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Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

Shutting off the drama: Backing away from conflict and reorienting.

The holidays--and maybe just other times for no specific occasion--can be good for getting reacquainted with family and friends.  If we live out of town, we might choose to fly or drive in and see family and friends we haven't in a while.   If we live in town, we might make it a point to get together with those whom we haven't seen in a while to celebrate OR we might entertain family and/or friends who fly into town to see us.   Most of the time that is good thing.  Family and friends are the ones that be supportive of us, that can re-energize us just by virtue of their presence.    However, at times the hope we have the supportive or re-energizing can instead feel like burdensome or draining.  It doesn't necessarily have to be an open conflict, just personality differences can be enough.

I have written about this general topic matter in at least two posts.

  • Boxing others into our expectations.   This is where I discussed the concept of how we expect certain people to fit roles in our life: Close friend, close sibling, supportive parent, our co-parent, etc.  In a way, in our mind we 'box' them into the expectation of what role we feel they should play.  We then base our interaction with them on our expectations of their role.  This can lead to frustration. The whole idea is that instead of getting frustrated that they aren't meeting our expectations, it is good to pause, reassess them and the situation and adjust our expectations and interactions with them in a way that better reflects reality.  In other words reorient ourselves relative to them to a place that is healthy for us.  In other words, we don't have to necessarily remove them from our lives, but we may limit what we share with them, for example.
  • Dealing with others: People will get along with you IF they want to.  This is where I discuss the idea that while you can help facilitate positive interactions with others, it is ultimately up to others to decide if they want to get along with you.  If they really want to get along with you, they will tend to look for opportunities to do so (and overlook things they don't necessarily 'love' about you).  If they don't want to get along, they will look for reasons or excuses for not liking or getting along with you.  Basically, don't take it personal or try to force it.

We might realize people aren't fitting into our expectations of them. We might be getting frustrated and have to reorient ourselves and how we interact or deal with them Or in some cases how we don't.  However, from what I've observed (and experienced myself), that usually is a process that can take time, a willingness to see and accept a reality we don't like, and in some cases being deliberate.

  • When we are close to a situation, it can be very easy to see what we want.  In other words, a confirmation bias.  Sometimes, it just takes time to see a pattern of interaction over a extended time before we accept it.  If it is a parent for example, they may not be accepting of our choice in a spouse.  We may overlook comments that would point to that reality and instead glom onto any comment or indication that we think points otherwise.  Like a parent might show interest in our spouse, but might be doing it out of courtesy rather than acceptance. It might take time be able to see past what we want to see.
  • Sometimes a realization might be so profound that it take a while to process it.  That could take to form of being huge and/or emotionally demanding.  For example, take the case of a parent whose health is failing.  We might have been close to that parent and that closeness is no longer there.  We may need for our sick mom to be the warm, compassionate person she's always been and counted on.  However, she might be in a different place, focusing her energies on coming to terms with failing health.   It may take us a while to realize the extent of her failing health and effectively disentangle ourselves of the level of dependence we've had on her.

  • No matter how much want, hope for or expected a different type of relationship than what is, it may not ever happen. People have room to grown and there are things you can do to encourage a closer relationship to a sibling, child, friend, or whomever.   However, at the end of the day, you cannot force someone to be different than who they are or what they are capable of.   At some point, instead of conflicting with them on whom you hope or expected them to be for you, it is just time to accept the type of relationship that both of you are capable of.  That maybe bittersweet, but as a brother once said, "A half of loaf of better than no bread".  Just make sure you can accept and have the ingredients that you can afford for half a loaf.
  • We have to be willing to see a relationship for what it is (and isn't).  I always wanted a close relationship with my dad, but it never really developed.  I think he wanted to be decent father that could be emotionally open, but he didn't really have a good example to emulate as he was bounced around in the foster system. Also, he struggled with his own issues, including alcoholism.  He did the best that he could given the example(s) he had to follow and had his moments.  I saw and accepted that he couldn't be this close parent that I could confide my insecurities and flaws to.  I saw that we could get along and I could help him out and vice versa.  Though disappointed, that was something I could work with as I was willing to be realistic.

