Mess Makers and Care Takers

One of the ironies of life is when neat-nixs and slobs are paired together as life partners, at work or on committees. How do you live/work peaceably with a slob? Here are a few suggestions if you find yourself in that situation.

1. Don’t stuff it state it. Rather than stuff your frustration, state your position in a positive manner and with a pleasant attitude. Use “I” statements and know your reason for complaining. Focus on things that can be changed and do not stack attack. Have a suggestion for resolve in mind before gripping. Be specific and communicate with the person in a way that he/she understands. Be open and honest. Don’t beat around the busy or use illusive innuendoes.

2. Ask for change without demanding change. Even though you may have a resolve suggestion in mind, you cannot control another’s ambition or lack of ambition. Do not respond negatively to negativity.

3.Make suggestions to eliminate, delegate or simplify. To eliminate - box it up, put it in drawers or behind cabinet doors, throw it away, give it away or recycle. To delegate – give it away, ask for help, hire resources, or outsource it. To simplify – reduce the amount of times an activity is done and see how much can be pared off.

4. Everything needs a home. If it doesn’t have a home, it becomes clutter and you cannot organize clutter. A lady come to me out of frustrated with her husband and children because they threw things down and the home was constantly cluttered. After assessing the situation, we purchased a variety of sizes of baskets and organizational items. We labeled the baskets and placed them in strategic locations. A large basket by the den door and a coat-hanger strip became home to sports equipment. Baskets on the kitchen counter became homes for mail, coupons, pens/scissors, keys and pocket change. A basket was placed on the fireplace with each child’s name. As the room became cluttered with shoes, books or toys, the wayward items were temporarily placed in the child’s box for him/her to return to its original home. Even though the husband had previously been a major contributor to the clutter, he told his wife, “I am so glad you did this. All that junk made me nervous.”

But what if they will not cooperate? How do you continue to be nice when things stay messy?

It’s more about you than them. Keep your area neat and do not obsess over their messes. Be more concerned with developing a relationship with the offender and he/she may be more willing to follow your example of organization. I love the Catholic prayer, “For the sake of Your passion, grant us grace.” Grace received is enough for you to become a gracious giver.

“Oh, Lord, You’re Beautiful. Your face is all I seek.
And when your eyes are on this child, your grace bounds to me.” -song

DON'T COPE - OVERCOME: Here is a round-robin for you: We choose the emotions we experience and we experience emotions through the thoughts we think. To change emotions, change thoughts. Just like the front wheels of a car point in the direction we travel and the back wheels automatically and dutifully follow, so too, are our emotions hard-wired to our thoughts. Change your mind and change your emotions.


Emotional Health

Emotions, can you trust them?

Emotions are fleeting, fickle and often false. Emotions are based on perception. Whether or not we can trust our emotions has to do with our emotional health. Prolonged invalidation, rejection, criticism and angry responses wear on one’s emotional health, making it raw and hyper-sensitive. Here are a few suggestions to promote emotional healing.

Take a stand. Use “I” statements and speak only from your perspective or to address your personal need. When a person expresses her choices, insights or feelings, it is the individual speaking and the matter can be settled.

Be emotionally honest. When true feelings are pushed aside, unresolved issues take over and seize a club to set matters straight. If another does not approve of your choice, so be it; do not feel guilty or anxious. Summons the courage to stay your ground and allow him to remain in his mood while you go on about your business. Stick to your boundaries and do not make an issue of the opposition. It is not your job to get the dissenter out of a snit; that is a task every individual must do for herself.

Recognize your own issues. Do not isolate or bottle up. Do not allow yourself to be sucked into another’s problems. Although we can work in partnership, still each must hoe his own row in life.

Respond, rather than react. The rawer the emotions, the quicker to judge response as negative. Reacting is negative. Dynamite must have a ‘reactor’ for it to go off, and the shorter the fuse, the quicker the explosion. Reacting is taking comments as a personal affront. Reacting is belittling the offender. It takes emotional health to respond rather than react. Responding is seeing the situation at face value. Responding is choosing to regard the offender as a person of worth and value. Responding paves the way for resolution.

Self-Evaluate. Several times during the day, stop and evaluate your actions, thoughts and feelings. Reel in assumptions. Quit regarding others as jerks. Stop the judgments and criticism. As you become aware how you are feeding your negative emotions, you become equipped to conquer them.

Plan ahead. Life is faithful to give us do-oers. As you honestly evaluate that you reacted negatively to a person’s disrespect, picture the event happening again with you responding in a more positive light. Sports figures see themselves succeeding before ever going onto the playing field. See yourself being calm, pleasant and respectful before going into the arena.

Rather than being driven by your emotions and later regretting the direction in which they took you, learn to control your emotions and later feel good over your responses. Being in charge of your emotions is so empowering. Healthy emotions go hand-in-hand with happiness and satisfying relationships.

Calm. Collected. Cheerful.


Overcoming Contrl Issues

By nature, mankind is self-centered.  We expect others, things or circumstances to treat us the way we think we deserve.  When this does not happen, we take over, trying to control situations and people, either directly, indirectly, or covertly.  Only by giving up control can one be truly free.

Control comes from a Latin word meaning “counter role”.
    1.  dominating, commanding, governing, mastering, manipulating, having charge of
    2.  restraining, restricting, repressing, subduing

Ways ineffective irresponsible control manifests itself:
I have to have things my way regardless.       
My needs are the only ones that really matter.
My opinions are more valid than any one else’s. 
Bad case of the “have to’.”
I deserve to be treated fairly and justly at all times.   
The big “I” and little “you”.
It must never rain on my parade.           
Performance is all important.

