Posts Tagged With: I statements

Day 2796: Right and wrong

Members of my family are debating what’s right and wrong regarding our cat Oscar’s end-of-life experience.  Twice I have scheduled home euthanasia for Oscar on a Monday and twice I have cancelled that appointment to allow Oscar to move further along to a natural death.  It’s difficult to tell what’s right and what’s wrong with Oscar, because he

  •  continues to engage with us,
  • eats a little every once in a while,
  • rarely shows obvious signs of pain,
  • is very unsteady,
  • is so good-natured he rarely complains, and
  •  is so wonderful that we want as much time with him as we can get.

It might be right and wrong that I scheduled a phone consultation about Oscar’s quality of life tonight and another home euthanasia visit tomorrow (which I might cancel again).

Michael, Aaron, and I have spent many hours discussing what’s right and wrong with Oscar. We wonder if we are being selfish if we keep him alive and we wonder if we are being selfish if we euthanize him. Right and wrong can be subjective, especially in a situation like this one.

I’ve asked Oscar what’s right and wrong for him, but he hasn’t told me.

Do you see right and wrong in my photos from yesterday?

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That last image might show right and wrong ways to respond to a difficult person. With all that’s wrong in the world, it’s right to speak up and effectively act for change.

I sometimes worry that I’m doing wrong even when I’m doing right, so it was nice to get this feedback for my annual review from a doctor I work with:

Ann is the most amazing social worker in Boston. My patients often tell me “Ann is life changing.” She has an ability to connect and help any patient I send her way no matter their story or background. She has had a tremendous impact on even my most challenging complex patients. I would send my own family members to her in a heartbeat. She amazes me more and more each year. I feel so lucky to have her on my team. I have seen her in action a few times (providing therapy to my patients in front of me) and she is clearly a master of masters.
One patient told me “if the world had more Ann Koplow’s it would be a better place. My solution to violence and racism and suffering is to provide each Family an Ann.”

It may not be right for that doctor to claim I’m the most amazing social worker in Boston if she hasn’t met all of them (which she hasn’t), but I defend her right to say it.   I don’t know what’s right or wrong to say about that patient’s proposed solution to violence and racism and suffering.

Here‘s a song that starts with the lyrics “do me wrong, do me right”:

I’ll be lonelier when Oscar leaves us, no matter when or how.  (That last sentence is an “I” statement, a right way to own one’s feelings and minimize defensive reactions.)

There’s nothing wrong about expressing thoughts and feelings, so please express yours in a comment right below this post.

Gratitude always seems right, so thanks to all who help me blog each and every right and wrong day, including YOU.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 255: If you suspect somebody is not doing good enough work for you

If you suspect somebody is not doing good enough work for you (e.g., a lawyer, a contractor, anybody you are paying), what do you do?

I confess, I find that a challenging question.

Here’s how I tend to react to that kind of situation:

  1. I feel some anger. This makes sense, since anger is the human reaction to not getting needs met (especially expressed wishes).
  2. Because I don’t feel that comfortable with anger, I feel confusion.
  3. I ask myself many questions, such as: Am I really understanding what is going on here?  Was I actually clear about my needs and wishes? Did I contribute to the current situation?
  4. I fantasize about firing the person and working with somebody else.
  5. I fantasize about yelling at the person, in some way.
  6. I tell myself that #4 and #5, while attractive,  are not appropriate at this point.
  7. I work towards getting clarification and/or resolution.
  8. If I don’t succeed, repeat 4 – 7.
  9. I work on crafting an  I-Statement which includes (a) my wishes and (b) some consequence to my wishes not being met.
  10. I send that message.

That’s where I am, this morning.

I’m realizing, right now, that the above is not a bad process, even though I’m not thrilled with it. Here’s how I would like to improve that process, moving forward:.

  • Let go of fears that come up during the process.
  • Move off of Step 8 more quickly.
  • Move off of Step 9 more quickly.
  • Actually, move off of every friggin’ step more quickly.

Hmmmm.  If I let go of fears that come up during the process, the rest may take care of itself.

The written part of this post feels finished to me.  How about an image?

Here’s a sample of how Google Images responds to “let go of fears”:

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Okay!

Thanks to Gandhi, polar bears, penguins, courageous creatures everywhere (including bloggers, lawyers, and contractors), and you — of course! — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 240: “I” Statements

At this point in This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I am making some assumptions.

Of course, I make assumptions — and unhelpful judgments —  all the time*. That’s a habit I doubt I will completely break (even if I’m reducing that habit this year).

