ever wanted to do.  (Tightly held secret: we shrinks rarely apply to ourselves the very things we try to teach our clients.)  It so bothered me that I thought: what have I always wanted to try? For me?  That turned out to be decoupage. Hours and hours of learning how to do it, but playing, enjoying the process, the creativity. Creativity had always been what sustains me, but I’d put it aside in my quest for achievement. Now I’m making jewelry. Another joy in the process. If my efforts produce lovely results, great! If not, I still had fun.  I’m also  waiting for my new camera to arrive (thank you, Amber, for putting the bug in me!) because I’m longing to express myself by capturing the other love of my life: nature.

If I should die today, my career goals would have been accomplished. I would die knowing  that I became the therapist I always wanted to be, who  helped a lot of people. The ones whose heartfelt thanks cannot begin to be measured and who I will never, ever forget. The ones who trusted me with their pain and their wounds, who inspired me with their courage, and who taught me so much. 

Have I become the woman I wanted to be? Well that, too, was an evolving process.  First I wanted to be a homemaker and stay at home mom. When that changed and I wanted to get an education and a career, the trouble started in my first marriage. That’s not what he signed on for. And in all fairness, that’s not what I’d originally agreed to.  We were so young. We just couldn’t navigate these choppy waters. We were only 21 when we married for goodness sake! Babies! What did we know about relationships? Giving?Flexibility? Growth and change? Nothing. Nothing at all.

It was a very painful divorce. Volatile, yet so sad. But as Carol Burnett once said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

My onset of lupus and subsequent stroke have actually been blessings too. Not a life lesson I would  have chosen, but they were not exactly electives in the school of my life.  I’ve had to learn to rely on others which has been a humbling experience. A giver all my life (parentified child) it has been hard to learn to receive. Also…very nice…and quite beautiful.  And, of course, having come so close to death, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment of every day, and to thank God for the gift of my life. 

I read somewhere once that we’re bound by our fate only as long as we accept the values that determine it. I never forgot that. In fact, reading that, and getting it, is probably what changed my life. I got rid of my culturally imposed role of what a woman should be, and I learned to define myself. My self. MY self.  

I learned that personal authenticity is my primary value, and always will be. 

So if I should die today, I would die happy with my journey. Happy that I died as ME.

Partners as Mind Readers ???

November 23, 2007

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not going to  happen. Though it’s amazing how many people expect mindreading in a relationship. Particularly women. See, we women think we can read our partner’s minds, and can’t understand why its not reciprocated.

The good news is, obviously, that no one can read anyone’s mind. That’s not communicating, that’s  very wishful, and not very helpful, thinking.

Example of woman thinking she’s mindreading: Husband is watching tv.  Gorgeous, sexy female appears on screen. Wife mistakenly mindreads,aloud: “You’re thinking about how much prettier she is than me, aren’t you? You’re thinking you’d really like to have sex with her, admit it! If you COULD have one time out on our commitment, you’d be with her, wouldn’t you?”

 Now, the poor guy was really wondering if tonight is a green light with his wife  but now he doesn’t go for it because he is too busy denying her accusations.   She gets mad at him for “lying” to her, and now he doesn’t dare come on to her because he’s already insulted her  (he has no clue why) when really she wants him to mindread that she wants him to come on to her….. but has chosen a less than effective way of communicating this to him…

Better would be: Honey, I feel so insecure when I see those gorgeous women on tv. Do you still want me like you used to? I guarantee you’ll both get what you want with this straightforward approach!

Example of male mindreading: The man gets into bed and, figuring the bed is a mating mat even though he’s been advised hundreds of time to the contrary, mindreads that she really wants him tonight and is just too shy to come right out and say it (see above). He jumps her bones and either gets shoved off or she plays dead through the whole thing (admit it, women: for spite).

Better: subtle communication works best here. Offer a back rub, or a foot rubScience Articles, and very slowly work your way to the desired destination. Give her some time to enjoy the relaxation and get in the mood. Minimal communication would be: does that feel good? Telling her why you love her or her specific physical attributes communicates that you still think she’s hot.

Don’t expect her to mindread how sexy you think she is. We never get tired of hearing it.

 

What is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

November 19, 2007

What Is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

Everyone wonders about this. Do our friends “do it” more often than we do? Does anyone else have this problem where one partner has high desire, and the other one has little to none? We must be really weird. Everyone wants sex, don’t they?

The answer is no. Not really. More than 40 million Americans feel stuck in low-sex or no sex marriages. Research studies tell us that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men reported little to no sexual desire. Sometime in a marriage more than 50% of couples experience one or both partners with little to no sexual desire.