Language of the controller:
  “You (they) need to…”
  “You should have …”
  “Why didn’t you…” 
“If only you would…”
  “I would never do that!”
“If I was you, I would…”

by being responsible for…
my thoughts
my actions
my emotions
my choices
my responses

Here are suggestions for effective choices in choosing to give up control counter roles):
I choose to accept my worth and value as a person alive and living on planet earth.
I do not really know myself, my wants or my motives. 
I do not really know what another things or means through his/her words or actions. 
I am incapable of solving all problems.
I do not have the definitive answer for myself, let alone for you.
There are more variables involved that I am aware of and I am willing to consider them.
I choose to not be sucked into another’s problems or emotions.
I choose to give up control - even when it seems unreasonable.
I do not always have to have my way.
I choose to not be driven by my emotions.
What is more important, my way or this relationship?
I cannot be all things to all people and I accept my freedom to quit trying.
I choose to be a unique individual and to let others be unique individuals.
I cannot control another person and I give up my assumed right to do so.
Others cannot make me happy and I choose to stop expecting them to.
I cannot make another happy and I choose to stop attempting to do so.
The only person I can control is me and as I control me I will be a more positive influence. 

Live. Learn. Love. Co-operate.


Dreams, Goals and Our 'Quality World' Pictures

Our ‘Quality World Pictures’ was coined by Psychiatrist William Glasser to represent people, places, things and beliefs that we unknowingly isolate from our all-we-know-world. These things are selected and separated because they add value to our life in some measure. We isolated them as desiring to make them a part of our everyday life. Although they are pictures in our head, we devote our time and attention into developing them into reality.

In non-Reality-Therapy-Choice-Theory-language, I suppose dreams could be seen as the same thing as quality world pictures. We can have both Quality World pictures as well as dreams, yet not be aware of either. We may think it is ‘common sense’ to want this or that or to not want this or that.

Before we proceed further, I need you to know that my definition of ‘common sense’ is those things we bought into pre-conscious and pre-verbal. It is those things we were born into and automatically accepted without question. Those commonalities became our worldview of life and by default became our ‘everybody’s-like-that’ position. We pre-judged that ‘them and their’ were like ‘me and mine’; not necessarily in an ugly prejudicial way but in a limited understanding of differences in individuals, families, tribes, cultures and nations.

And that is where conflict comes in. The real world – people, places, things and beliefs that really exists - tries to educate us. Wake us up. Broaden our perspectives.

Dr. Glasser said, "We control the world for need."

What? I like to put it in a think-about-pattern -- "We control _______ for ______."

We control co-workers for cooperation.
We control the horn for faster traffic flow.
We control our anger for getting our way.
We control being lovey-dovey for getting our way.

(Note the last two control tactics are different approaches with the same end result in mind. Each can be legitimate or a false front, depending on the emotion behind the drive.)

We (attempt) to control ... others or situations or the weather, or traffic or the government or what-have-you... in an attempt to get a need met whether it is our belonging need or our power need or our fun need or…
You get the picture.

But here is the conundrum (riddle). Until we learn Choice Theory, we may be ineffectively attempting to get a need met –even one we don't yet know we have - using pictures we don't know we are trying to develop. Our needs, as well as our ways of securing them, are illusive. We search for pleasure or success following the 'common sense lie'.

How we gather these Quality World pictures is multi-dimensional and lasts a lifetime. Perhaps from old TV shows like Ozzie and Harriett we extrapolate a picture of a happy, healthy marriage.

If I think money will make me happy, then money is a major picture in my quality world even though it may look like a big house or a fancy car or beautiful clothes that I inadvertently adopted as wanting and associated those “things” with money.

If I think love will make me happy then I look for an unspecific person – probably one with money - especially if the people I currently associate with do not make me "feel" loved.

And that is another 'common sense' lie. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Or ‘feel’ unloved or anything else. Feelings come from thoughts.

When we think unloving thoughts, we feel sad, depressed, angry, etc. Conversely, when we think loving thoughts, even if they are neutral – “maybe I misunderstood” – then our feelings do not hijack us as easily.

We may be in a family where we are loved very much but if their love is not shown to us in agreement with our illusive Quality World picture of what love looks like, then to us they do not love us.

And so the search goes on in another person, another job, a newer house, prettier clothes, whatever is just beyond our grasp but looks like it is the all-encompassing thing.

Newborns have the five basic needs as well as adults do. A baby knows when something is askew - hungry tummy, dirty diaper, cold or lonely - and he has no idea how to have this 'feeling' satisfied. So he cries. He makes noise. Mom shows up and offers comfort and baby is satisfied. Over time, the baby unknowingly places mom in his QW as the comforter, the food vendor, the problem solver, or as the what-ever-I-need fixer.

Maybe those pre-verbal picture labels contributes to mother's frustrations when the kid is fifteen and continually hollers "MOM!" Rather than lovingly responding, she may yell, “Get it yourself!”

This is how our Quality World pictures are collected, grow and distort.

And here is a rub with our selection of Quality World pictures. We isolate our Quality World pictures as having value to us that will add meaning, whether it is something we embrace or something we wish to fight against.

Oh, dear, such a tangled web. No wonder it is difficult to know our selves.

As an Instructor with the William Glasser Institute, I teach a not-so-common-sense worldview approach to effective living that brings peace and success in every area of life. Interested? Give me a shout out - monadunkin@gmail.com