Here’s an assumption I’ve been making about this blog:

By now, I would have defined all my VIC’s — Very Important Concepts.

Au contraire, mon frere**.

When I was writing yesterday’s post, I assumed that I had already defined the concept of “I-Statements.” However, my blog-post-search indicated that the best I had done, all year, was this reference, on Day 26 (“What we can and cannot change”),  when I was making the point that we cannot change other people:

 It also really helps to clearly state the effect that other people’s behavior has on you, and to express your needs and wishes, and even name consequences, at times.  (I’ll write about “I-statements” in a future post, I’m sure, which is a handy-dandy prescription for more effective interpersonal communication.)

That was it. Nada. No discussion or definition of “I-Statements” since then, for 218 days.

But who cares?

I can define it, now:

I statement
Web definitions
An I-statement is a statement that begins with the word “I”. It is frequently used in an attempt to be assertive without putting the listener on the defensive. It can be used to take ownership for one’s feelings rather than saying they are caused by the other person.***

And here are some I-Statements I want to make, today:

  1. I want to let go of self-labels which don’t help.
  2. I’ve gotten feedback, from other people, that I am NOT some things I fear to be, including:   Too sensitive. Too self-centered. Too indecisive. Not responsive enough.
  3. I AM sensitive, focused on myself, and indecisive at times, and
  4. I AM imperfect in my responsiveness, and
  5. I have shame, sometimes, about how many times I use the word “I”, when I’m communicating, but…
  6. I  still rock!!****

At this point, I’m remembering Garry Shandling, the comedian, talking about “I-Statements” in a monologue on Saturday Night Live:

 I met a new girl at a barbecue, actually, a very pretty girl. Blonde, I think. I’m not sure.  Her hair was on fire. And all she talked about was herself. You know those kind of girls – “I’m hot. I’m on fire!” You know,”Me, me me!” “Help me! Put me out!” Jesus. Some sort of Hollywood chick.

I wish I could find that bit, so you could see and hear Garry Shandling do that, hear his delivery, his intonation.

But I can’t.

What I CAN do is end with another I-Statement (in honor of a 50th anniversary):

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Thanks to Martin Luther King, Garry Shandling, dreamers everywhere, and to you, too,  dear readers.


*”All the time” is an example of All-or-Nothing thinking, but who cares?  I’m using it for emphasis.

** Another comedic quote:  Mel Brooks, in The 2000 Year Old Man.

*** This is, according to Google, from the Wikipedia definition of “I-Statements.”

**** I considered using other “bragging” statements here, like “I’m awesome!” (quoting a member of one of my therapy groups), but this is what I feel most comfortable saying, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 239: Days when confused

I’ve been told that I tend to work towards the positive — hope, connection, possibilities, achievable next steps.

I also like to invite the other side of the positive — let’s call it “the negative,” for now. (I sometimes prefer other terms, like “the shadow” or “disowned feelings”) (including disappointment, which I wrote about here).

We can’t have the positive without the negative, right?

Light is meaningless without dark to help define it.

Up doesn’t exist as a concept without down.

We wouldn’t have the word “day” if not for night. (I suppose that’s arguable, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?)

Okay, I think I’ve made enough deep (if not completely air-tight) justifications to focus on less positive things in this blog today.

Throughout this year, I’ve written some posts about “accelerated learning,” focusing on valuable lessons I’ve been accumulating (including here, here, and here).

Today, I’d like to focus on things I don’t know. Things I can’t seem to figure out. Things that confuse me.

Ready?

Things That Confuse Me

by Ann

  1. How busy everybody seems to be (including me). This confuses me when I’m thinking that a lot of the busy work we’re doing isn’t (a) necessary, (b) helpful, (c) as important as we think it is, or (d) what we really want to be doing.
  2. Modern packaging. There are soooo many sealed products that I just can’t seem to get open without a swiss army knife or a team of experts on hand. (New occupation for the future: Personal Packaging Manipulation Consultant.)

For example:

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At this point in the blog post — rather than discussing endless examples of packages I am confused by and have trouble opening — I will go to the solution-oriented side, and share something I saw on-line this morning:

18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong

Even though that title is using a “You Statement — rather than an “I-statement” — thus easily putting me on the defensive ….

… that title is absolutely correct. I have been using all of those things wrong, dammit!

But, on the other hand, look at all I learned today.

Thanks to geeksugar (for the photo and post about opening up clamshell packaging), BuzzFeed, friends on Facebook and elsewhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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