Desire problems are the most frequent complaint of couples entering sex therapy. They are also often the unspoken complaint of couples entering relationship therapy.

In our sex saturated culture, this particular difficulty has a stigma.  It’s ok to admit to having a drug problem or mood disorder. But a sexual problem? No way! We’re all supposed to be sexual superstars in our intimate relationships, aren’t we?

Actually, sexual anxieties, inhibitions, and problems are the norm. We’re afraid of not doing it “right”, like in movies and books. “Right” would be intercourse, with both parties craving each other all the time and having simultaneous orgasms every time they’re intimate.

Wrong! Healthy sexuality means giving and receiving touch that is pleasurable. It is not goal oriented, but process oriented. (The journey, not the destination.) It allows both partners to enjoy pleasure. It varies. Sometimes one or both has an orgasm. Sometimes not. And that’s ok. What’s not ok is not caring about yours or your partner’s needs.

There are many possible reasons for a discrepancy in desire between partners. The first is biological. As I mentioned in the statistics above, more than twice as many women than men have problems with sexual desire. This is because after the infatuation phase of the relationship, when hormones are running rampant, things settle down to natural biological rhythms. And biologically speaking, whoever has the most testosterone usually has the most desire.

Hmmm…. I wonder which gender that is!

Other reasons relevant to both genders are performance anxiety, emotional pain in the relationship, coerced intimacy, sex used as a bartering tool, lack of time, lack of energy, and fear of intimacy to name a few. These can be helped with an understanding therapist.

What you should do: first get complete medical exams to rule out any type of disease or medication causing the problem.

What you can do: see a relationship expert or sex therapist who can help you experience the pleasure and joy of intimate connection. You deserve no less.

Two Winners, No Losers This Morning

November 18, 2007

My husband gave me the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach. I’m taking a two day seminar in NYC which he drove me to yesterday. He’s a nice guy that way.  He loves to do things for me. This morning he had other plans for the day,  but had still planned on dropping me off again this morning and getting back on time to pick me up at 5:30.  No problem, I said. I can drive myself in. He of course jumped on this because what a pain in the neck to have to cut his day short, right?

Here’s where the therapist had to walk the talk. I asked him to just write down the directions for me. That’s all I asked. Write down the directions. He got all cranky about that and frankly, I didn’t like his tone while he wrote them down and read them out loud to me. I could have called him out on this. I could have gotten reactive.  But I stopped myself and thought, I wonder what’s going on for him that he’s acting this way?

Since this man is the love of my life, I’d say I know him pretty well.  I realized very quickly that he was angry because he felt bad that he wasn’t driving me in again.  He worries about me when I drive into the city. I might get lost, or hurt or something.  He was angry because he wanted to be protective…. because he loves me. And also because he feels like its his job, 24/7. Again, that’s just the kind of guy he is.  

So instead of challenging him per my impulse, I went over and gave him a big hug. I told him what I’d realized and asked if I was right. Boy was I! He laughed a LOT, delighted that I know him so well (we all love to be known, don’t we?). So a potential fight ended up in laughter and a hug.

The only thing is, I hope I don’t get lost.

Couples: Its Not About Who Wins

November 18, 2007

I see this so much in my office- couples wanting to re-hash a week old argument and wanting me to judge who’s right. Detail by detail they correct each other, exactly who said what, who did what first, as if each admitted detail is a score toward the finish line.

But nobody really gets anywhere because there are no winners in an argument between partners. If there’s a winner that means there’s a loser, which means the winner loses too. Losers don’t like winners very much. 

Relationships are not about opponents or gladiators. They’re about loving your lover.

When you love you give the gifts of empathy and the benefit of the doubt. You understand that your partner is probably feeling hurt beneath the anger. You try to understand and ask for help in understanding because you want to make it better.

When you are loved you receive the gifts of empathy and the benefit of the doubt. You feel understood and appreciate the empathy and efforts of your partner.

The more you are given, the more you receive. The more you receive, the more you want to give.

It becomes a lot easier than the win thing.

What was your relationship defining moment?

November 17, 2007

Couples have an identity and therefore defining moments, just as individuals do.  A defining moment with my husband of 20 years took me, recently, totally by surprise. I  was going through the blues about the loss of my youth and youthful appearance. (Even therapists get the blues.)  He said, ” Well I think you’re still beautiful. More now than before. Because when I look at you I see all  of you … how you looked when I first met you, and how you looked over the passing years, and how you look now…like layer upon layer….all of you as one…”  I fell in love with him all over again in that moment, and I  believe it had to happen in order for our relationship to deepen to where we are now.

