Posts Tagged With: courage

Day 1536: How People Change

“How People Change” is a topic  of extreme interest to psychotherapists.

“How People Change” was also  the topic that my therapy group — filled with people who are very interested in change —  discussed yesterday morning.

Therefore, “How People Change” is the topic of today’s post.

I, a person, change every day. However, I do not change certain things — like  including recent photos in my daily blog.

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Because I’m not sure how WordPress is changing the size of that photograph on your current screen, here’s what I wrote about “How People Change” in yesterday’s group:

Everybody changes in different ways.

Flexibility is important!

Changes we choose are much easier to tolerate than changes we do not choose.

We deal with change a lot in this group because people come and go.

After the group, I changed the “angel card” in that description of change, just for the sake of change.

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What do you think of that change, people?

Do you see evidence of how people change in my other photos from yesterday?

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The reality is that I recited/sang these lyrics from the David Bowie song “Changes” in group yesterday.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

See and hear how David Bowie changed singing “Changes” as time changed him (here, here, and here on YouTube)

 

Some people have said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Even though I change all the time, my gratitude  — for all who help me create these posts and for you, my readers — stays the same!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 211: A short (but sweet) post

In any moment, you can learn from anything and anyone you meet.

Including this:

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Thank you, bumper sticker!

And thanks to all my readers, including you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 185: Airing things out

I think it’s good to air things out — to be direct about feelings and thoughts. To get things out in the open.

That’s a lesson I’ve learned, over and over again.

If we keep things inside, they tend to expand in importance. If we keep things hidden away, they tend to breed shame.

I’ve been re-reading some of my own posts this morning, and, boy, do I see THAT as a recurring theme: Airing Things Out (especially things like stress, anxiety, and worry).

By re-reading this morning, I also see that I’ve really been stressed out this year. Duh. I knew I would be — because of the job I’d taken on, and the other random Acts of Courage I might be called on to perform.

I like the word “Courage.” I think it’s appropriate whenever any of us makes a change, ventures out, or risks rejection, failure, or any set-back.

In other words, whenever we go outside, speak our truth, or interact in any way.

I took these pictures yesterday, at work:

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They are airing out the lockers, because of the saw-toothed buggies that had found their way inside. (See here for more about that, in a post about Horror Stories and Non-Horror Stories.)

They got rid of the bugs, without pesticides. They emptied things out, left the doors open, for all to see inside.

(I love metaphors. Can you tell?)

When I walked by the lockers yesterday  I took these pictures, assuming I would use them in a post some day.

If not today, when?

I want to say this, right now: Going into work yesterday, where I saw and took these pictures, was an act of courage. It will be another courageous act, to return there tomorrow.

In addition to naming acts of courage, I think it helps to applaud them. I’ve used applause as a sound effect in posts this year (like here). I’ve also done groups (as a facilitator and a participant) where people have applauded when somebody did something courageous, new, or helpful in any way.

I think applauding helps.  It might seem hokey, or immodest, or awkward.

If so, that’s probably because it’s unfamiliar.

Yesterday, at work, several people spoke about progress they’ve made in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. At one point, I said, “I wish I had some confetti, because I feel like throwing some.”

Where I used to work, we did throw confetti, every once in a while, to celebrate acts of courage and progress people had made.

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That took some time to clean up, I must say.

More fun to clean up than bugs, though. Wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for reading. I hope you celebrate something today  (especially your own courage) (open up and look for it; it’s there).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 172: Direct communication

What are the words that are difficult to say to somebody else?

Often, it’s when we fear that the other person will have a negative reaction, like disappointment.

Here’s why this issue is on my mind this morning:  Somebody at work had made a difficult decision she needed to tell me about. She was afraid I would be disappointed by what she had to say, so she put off telling me, waiting for the “right time.”

The right time hadn’t come yet.

I asked her about it last night, and found out that way.

That is my least favorite way of finding out something difficult.

So when she answered my question with the disappointing news, I felt stunned. The wind got knocked out of me.  I was direct about THAT, by the way. And she and I talked things through. And it’s all okay.

