This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Rhetorical Question

Posed by one of my patients recently, it occurred to me that this could function as a highlight or exclamation point for part of the entry, The Geography of Friendships. The question was: "Who would you choose to be isolated on an island with? Forever."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not a Know-It -All

Tonight I am writing about the value of curiosity. Curiosity, it seems to me, has a lot of practical value. One that comes to mind is in reference to the blog I wrote on the difficulties of and the value of, shy people  ~True interest in other individuals can decrease some of the awkwardness a shy person may feel in a social situation with new people. The really reticent shy person need not necessarily even come up with a lot of questions when using this asset in a social setting. If there is a real interest in learning about another person, the shy person will listen with sincere attention; this is usually experienced as such a refreshing change that the other person will happily offer some personal information and, thus, the two are visiting!
~Curiosity is a wonderful attitude for a parent to have toward their child. How fortunate would a child be who had parents who would look for their child's unique talents, who would be alert to what absorbs their child's interests, who would just sometimes wonder, who is this person, who is my child becoming. It's just an attitude on the part of a parent that allows and encourages more individual development. It is a different approach for a parent to take from the position of feeling charged with the job of molding a child.
~The Feldenkrais Method teaches us to be curious about how our bodies work, all human bodies as well as the idiosyncrasies of our own particular body. It seems to me to be a good idea to pay some attention to this in light of the fact that we take care of our own health most of the time, most of our lives.
~Curiosity provokes you to pursue an answer, to seek information, and to learn. The more you know, usually the better your decision-making process. My Dad had a technique for getting the job done. When I had a paper to write for school, he told me to do all my prep work, reading, research, whatever I needed to do, then 'sleep on it' and write it the next day. This taught me to trust my own mental process. But the interest in finding out something about the subject has to be there first!
~Curiosity can be the antidote to rage. If you have an on-going difficulty with someone in your life, I suggest getting curious about that person. Start wondering. You might even ask out loud sometime, why would you say that? Or just ponder (instead of mentally listing and re-listing your resentments) what the thing is about, from that person's point of view...It is possible to shift out of bitterness and into an inquiring state of mind (better for you).
And finally, for now, back to M.J.'s "Man in the Mirror", curiosity about yourself---why did I do that? How did I say such a thing? Where was I coming from when I made that choice?  When did I start this as a habit? What are my values?---is one of the paths to self-understanding and personal growth.
I certainly would not want to see a therapist who thought they knew it all before I walked in the door. And, I find that my own interest in finding out about, trying to understand, my patient's unique perspective is what leads me to give good attention.
 Sometimes asking beats telling.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Man In The Mirror

Michael Jackson, a controversial figure to be sure, gave us this song. Here was a person who spent his life reviled by some and adored by others, ridiculed in the media and worshipped by his fans. And, yet despite that massive and constant distraction, was able to generate this idea:
...If you want the world to be a better place
Take a look at yourself and, change...
This is a poem, if you will,about introspection and responsibility. It directs us, admonishes us, to be accountable. To whom? To ourselves. Did Michael Jackson, the quintessential public figure, heed his own advice? The answer to that is private, as is your own answer to that question. Whether or not you take a look at the man in the mirror,that is, whether you self-reflect or not, is your own business. It is a choice.
There are people who choose to go through life, unaware. they would rather not self-observe, question their own behavior, wonder---"What makes me tick?" This is, as a matter of fact, most people. Once adulthood is achieved, and basic needs are met, their choice is to be comfortable. They'd like to do things that are familiar and at which they are already competent. Awkward,unusual,challenging experiences are left behind-in childhood and adolescence.

Scott Peck wrote about the unusual individual who pursues new practices and wishes to be self-informed in his book, The Road Less Traveled (a best-seller) and so did Abraham Maslow in his books and research on "the self-actualizing person". Those who choose the lesser traveled road toward becoming self-aware may commit to this path early on as a life-long pursuit. Others come to it later---sometimes as a result of a life-crisis which may force a re-evaluation.
Some of the people who present themselves as patients in a therapy office are on this path.