10/17/22

Habitual Emotions

One’s behavior seems automatic. It is hard to believe –consciously or unconsciously, on purpose or default – that you chose it. Repeated behavior becomes habit. 

Habit takes on a life of its own and seems innate; that you just can’t help it – that it is just the way I am. When confronted by a negative attitude or action one may rationalize, “Everybody’s that way.” 

Being pleasant and thankful when things go your way is a habit you taught yourself.  So is being disagreeable and unappreciative when things do not go your way. Being agreeable or disagreeable both are habits you taught yourself and they habitually surface upon command. 

 “Surface comes from the French meaning “above the face”. The behavior probably seems automatic and is thus hard to see as your having set it. What is “above the face” is also hidden in your creative mind and out of your known control. Repeated behavior becomes habit.

Stop and ponder:  Have you ever responded negatively in a situation and blamed the circumstances for your behavior?  “You made me mad.” “The traffic made me late.” “You did me wrong and I’ll show you!”

Someone or something making you do something is not like an allergy to cats. With an allergy your body’s immune system automatically responds whether the kitten is cute and cuddly or if it is a mangy flea-infested stray.

Get honest and think hard.  Has a similar situation occurred, and your response was different? “No big deal.”  “No harm done.” 

If one day Sue/Sam “made you mad” and the next day – when you were more rested or were not so rushed or so stressed or had spent time meditating or whatever to put yourself in the better frame-of-habit-mindset – then obviously Sue/Sam was not the organic cause of your negative response. In either scenario, you drew on habit responses you taught yourself. 

Forming new habits involves awareness. To determine what you do want to change starts with understanding what you do not want to change. Exert mental effort to become aware of your attitude and behaviors – those times you are pleased with yourself for speaking rationally or remained calm or for boldly asserting yourself. Out of this awareness determine effects and whether you wish to maintain them – or not. 

Forming new habits involves doing one thing differently. Every time we modify our behavior, we have a different experience. This new experience sends a new footpath to our brain. Treading this new path again and again causes our brain to become wired, or habituated to new attitudes, actions and outcomes. 

Don’t Cope. Overcome. Avoid the stack-attack-syndrome of frustrated aggressive behavior by learning a sever-assessing-system of assertiveness – one step at a time – one path at a time – to a new hard-wired brain habit.

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7/16/22

Loving Boundaries

 


Please read the following Title and Statement aloud. 

 Whta’s Thsi? 

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it doens;t mttaer in what odrer the ltters in a wrod are, the only iprmoetnt tginh is that seom of the ltters aer in eht rghit pclae. Eht rset can be a ttoal mses and you can sitll gte the masesge.

Did you get the message? Even though it was somewhat scattered?

Do you receive messages from others that seem confusing? Yet with loving awareness can be the message be understood?  

PhD Meg Blackburn Losey defines disconnect as “a series of simplicities that have become entangled.”

Think jewelry.  Necklaces lying side by side that innocently becomes entangled and how difficult it can be to separate. To return to alignment. We live in a world filled with layer upon layer of spectrums. No wonder the entanglement and confusion. 

Yet, separation is an equal part of our disconnect and confusion problem.

Example:  A working wife is frustrated and needs downtime after a hectic workday, while child tending househusband fails to honor that need.  His need for quiet time anticipates mom being mom for a while. And what about the children and their respective needs?   

I think of the Special Olympics race and the little boy who was ahead of the group. He saw the others behind him, turned around and started running toward them, saying, “Let’s all win together.” 

Need vs. need. Trouble ensues in any relationship when prevailing attitudes are “my need is more important than your need.” We are needy individuals, and it is okay to have your needs met. With loving boundaries, needs can be met and sustained in ways that are good for you and for the whole.

The value of appreciation. A gem well-tended goes up in value.  A home well maintained goes up in value. Anything that appreciates goes up in value. An authentic appreciation of another’s role lends to understanding and a willingness to negotiate. Having an appreciation of your contribution to the situation gives you the confidence to firmly, yet kindly, set your boundaries of what you do need or do not need, what you will do or will not do. The message becomes clear, not garbled and disconnecting.   

The value of reinforcement. Sometimes a person has good intentions yet fails to follow through. If your boundaries are not honored, speak up with a gentle reminder. Dialogue occurs easiest when there is negotiation rather than orders.  Say something like, “Have you forgotten our agreement for decompression space when I get home?” At times, it may be necessary that you kindly speak up again and again until they “get it”. Graciously accept a slip and an apology.

Find an adequate alternative. On the way home, stop by your favorite coffee shop for quiet time. Don your headphones and jogging suit and go to the park. 

Delay is not denial. Perhaps your need to be self-nurtured outweighs your need to interact. Perhaps his need for companionship outweighs his need to respect your space. Perhaps the kids need for attention outweighs another put off.  What about a switch-a-roo? Give a little to get a little.  Enter with a loving embrace for all, share a few moments of casual conversation with each – being genuinely concerned about each other’s day - then slip away for solitude.

It is my consensus that the most mature one in the relationship will make the most concessions. But never do so at the expense of you. Stuffing your irritation and later exploding is unfair to all. Make relating more important than being right. When sacrifice is for the betterment of all, it transcends, and is no longer a sacrifice.

 

12/22/20

It Is What It Is

 


A plethora of current issues have prompted the lament of “wanting things to return to normal”. What is normal? What if things do not change? How can expanding one’s perception serve to bring personal peace? And can that peace be contagious?

Life is a series of infinite possibilities balanced by calculated risks. Life is more both/and rather than either/or. Regardless of the reasonings or explanations or arguing one might assign, the facts are… it is what it is. With God’s grace, my response is, “So what? Now what?”

Not, so what? as in arguing against, but, so what? as in how to access attitude and resources to handle effectively and kindly. All conditions were met for whatever happened to happen. Handle each event with grace.  

The word IS, is a perfect-present tense verb, meaning it never changes. Just as now is always this second, so too grace is an ever-present presence. There is an infinite amount of unseen grace floating in the invisible atmosphere to be tapped into by anyone. Grace was there yesterday, even though I may have ignored it and did my own thing. Grace is just as amply there for each tomorrow whether I recognize and utilize or go lightly on. 

Grace always is. 

 A contranym (pronounced konteinm), is a noun that has two opposite meanings. Such as yield meaning to surrender, concede, resign – or yield meaning to harvest, increase, produce. 

No matter the situation - pandemic, trying relationships, burned toast – through the plasticity of grace, let us yield to the circumstances while simultaneously harvesting peace that passes all understanding. 
Through grace, you have an opportunity to be a viable part of Infinite possibilities. 

Slow growth is sustainable. When it dawns on you that you are calm amid chaos, and you do not understand this strange conundrum, realize you have touched the hem of Christ’s garment.