Funeral Procession Defining Moment from NinjaRyder

November 16, 2007

“I was driving back to my old apartment one afternoon and I had lived one block away from a church. That day I was stopped as a funeral procession exited. I waited and watched the cars go by, trying to see the kinds of people who were a part of this. However, the procession never stopped. I saw every kind of person imaginable.

I was probably there for a good seven minutes and I started to get a chill down my spine at the length of this procession. I felt this surge through me and I had a “defining moment.” I wanted that to be me! Not to pass on, but to have known and touched that many people in my life.

Ever since then I have had this drive to want to help people and I am making the time to have that happen. I’m becoming more social and more outgoing. I do volunteer work and donate to charities I believe in. I know the names of my neighbors. And I want this to increase as my life continues. I want to be an outstanding member of my community. I want to change things.

So at my eulogy? I don’t think it matters so much what they say, but how the people who are there remember how I personally affected them.”

NinjaRyder
November 16, 2007

A Reader’s Hot Sand Defining Moment

November 16, 2007

“It’s taken some time but I think I’ve finally decided what was the first defining moment in my life. When I was little, every summer my family would rent a house at the beach. One morning when my father, sister and I were headed onto the beach, the sun was so hot it made the sand too hot for me to step on. I told my dad and sister this but unfortunately they didn’t think the sand was hot so they kept walking towards the water. I was stuck. I wanted to swim but did not want the hot sand to burn my feet. I stood on the deck for a few minutes trying to think of what to do. I finally figured out that I could slide my feet through the sand so they would not have to touch the top part of the sand that was so hot from the sun beating on it. This is my first defining moment because it was the first time in my life I had to figure out how to handle a situation without anyone else’s help. While it seems like a silly childhood memory, when faced with challenges in my life I often remember this moment and it helps me think of how to face the challenge without ‘burning my feet’. ” Written by Cheryl in a previous comment.

The Guilt Monster

November 14, 2007

Its a nasty little creature  but it does have a good  purpose.  Assuming you’re not a sociopath  you know what it feels like. We all do.  Who hasn’t done something wrong in this life and felt awful about it? We’re supposed to feel bad when we do something bad…. The healthy feeling of guilt prods us into making amends.  For example, you’ve had a lousy week at work and realize you’ve been very cranky  to your Person ( I happen to like this word much better than “significant other”. Its shorter and …well…more personal.) So when you realize this, and feel appropriately guilty, you apologize. Hopefully you have a healthy enough relationship that your Person accepts the apology and you’re both done with feeling offended and feeling guilty. And you move on.

But there’s another kind of guilt where the guilt creature turns into a monster that rules your life…not the kind that prods you to make amends, but the kind that takes over your life and relationships. A logical, cognitive solution that helps some of my clients, and maybe will help you, is this:

Imagine yourself in a court of law, where your guilt must be proven so that appropriate punishment, or amends, can be decided.  You’re the defendant representing yourself because no honest attorney worth their salt would represent you in this case.

Judge Judy, who has moved up to a higher court in her career (no I’ve never watched her in my entire life and I don’t feel guilty lying about this either) :  Ok, so its the State vs. You. What exactly is the crime we’re trying?

You (possibly stuttering at this point!): Uh, not a crime…..I just feel really guilty….

Judge Judy: Where’s your lawyer?

You: I couldn’t find one to defend me.

Judge Judy: Well why not? That tells me already that no one even thought you had a case.

You: Well….my therapist told me to come.

Judge Judy, rubbing her eyes: Oh my dear God,  why do therapists always send their clients to me? Do I look like a therapist????  What crime does your therapist think you commited?

You: Well….nothing…that’s why she told me to come here.

Judge Judy:  Fine.  So she wants me to do her work?

You: Well, actually I think  she wants me to do the work….

Judge Judy with a flamboyant  sigh : Ok, lets get on with this.  What crime do you think you committed?

You: Well, not a crime, exactly….I just feel guilty about….everything….

Judge Judy:  Could you give me an example?

You: Well, my son is unhappy a lot…actually he’s depressed…so I feel guilty all the time for being a terrible mother.

Judge Judy with confusion on her face: How old is your son?

You: 25.

Judge Judy (sighing and with even more confusion on her face) :  Ok…so….what exactly is the crime that I should convict you of?

You: Well, I didn’t say I committed a crime.

Judge Judy: But you did  say you feel guilty. Guilt by definition indicates wrongdoing of some kind.  What did you do wrong?

You: Well….I’m not exactly sure….but I must have done something wrong to be feeling so guilty.   If I’d been a good mother maybe he would’ve turned out happier.

