Sunday, January 26, 2020

Who Are You?

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay 

There is a lot of talk about personal identity. And I was pondering what that really means. Imagine you are entering a room full of people. Some are people you know and a few are people unknown to you. So one of your friends is speaking with one of the unknown people when your friend is asked who you are. What does your friend say?

And I imagined that for me it was clear to me that even your closest friend wouldn't be able to explain all of who you are. Each person that knows you would probably have different beliefs about who you are.

If a stranger walks up to you at a gathering and asks "Who are you?" What would you reply?

You might start by telling them your name. And even that might be different to others. Think of all the names that you have gone by. You have had nicknames. If you are a woman you may have taken your husband's name. And there are names for the various roles you have played in your life: Son or Daughter, Mother or Father, and all of the relationship names like that: uncle, aunt, cousin, gramdpa grandma, etc.

And, of course, none of them are all of who you are. Humans are very social in nature and have myriad roles. There are even diminutive names like Honey, Sweetie, etc. 

And interesting exercise I often used in groups was to list all the nicknames we have for men and women. We discover that most of the social names for women are for baby animals or other weak images. Whereas the men's social names are for more powerful or "hard" images. The labels spellings often are more vowels or soft letters for females and more hard consonants for male. Try it. Make a list.

So our identities are shaped by the language we use. And we even might have different perspective of who we are, one that no one else knows. What kind of self-talk goes on in your head? Do you have a positive image of yourself? Or do you think you are less than what others believe you to be.

So, who are you? Try exploring your identity. And if it isn't positive, make some changes in how you think about yourself, how you behave, how you feel. Our identity may not be obvious, so it might be a helpful thing to spend some time exploring all the things you are and want to be. 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

I Don't Know

                                                              Image by Robin Higgins

My creativity is lacking this week. I don't know what to write about.

And that got me to thinking about how much I don't know. Have you ever thought about that? While my seventy-seven years of life has taught me many things, there are far more things that I DON'T know!

Usually when I'm thinking of a blog post I search a subject on line or in a book (the kind with paper pages :-) ). But I'm so dull this week that I couldn't even decide on a subject to research. So this is what you get: consider what you don't know as a fact.

Discount the multitude of things you believe but have no facts to back it up. That is still a big number.

I know that gravity exists, but I don't know what it actually is. I know there are sciences that explain it, but I don't know what they have to say. And, frankly, I don't really care. I'm o.k. not knowing.

And I guess that is true of many things that I don't know. Because if I cared to know I could be seeking the answers, and I'm not. At least this week I'm not.

What about you? What do you know that you know because you have facts to back it up? And what do you not care enough about to learn?

Some blog post, right?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Did You Resolve To Expand Your Mental and Emotional Well-being?


                                           Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Our thoughts and our feelings are intertwined. What we think about something determines 
what we feel about that something. Most of the time we aren't at all aware of that inter-

If you are over-reacting emotionally, take a breath and check what you are thinking. 
Then determine if those thoughts are logical. When I was teaching prison inmates to 
take more care of their emotions that get them so upset that they act out and they get 
negative consequences when they act out on those emotions. I would use the example
of two different inmates who receive the same news and how thoughts can get them
out of control.

Inmates A and B come back from visitation after hearing from their spouse or girlfriend
that she is pregnant. Inmate A has been incarcerated for more than a year of his sentence.
Inmate B has only been in prison for three months. Now either inmate's spouse or girl-friend 
could have been sleeping around.  But Inmate A is certain it isn't his baby, whereas Inmate B 
believes his sexual partner has been with no one but him. 

Either inmate could feel betrayed. But inmate B prefers to think she is pregnant with his
baby. And he feels happy, exited, because he's always wanted to be a dad. 

That is an over-simplification, of course. But it shows that we have more control over
our emotions that we realize. The choice to have positive thoughts goes a long way to 
making us feel and behave better. 

I don't suggest that you have no feelings. Far from it. Emotions are important in decision 
making and in relationships. And to block our emotions can cause all sorts of problems. But
if you find yourself getting upset over little things, it might be a good time to consider which
thoughts you are encouraging. Try pulling back and looking at situations from more than one

My grandmother was an expert in this. she could always find something positive in every
situation. She didn't deny the negativity but balanced it with positive thoughts. She was a very
lovely woman  who didn't let life batter her.

When you are exploring your thoughts, take a couple of seconds to ask if your thought
is true/real. This is especially important in relationships.And then ask yourself "how
important is it for me to think this way. What else could it mean."

When my spouse and I were courting, they were always late to things. I believed that reflected
a passive aggressive behavior. And would be on guard or disappointed that I wasn't 
important enough for them to be on time. 

Then we learned about the various personalities. We each had different personalities and
had different perspectives on time. For me, time was a straight line. But their personality
saw time as a rubber band and tried to cram everything into the stretchy band. Once we 
understood that the behavior wasn't about me at all, I felt comfortable talking about it with-
out being angry

Check it out. Go to the mall and sit and people watch. Purposely  look for negative things about 
each person. Their clothes might be wrinkles or colors not go together, or some other thing
you see as a flaw. You'll probably start feeling bad yourself. You might even start thinking 
about all of your own flaws.

Switch to finding something positive about each person. You might even give someone 
a compliment. Smile at people who catch your eye. Pass that positive feeling around. Make
the world a better place by looking for the good in it.

Image by Pixaline from Pixabay 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Did You Resolve to Be More Fit?

                                               Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

One of the more common New Year's resolutions is to be more fit physically. Even if you don't formally make those New Year's resolutions, you probably had an idea of what you want to change in 2020. New Year's resolutions help us set forth in the direction of something we want to change. Plotting your course is important, no matter what goals you may have.

So, in order to reach your goal you need to know how to measure it, why you want it, and what you are willing to do to get it. Things like weight goals are easy to measure - you know where you want your weight to be when you reach your goal. Pounds are track-able and measurable. You can set out objectives for a few pounds at a time; breaking down the process into measurable objectives. All you need for that is a scale.

If your goal is to change your weight, either up or down, you need to be clear on why you want it. It only really works to make changes be personal to you. If you are doing it to please someone else, that never works in the long run. Maybe you want to improve your health by losing a certain number of pounds. Or you want to feel better about yourself because your extra pounds feel unattractive. (Be careful of this reason, because if you are doing it to attract someone specifically, you need to realize that you can't control anyone but yourself.) 

Or maybe you want to be more fit, have more stamina or strength. You are just feeling sluggish or you tire too easily. Being more active can help that. But how to measure it?  Can you measure how sedentary you are? Maybe you could begin by getting up from sitting or lying down every so many minutes. You stand up and walk around your desk and sit again. Even that small behavior change can get you started. 

Or you can start walking more, farther. Or you can use the stairs more that use the elevator. You could start by counting your steps with a pedometer. Set measurable objectives so you can mark progress on your way to being more fit.

If you are good at following a diet, pick one you think fits with your lifestyle and track your 
successes. Or maybe you could eliminate one particular food. Have you ever tried an elimination diet? You eliminate grains for one week and notice if you feel better. Or you eliminate simple sugars for a week, or dairy, etc. You might find that you are sensitive to certain foods that make you feel sluggish. Many people are sensitive to dairy and find they have less joint pain without it.

Get to know your body and how it works for or against you. Chose a way to your goal that works for you. It may take a while to learn what your body needs or to what. it responds poorly.

The longest journey begins with the first step, you know. So set your sights on your goal and keep going. You can enlist someone to help you, maybe join a group that wants to change the way you do, or a group that is already doing what you want to do. You don't have to do it alone.

Just start. Do it!