Posts Tagged With: being human

Day 1072: One label fits all

I’ve written before (here, here, here, here, and here) about the cognitive distortion of labeling:

Labeling or Name-calling.
We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. 

I often witness people labeling themselves harshly.  Whenever I hear an unhelpful label, I invite people to consider changing that label to something less toxic and more conducive to growth and healing. 

Yesterday, in therapy, when I heard the labels “lazy” and “stupid,” I suggested an all-purpose, one-size-fits-all  replacement to any unhelpful, habitual label.

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Human.

Let’s see if this works.  Imagine, for the moment, any harsh label you apply to yourself, especially during times of anxiety, depression, and stress.  Now, replace that label with this:

Human.

Did that work?

How might you humans label any of these other photos I snapped yesterday?

How might you label this whole post?

Thanks to all humans who helped me create this one-label-fits-all post and special thanks to all those who are  finding this blog fit to visit, here and now.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1049: Essence

What is the essence of the word “essence”?

es·sence
ˈesəns
noun
the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.
“conflict is the essence of drama”
synonyms: quintessence, soul, spirit, nature
PHILOSOPHY
a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.
plural noun: essences
an extract or concentrate obtained from a particular plant or other matter and used for flavoring or scent.
synonyms: extract, concentrate, distillate, elixir, decoction, juice, tincture

Yesterday, I had an interesting discussion about essence with Newell, Lisa, and Michelle …

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… showing their essences there, left to right.

Newell — who arranged last night’s reunion of people who worked together for years at a psychiatric day treatment program —  broached the subject of essence almost immediately, which reflects the essence of Newell. Newell told us he essentially believes we all have an essence that never changes.  I noted the essence of irony there, since our work focused on the essence of change. I also wondered whether our essence was immortal.

My essence loves the essences of the three people in that photo.

Earlier in the day, I experienced the essence of several things, at Whole Foods Market …

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…  my local Honda dealership …

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… and a watch and clock shop.

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I’m thinking that one of those clocks might have the perfect essence for my new office in Newton, Massachusetts. Which clock would your essence choose?

Finally, here’s the essence of Lisa’s adorable dog …

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Bella.

What do you think is the essence of this post? Does “My Immortal” by Evanescence capture its essence?

Here and now, I’m happy to share the essence of my gratitude for Newell, Lisa, Michelle, music, animals, time, things that change and things that stay the same, and — of course! — you.

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 333: Leaving room

Much to my surprise, I haven’t used this title for a post before.

Why am I surprised?  Because “leaving room” is something very important to me.

I think it’s important to leave room for:

  • People’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
  • The possibility of change.
  • The messiness of life.
  • Our wishes to control all of the above (even when we can’t).

I think it’s important to leave room for all of it.*

In this post, I’m trying to leave room for my experience and for yours, too.

Question: I wonder how I am doing?

Answer: I think I’m doing well enough, so far.

Before I end, I would like to include an image.  Or perhaps a sound bite.

It’s wonderful to engage different senses, isn’t it?

Checking my iPhone for photos that might fit the bill ….

Aha!

On our way to a family get-together yesterday, we saw these, crossing the road (to get to the other side):

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Can you see what those are? Maybe not. Especially since my introduction to the photo was misleading.**

If you couldn’t tell, here’s a closer shot:

Image

Yes, indeed.

It was wonderful to make room for turkeys, especially on Thanksgiving Day in the USA, 2013.

Thanks for making room for all of it, today.

_________________________________

* Including many things that didn’t make the list today.

** In case you don’t know the joke, here it is:

Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Answer: To get to the other side.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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