Judge Judy: Did you take algebra in school? From what I’m hearing, a + b is not equal to c here.

You: Excuse me?

Judge Judy:  You have not convinced me with any logic at all that you are guilty of anything. Feelings do not necessarily imply cause and effect. What has your son  chosen to do about his depression? Does he see a therapist? Is he on medication?

You: No….

Judge Judy: Why not?

You: He  just….won’t….he flatly refuses.

Judge Judy: Are you supportive? Do you love him?

You: Of course!

Judge Judy: So what are you guilty of?  (She raises her hand in the air, to stop any possible interruption). And please don’t tell me about his childhood stuff.  That’s your stuff you’re consumed with here, not his. He’s a man now and its his choice how to deal , or not deal with,  the effects of his childhood. Did you do the best that you knew how when you raised him? Have you apologized  for any serious mistakes you made?

You: Yes! But if I could, I’d go back and do things differently now….

Judge Judy: Wouldn’t we all…thus the old saying “if I knew then what I know now”….But you have not convinced me of any crime worth the guilt you’re carrying on our back like a boulder. What was your crime? What should I convict you of?

You: I could’ve been a better mother.

Judge Judy:   I cannot convict you of youth and imperfection. Would you convict a mother of that?

You: No…

Judge Judy: Then what are you guilty of?

You: Nothing….

Judge Judy: Whose responsibility is it for your son to get help?  Can you pick him up and carry him into a therapist’s office? Can he still fit into a car seat? How big is he?

You: Too big (and now the light dawns…)

You grab Judge Judy’s gavel and slam it yourself.  Case dismissed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So think about it…if you will….and tell me….of what crime have you convicted yourself?

4 Get Aids Virus From Organ Donor

November 13, 2007

I just read this news story and can’t help but think of what a defining moment it was for each of these poor people when they got their organ transplant and with it the AIDS virus.  I picture the individuals and their families initially  filled with hope when the patient’s name came up on the recipient list. I see a falsely positive (intentional irony here) new defining moment for all involved: meaning a future, or at least a longer one. Then  instead they are informed of the virus and the moment is defined entirely differently.

At the end of the day, at the end of your life…

November 13, 2007

How would you like to have yourself described in your eulogy? What do you want people to remember that you did?  (An authentic eulogy, not the kind that’s so generic you know the officiant pulled it out of a drawer because no one could think of anything nice to say!) I do not lay claim to the originality of this question. We therapist folks often use it to get people thinking.  Because when you think about the answers to these questions, you begin to define yourself as you’d like to be. And it becomes possible to begin new defining moments as you redefine yourself.

What would you like to believe about yourself?

November 13, 2007

 Who has time to think these days? Who has time for introspection?  One reader, spingshiny writes “in these days of chaotic living, I seldom get the time to reflect on how I would define myself! I simply dont know. I would like to believe certain things about myself but are those qualities and attitudes the real me? I dont know.”

So think about it, if you will, and tell me….what would you like to believe about yourself?

So how do we define ourselves?

November 12, 2007

We have so many roles, personally, professionally, relationally.  Do we define ourselves by some of these, a combination of these, or something else at our core?

Think about it…if you will…and tell me what you think.

Defining moment right now

November 10, 2007

I have NO time to write, rushing out for the evening, husband giving me the countdown: “15 MINUTES TILL WE HAVE TO LEAVE!” now, all of a sudden I just got the “5 MINUTES I’LL GO WARM UP THE CAR!” but my fingers itch, no COMMAND me to jot something down in my blog before a day passes and I’ve missed an entry. (This after less than a week since I started this thing.)

I am a blogger.

Do you feel guilty saying no?

November 9, 2007

A defining moment for me was when I learned the secret. I overheard a woman I admired, a former boss, responding to a request for her time  with the phrase “that’s not gonna work for me”.  She didn’t make up a million excuses for giving her time.   She didn’t recite a list of activities that would prevent her from doing what someone had asked.  What a beautifully honest response. Maybe it wasn’t gonna work because she’d planned to spend her time staying in with a good book that night.   Think about how important your time is. Your sands in your hourglass. 

It was a defining moment for me because until then I didn’t know how to say no.  I didn’t know how to set a boundary between my needs and wants and those of others.  It was a big moment on my journey to define myself.

I know we hear the phrase a lot. Its no longer original.  (Though in my opinion whoever first said it and set it in motion deserves an award of some kind.)  But its usually used when two people in the business or professional world have their schedules in front of them and are trying to arrive at a mutually agreeable appointment.  In the personal realm its a different story. At least, according to what I hear in my office. I hear way too many people telling me they went somewhere they didn’t want to go ,with someone they didn’t want to go with.  When asked why, they will sheepishly tell me they feel guilty to say no to just about any request.  

