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Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2018

To Share or Not to Share, That is the Question

I've noticed with my cat Simon that when he is afraid, he burrows.  For example, if he is going to the vet, he'll burrow as deeply as he can into his kennel or the arms of someone who is holding him.  It's actually a bit heartbreaking.  Seeing him that scared makes us feel for him.  I've had to transport him a number of times and without fail the journey upsets and scares him.  In a way, Simon is trying desperately to find his secret safe space where he can hide from the upsetting journey.

As kids, when our parents fight we tend to find a spot to hide out (or burrow) to weather the storm.  I remember when I was a kid hearing my parents fight and I would just be glad when it calmed down or someone left, whether it was to go to work or to just go somewhere else.  As a kid, I was dependent or reliant on my parents and as such I couldn't just run away to avoid the fighting.  So, I tried to find a space as far from the drama as I could.  As an adult, we call spaces where we try to shut the world out our bachelor or bachelorette pad or our man cave or she shed.    

As I've gotten older I realize that hiding or burrow away or not just a physical phenomenon, but a psychological one as well.  Sometimes, 'hiding or burrowing' is keeping our thoughts or feelings close to the vest for fear of upsetting the apple cart or upset the calm.    Now, I've never been of the philosophy that we should share all our thoughts in a stream of conscience way.   Whether we like it or not we are a fallen creation and are subject to rude or devious thoughts from time to time.  As such, some degree of discretion in expressing our thoughts is very useful in dealing with others.   But, I'm not necessarily talking about that extreme.  I'm talking about 'secrets' (that is our secret thoughts).   

Sometimes keeping 'secret' our thoughts is not a bad things.  

  • Doing so can prevent us from saying harmful/hurtful things before we've had a chance to fully digest and process. 
  • Doing so can prevent us from unnecessarily creating or having to deal with conflict.
  • Doing so can give us time to cool down before we say something that we can't easily take back.
  • Doing so can avoid subjecting ourselves to hurt from those whom don't necessarily have our best interests in mind.

However, sometimes keeping 'secret' our thoughts IS a bad thing.
  • It doesn't give others a chance to know or understand us.
  • It can be a way of putting off necessary, but uncomfortable discussions/hashing out.
  • It can be a way of blocking healing.
  • It can be a way of not giving us a chance to know others thoughts, feelings, or intents and/or possible friendships.

I guess ultimately when debating whether to share our 'secrets' we have to consider the following:
  • Are we bottling up our thoughts in an unhealthy way which will lead to an eventually 'explosion' or 'crack-up'.
    • If so should we share the thoughts.
    • If so should we find another healthy outlet to express them or at least remove negative energy that they cause.
    • If so should we share them with the understanding that you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette. 
  • Are we using discretion or just using the idea of 'discretion' as an excuse to avoid saying what we should.
  • Do our 'secret' thoughts, if shared liberally, add to or detract from healthy relationships.
    • Initially, they may or may not cause a disruption.
    • If there is an initial disruption as a result of sharing our secrets, will it ultimately create the space in which a healthier relationship is possible.

I'll be the first one to say that I don't always know when to open up and share my 'hidden' or secret thoughts and when it is best to realize discretion is the better part of valor.   Just some food for thoughts and questions to ponder when pondering about our 'secret' or hidden thoughts....

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Humor: Inappropriate thoughts and knowing your audience

If you've read my blog, I have a lighter side.  However, I'm can be a deep thinker and a very serious person, sometimes needing to lighten up I think.  So, it's about time for blog about humor.   So, I have a bit of a devious mind.  In other words, my mind sometimes stumbles upon the inappropriate or 'impolite' from time to time.  As I have gotten older, I tend to speak more freely--perhaps I get tired of filtering--what I'm thinking and as a result my daughter (and now my stepfamily) are treated to nuggets of brilliance.  Sometimes, they laugh, sometimes they shake their head, and sometimes they pretend like they don't know me.  I say, genius is often unappreciated, sigh!  But, I digress.  

In between doing the parental griping about them not listening and badgering them to listen, I try to be sometime playful or express a sense of humor.  I remember my dad, God rest his soul, was Mr. Super Serious parent and I was very inhibited what I said around him as a result.  So, besides making a vow not to repeat his 'mistakes' in parenting--instead making my own new ones, I vowed to be more accessible to my kids.  Part of that accessibility was trying to understand them where they are.

I remember sometimes as a kid, thinking and saying  inappropriate thoughts--sometimes related to my gender and anatomy--as little boys are apt to do.  I won't expand upon that.  Those who were once little boys or who have heard some of the talk they do will understand what I mean 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊.   So, I know kids have devious thoughts.  Adults do too at times, but we learn to better pretend we don't.  Anyway, in the course of wanting to be more accessible, I have expressed a simple concept to them.