  • When we are reorienting our expectations and perspective it is easy to fall back into old patterns.  If we are the one pushing a friendship or relationship we may wonder if the other party is really invested in it or not.  If we are finding ourselves conflicting with a family member, we may want to have a better relationship, but we just wanting it and interacting with them as we always have just lead more frustration.  Sometimes, no matter bothered by backing off from them for a while, we may need to do that and let the situation sort it out.  This can and often should be quietly stepping back.  In other words, letting the situation organically reveal itself as to how to proceed.   They may surprise us after this time and find that they want a closer/better relationship.  However, we may find that the relationship that was to be just needed some space to develop.
  • When we are reorienting our expectations and perspective, it is easy to hang onto the frustration/disappointment.  If we are committed to reorienting our relationships with and expectations of another to a more healthy place, we have to get rid of or re-channel the frustration.  We have to remind ourselves that even though we 'signed up' for a different type relationship with another, that they may not have 'signed up' for the same.  We may have thought that a friend we hang out and do things with would be a good person to personally confide in on a situation.  Over time we may come to realize he or she is not the right person to confide in or relate to on it.  Our friend just not be capable of being there for us in the way we hoped, but we didn't realize it initially.  That's not specifically the friend's fault, it is just a limitation.  We have to deliberately remind ourselves of this realization or understanding until we have reoriented our friendship to a healthier place.
When our expectations of others don't meet reality, there is a good chance we will conflict and there will be drama.  Sometimes we just have to step away for a bit. limit our interaction with them until our expectations come into line with the reality of the relationship, and adjust what we what we feel we can offer if necessary.  Everyone wants close family and friends.  Most people don't want conflict or drama, but sometimes it happens despite our best intentions.  Sometimes we just have to step back and 'shut off the drama' for a while until everyone is in a better place and move forward from there.  That maybe an unsatisfying reality, but we know as adults that we may not always get what we want, but that as the Rolling Stones wrote, "but if you try sometime, you might get what you need.".

Just may thoughts for the day and a follow-up to another couple posts.

Piece out.

- Rich

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Healthy Escapes and Believers of Daydreams

I was listening to The Monkees - Daydream Believer and found it terribly bittersweet.  Sad really.  Music, like life today seems to be complex and often distressing.  It often has an attitude or carries an intense message.  Now, I like many other people appreciate the expression of ideas or thoughts, even ones that aren't comfortable, in the form of music.  But, sometimes I think we live in a world of too much intensity.  It's almost as if we are addicted to intensity in all forms:

  • The 24/7 news cycle.
    • Negativity is hard to avoid.
    • Negativity is repeated and reinforced.
  • Having grown-up ideas/concepts/'decisions' forced upon us at an early age.
    • Inappropriate commercials.
    • Pressed to take sides in adult cultural issues at an early age.
    • Images and sounds of rioting, violence, hate, and terrorism.
  • Broken families are common place.
  • Widespread availability of narcotics and other illicit drugs even to kids.
  • Widespread availability of 'screen' in every form (TV, iPod, cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops)
Now we've gone through turbulent and divided times before, but it never has life been thrown at us--especially kids--so early, rapidly, repeatedly and recklessly.  It's no wonder kids are growing up into adults addicted to screen, drinking, drugs, porn and the list goes on.  That being said, I'll take the devil's advocate position for a moment before I engage the main subject.


Growing up, my dad would drive us to wherever and I paid only scant attention to the route or the way to get there.  In other words, since I wasn't responsible for getting us there, I didn't care so much.  As an adult, I pay a lot of attention to the routes as I am forced to.   Likewise, perhaps things have always been this turbulent and I was a bit more detached from it as a kid as I largely didn't have adult responsibilities to deal with it--that is until I was around 15, when my parents divorced, but I digress.  In other words, maybe it life seems more complex or intense because when I am more aware and attuned to it as an adult.