I’ve been on both sides of this situation: being disappointed and disappointing somebody else. (As you have, too, I assume.)

And, I totally relate to the wish to not disappoint somebody. I’ve also experienced reluctance and procrastination about telling somebody something difficult.

However, I am going to make a strong pitch, right now, for direct communication, the sooner the better.

If we have something difficult to tell somebody, if we fear disappointment as a reaction, let’s try this:

  1. Recognize and let go of beliefs that this will damage or destroy the relationship.
  2. Remember that other people are not as fragile as you fear.
  3. Tell yourself you’ve made a difficult decision, and you’ve done the best you can.
  4. Realize that, whatever happens, you’ll learn something.
  5. Take a deep breath.
  6. Say it.

Let’s see if I can practice this — role model it — right now.

(Internal process of preparation.)

(Deep breath.)

I have nothing more to say this morning.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 107: Has the external world changed? I haven’t.

Who knows if that title makes any sense, at all.

I am trying to figure out whether the external world has changed, that much, because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, two days ago. It feels like it has, but that doesn’t mean that it has.

As I and others try to make meaning of this — so we can go on with our lives — I’m experiencing a debate about how safe it is out there.

On the one hand:

The world feels scarier.  Things are getting worse. It’s less safe than before. I am not going to go out into crowded places again.  I will avoid these kinds of public celebrations, since the people who are supposed to protect us didn’t do enough to prevent this from happening.

On the other hand:

Boston feels scarier, but this sort of thing happens, somewhere, a certain amount of the time. It just hasn’t happened this close to home before. If we change how we act because of fear, the people who do these kinds of things have won. 

This is how I’m seeing that “debate,” right now:

It’s the negotiating we do, as we move through life, trying to figure out how safe we are: How much we should venture out, away from what feels safer.

It’s natural to want to protect ourselves.  But how much do we need to do that?

Sometimes I say this to people, who have told me horrifying, trust-mangling stories of things that have happened to them,  “It’s amazing you ever leave home.  How do you do that?”

We figure out how to do that — to venture out there —  to a greater and lesser extent, every day.

Sometimes when we go out there, it feels like the “wrong” thing to do.  Too risky,  Maybe even  foolish, counter-intuitive, the opposite of self-preservation.

Sometimes when we stay in our homes, it feels like the “wrong” thing to do. Phobic. Cowardly. Crazy.

How can we be “smart” about this, and  do the right thing?

What the hell is the “right thing”, anyway?  And if we can’t figure out what the right thing is — when it comes to survival, for cripe’s sake — what the hell should we do?

There’s so much evidence for why any decision we make about safety is “wrong.”  There are so many arguments for both sides of the debate.

I notice that some people I know are more careful than I am about self-protection. They scan the environment for danger, more than I do.

They’ll point out when my shoelaces are untied. They’ll tell me to watch out for cars when I’m crossing the street.

When they do that, I sometimes have a negative reaction. I wonder: Am I taking good enough care of myself?  Do they think I’m not capable of doing that for myself?

Today, I’m thinking that some people are more careful than others, in that regard.  They negotiate that question of how safe it is differently than I do.

That doesn’t mean I’m foolish, though. It just means I’ve made different decisions. It means that I have a different “style” regarding How to Keep It Safe Enough.

Some people, who know me, tell me I’m “fearless.”  I find that so ironic, because I’m scared so much of the time.

I’ve learned to calibrate and adjust for my own fear. That’s what I’ve done, dear reader.  I have learned, as I’ve grown and aged, that the world is not as scary as I fear it is.  Even if sometimes — like today — it feels a lot more scary than it usually does.

I’ve decided to look for what is Not Scary — out there and within other people.  That makes me happier.

It’s riskier, perhaps.  It’s not wrong. It works for me.

It might take me a while to get back to my “base line” — the way I usually negotiate risk and fear — after the images I’ve seen of people being hurt and  the changes that I see, as I look around at my beloved Boston.

But I’ll get there.

And so will you, every time the world seems scarier.  And you’ll do it, the way you always do, in the way that works for you.  But with more experience and wisdom, every time.

Thanks for reading.  Take care of yourself, the way you know how.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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