We know human nature is such that we aren't perfect.  We know that we have 'inappropriate' thoughts float around from time to time.   Some of them we learn from our family, some from siblings and some just our own 'creative brilliance'.  I expressed to my daughter when she was old enough (and later my stepson), that I understand this happens from time to time.  Even among the 'angelic' kids, I believe this happens.  But, I digress.  I told them as this happens from time to time, it is not necessarily wrong having a 'devious' thought, but how you handle it can make it wrong.  So, here are my thoughts on thoughts...
  • Some thoughts are very destructive and as such should not be ever mentioned.  In fact, you should do what you can to change your focus should your mind dwell in that territory.  Obviously, wishing death upon someone is an example of such a thought.  I explained to my daughter that 9/11 was a result of hateful thoughts that were encouraged to grow and grow and lead to hateful and deadly actions.
  • Some thoughts are rude.  Should you 'have to' express them to get them out of your system, they should be mentioned in private and only to only your most trusted confidant(s).  An example of this is 'locker room talk'.  I told my stepson I expected that boys talk about inappropriate boy matters from time to time and girls may do the same.  I expressed while it is not really appropriate to talk like that, that it is especially inappropriate to express such thoughts in the presence of mixed company.  I said, I understand that your curiosity and amusement get the best of you, but that you shouldn't focus on such thoughts when they cross your mind.
  • Some thoughts are slightly inappropriate.  Potty talk is one.  Like when I referred to passing gas a 'stinky surprise', they thought it was funny.  In small doses, things like this I believe are no big deal and more so of an 'eye-roll' or 'honey don't encourage them' moment.  I believe in limited exposure cracks like these are pretty harmless.  Obviously, if you are talking to an officer when getting a ticket, your teacher during class or you are around someone who is easily offended, you should avoid expressing such thoughts.
  • Some thoughts are just silly and can work to lighten the room.  Like recently at a cub scout meeting I attended, one of the presenters asked if anyone had a question.  One of the little bundles of joy said, "Yeah, what is 1 + 1".  The kids giggled, his parent slightly scolded him and the other adults just smiled and laughed.  To me this is a light-hearted moment which is safe to share in most situations.  Obviously, there are limits to even the most goofy, lighthearted moments, but the world needs humor.  So, humor like this is warming.

So, when I first brought this up to my daughter, I 'tested' her about various circumstances and who you should share your thoughts with.
  • I said if the Governor or President rolls by your school to make a speech and you are bored, should you say, "BORING!"?  Or if he/she asked if anyone has a question and you are hungry, should you ask, "Are you finished now, I'm hungry?" when called upon.   She focused on the mental picture I presented and giggled at the thought and of course answered "No".  (I wondered if I presented a bad idea to her.  :^).   Anyway, I said this is an example of something you might say later to a trusted friend that you had wanted say or ask. It could be something that you express in the privacy of home, letting a parent know that you were starving.  I pointed out that beyond being rude to the speaker, it would get you in a lot of trouble.  So, bad idea.
  • I said if you thought someone was really strange looking would that be appropriate to express.   She said “no”.  I said, if you felt like it was bothering you too much, you might mention it to a parent later and talk about it.
  • I said if your friend was talking about something silly like passing gas would it be okay?  She said it likely would be.  But, I said, to a close a friend maybe, but not everyone would think that was funny or appropriate.
  • I said if you had goofy where moment on vacation when you were out, would that be okay to express openly when sharing what you did during the summer to your class.  She thought would probably be okay.  Other kids might relate, I can see that.
  • I said would it be okay to say hateful things to a classmate if you were thinking them after he/she were rude.  Of course, she said no.  I said this might be a thought you might express to a counselor about how you are feeling.
The point of that discussion with my daughter (and later my stepson) was that it's okay to have a sense of humor, even to have a devious thought pass though your mind as that happens from time to time.  But, that just because you have a thought, doesn't mean you should express it.  In other words, it is important to think about if there is a right, time, place or audience to express the thought.  


As a quick aside.  I remember in previous relationship watching Extreme Home Makeover with my significant other.  Anyway, that episode included making over a house for a middle-aged woman with a brittle bone condition.  So, of course they did a knockout job of fitting the house for her and congratulating themselves on a job well done.  They all stretched out one arm and placed their palms on top of each other in the center and did a cheer tossing their arm up and away from the center.  So, in a moment of an 'ate-up' thought, I imagined when they tossed their arms up and outward that they accidently knocked the lady's wheelchair over, breaking her bones.  While I was laughing at the train-wreck of a thought that had popped into my mind, my so and so pressed me for what was so funny.  I warned her a few times that she wasn't going to like it, but she insisted on hearing what was amusing me.  So, of course I told her and she acted 'appalled'.   I'm like, "I can't help it" and "you asked".  But, you know men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

And that as the late Paul Harvey used to say, is the "Rest of the story".

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why to write? Even thoughts need a home..

I was talking with a friend in CODA (codependents anonymous) and sharing some struggles I'd been going though. I obviously needed to vent. In the process of thanking her for listening it occurred to my about why we surrender our fears/worries/successes/failures. As we know sometimes we have thoughts that bother us until we get them off our chest-either by writing them or expressing them to a friend. It occurred to me stray thoughts that are going around and around in our mind are homeless. When a person does not feel like he has a home, his or her life and/or future can be clouded. He or she has no place to really rest or unwind. In a way he or she may not be comfortable enough to really start unpacking aka opening up. We can have thoughts running around in our head which seem to lack clarity. The thought doesn't feel like it has a place to fully express itself. This can make us irritated as we know something is bothering us, but cannot totally pin it down. Those thoughts effectively are homeless. When we journal or write for public consumption our thoughts, we are giving our thoughts a home. What happens when we truly feel at home? Of course, we begin to unwind and/or open up.  Similarly, having been freed of the confines of our mind, our thoughts often seem to expand or clarify as if they are opening up.

The benefit of surrendering our thoughts by writing is we give them a home.   Like sometimes people do when they get a new place and have had time to unpack, they start inviting company over to share their place.  Similarly,  when a thought has a comfortable home such as in a letter, on a post, in a article or in a book, we are often willing to share that thought with others.