The guilt thing is something else again. Another post for another day.  All I can tell you is when I coach people to begin to use this simple  phrase in their personal lives, they see it really works for them. Because usually there is some family member who is accustomed to arguing or debating or insisting that they do something according to their agenda.  This phrase stops them dead in their tracks. How can any reasonable person argue it? Ah, but so and so is beyond, beyond  unreasonable, you think? All you have to do is never veer off the “that’s not gonna work for me” path. Don’t explain or make excuses because then they’ve engaged you into your former pattern and before you know it you’ve given up more precious sands from your hourglass.  Once my clients learn to use this phrase  they feel happier, less stressed, and are on their way to defining themselves.

So now I’ve shared another defining moment. Please think about it and tell me, if you will, what was yours?

“What does it feel like knowing that this is the most important moment of your life?”

November 8, 2007

Excerpted from a  comment from John  yesterday, Nov. 7th:

“Pondering the concept of defining moments reminded me of something I said to my sister about two years ago, an hour after she gave birth to her first child. Perhaps it was a newfound appreciation for life that drew my mind to such a profound, yet logical, thought, or maybe it was just that I was overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of my newborn niece, but I couldn’t help but think of what it must feel like for my sister.

“What does it feel like knowing that this is the most important moment of your life?” I asked. And while it was difficult to discern through the haze of pain medication she was on, just exactly what my sister was saying, I came to realize that I may never have a moment that would be this significant, while actually being cognizant of it, and I would likely have to settle for a retroactive awareness of my defining moments.”

That being said, if I were forced to think of the one true defining moment in my life, I would have to say it was one night about three years ago. I had just gotten home from my first job out of college, overcome with melancholy and drained from another monotonous and unfulfilling day. I had wandered down the same path as my father, except I wasn’t forced to take just any job to help support my sick parents, the way he was. In fact, part of the reason for his sacrifice was so I didn’t have to.

I realized something that day. I have a better life than anyone could ask for, and I need to do more with myself than just collect a paycheck every week. I wanted to do something with my life that is going to help people, something that is going to have an effect on other peoples’ lives. So I decided to go back to school, with the hopes of becoming a college professor.”

This post (read in entirety under yesterday’s comments) highlights an important distinction, I think, about defining moments. John notes the significance and importance of his sister’s experience in giving birth. But of course unless we ask her we don’t know if she would call it a defining moment. Though as a mother myself I can’t imagine any woman not seeing it that way. 

Geez, Psychscribe here is feeling guilty that she didn’t mention her children’s births as defining moments. If you are reading this, my dear son and daughter, I want you to know that I chose my school dream as my earliest defining moment because that was the beginning of my empowerment as woman…of expanding and choosing my definition of myself in addition to wife and mother. Something that would be difficult for you to understand now, knowing me for the strong woman I have become. But back then, before I went to school, I felt weak, and passive, and was unaware that I could choose my own identity.

 But back to John….what emerges very sweetly to me here is his defining moment as an uncle, in addition to the melancholy  night he identifies when he decided to go back to school. So I see two snapshots here. 

John also mentions that most of the time we don’t recognize our defining moments until later, retroactively.  Thus my suggested metaphor to review your life as if it were a movie to find them.  But then again, not always. Sometimes we know right when they happen. We get a wow! I will never be the same after this! See the next post:

 WakingupKK writes:

Hi, I’m a adolescent counselor.  I recognized that I was going to be one when I was sitting in my car one afternoon after classes (during undergrad.) I had been contemplating what was going to happen next and what God wanted me to do. I felt called to a Christian sort of enviornment but wasn’t sure what that meant. I was always interested in psychology and helping people. I was sitting there praying and it just hit me, counseling teens, that’s what I wanted to do. The rest is history.

 So think about it …if you will …and tell me, what was yours?

Did you recognize your defining moment when it happened?

November 7, 2007

Mine was just a dream…or so I thought. At that time in my life I was very depressed and pregnant with my second child. I dreamed of an empty classroom with sunlight streaming in and I felt happy  in the dream. So happy. And then I woke up with a longing I didn’t know I had, which was to go to college. So I enrolled and gorged on the courses, pregnant and with a four year old besides.  That dream ultimately led me, sixteen years later, to my current profession as a psychotherapist.  The thing of it is you often never know until later, much later, just how defining certain moments can be.  Sometimes a dream really is a dream.

That was my first defining moment. So think about it, if you will,  and tell me…what was yours?