In a world so complex, constant and in our face, what can we use to pull back from the intensity and not give into it and all the addictions and hangups it spawns?
  • Exercise and play.  
    • This can benefit our health if not taken to an extreme.
    • This can benefit us psychologically if not taken to an extreme.
  • Reading
    • This can help us to slow down.  
    • Instead of bouncing from site to site or from game to game on screen, it can help to focus and quiet our mind.
  • Retreats
    • Camping--church, family or group.
    • Sweat Lodge
    • Personal growth/interest conferences.
    • Local park
    • Man-cave/she-shed or whatever your space around the house is called.
  • Helping others
    • Assisting with elderly.
    • Assisting with kids.
    • Assisting with the poor.
  • Relax
    • Slowing down the sound and listening to soothing music.
    • When overwhelmed, take a power nap.

These are just a few ideas of healthy escapes.  Maybe I am right?  Maybe the days of daydream believing are long gone?  That being said, if we can find healthy escapes and slow down the pace and intensity, we may not find the nirvana of daydreaming, but we may be able do defuse the intensity and struggle of everyday life a bit.

Just some thoughts.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Anything But Ordinary: The need for faith, hope and healing.

Have you ever noticed that some people seemingly take great risks, step out on the edge, tend to gravitate towards the unhealthy or bounce around from controlling relationship to controlling relationship OR dramatic relationship to dramatic relationship.

Why do we do it?
  • Are we trying to outrun or 'escape' our problems?   
    • If I keep busy or seek the latest thrill or high, we won't have to face our issues.
  • Are we trying to medicate away our problems?
    • If I gamble, drink, sleep around and so on, perhaps I won't have whatever pain I have will be masked over.
  • Are we so used to drama that the mundane feels out of place?  The word familiar has the same root as family.  If we were raised and/or have always lived in a dysfunctional environment, we will not know how to react to 'normal' or  'healthy' relationships.  'Normal', healthy or 'wholesome' relationships could seem boring or stale.
  • Are we seeking approval?  Sometimes the attention we get from 'acting out' or 'being the life of the party' is better than a lack of attention.  That is if we are 'interesting enough' or 'fun enough' then people won't help but to be drawn to 'the party'.
  • Are we feeling hopeless or too damaged? 
    • If we feel like we have nothing left to lose, then it can free us up to engage in risky or dangerous behavior.  That is, if there doesn't feel like there will be much of--if any--of a tomorrow, what do we have to lose by living on the edge?
    • The problem lies when we wake up from the 'binge' or edgy behavior and realize in many cases that it has made things worse for us.

What forms does it take?
  • I've kind of touched up on it already but here are just a few.
    • Excessive drinking
    • Illegal or illicit drugs
    • Out-of-control gambling.
    • Acting out, sleeping around or porn addiction
    • Unsafe activities such as reckless stunts, reckless riding/driving, going to reckless places, reckless behavior with fireworks, etc.
    • Excessive thrill-seeking.  Sometimes, it isn't so much that a certain activity is bad per se, but if we do it excessively it can indicate a bigger problem.  Say sky-diving every weekened for example, could be considered excessive for an average person. 

  • It is okay to step out a little, go outside your comfort zone, take a chance from time to time.  The whole point of this blog is not to suggest otherwise.  Were it not for people taking chances or risks, life would be dull and we'd have likely not accomplished some of the great feats/advances that we have.
  • It isn't so much how much we live on the edge, but more so the motivation behind it.
    • Is it for a healthy reason such as helping others?  If so, we are less likely to flame out.
    • Is it for an unhealthy reason such as avoiding dealing with abuse, hurt, grief, pain, trauma, etc.   If so, we might find we need a higher and higher dose of living on the edge just to keep the avoidance up and we will be more likely to flame out or spiral out of control.
    • Living on the edge in a way 
  • Whatever your faith--for example, Christianity--it is in many ways necessary to be willing to not be 'ordinary'.  Mother Theresa was not Ordinary, she could have lived an easy life, but instead she sacrificed to help the poorest of the poor.  Sometimes our faith requires us to go against popular opinion or worldly views or behavior   In other words, going against the grain and not being 'ordinary'.