Saturday, November 28, 2009

If God Only Gives Us What We Can Handle

Than why do so many people commit suicide?

The Girl With All The Answers

Apparently I always think I’m right. This at least is what I have recently been told by two people close to me. I always think I’m right. Of course this observation from them is just dripping with pejorative undertones and overtones and around-all-the-sides-tones. This is apparently a deep flaw in my personality.

I always think I’m right. How dare I.

So… I got to thinking, what exactly is wrong with thinking I’m right? Thinking I am right means simply that I have come to a conclusion about some particular topic which we happen to be discussing. I have done the requisite research where applicable, I have made the requisite observations, I have investigated my feelings about the matter and I have formed an opinion that suits me. By extension it would be fair and safe to say that I believe my opinion on the matter to be correct. That doesn’t mean it is not subject to change based on new evidence, it doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to hear another side to the matter nor does it indicate that I am not willing to change my opinion. It means that at this moment in time at the start of this conversation between you and me this is the hypothesis that I bring to the table regarding this matter and yes, at this moment I think I am right. It also does not mean that after hearing your new evidence, your opinions, your arguments that I won’t continue to think I am right.

I suspect that this observation of theirs about me is pretty accurate and I suspect that it is because by the time I am ready to offer an opinion on a topic I have made thoughtful consideration and I am ready to adopt my point of view and sometimes I am ready to share that point of view. If we are talking about the mating habits of sloths then I’m generally apt to keep my mouth shut because I don’t know the first thing about the mating habits of sloths.

If thinking I'm right is wrong than I don't want to be right.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dear People With All The Ideas About What's Wrong:

I appreciate your ideas, I really do, and I want to hear them I really do because how else will I know what needs to be changed, how else will I know what needs to be improved upon unless I hear from the people that are out there in the trenches actually getting their hands dirty?
However, all you people with big ideas about everything that is wrong and everything that needs changing, I cannot implement your ideas by just the sweat of my own brow. I cannot do it alone.

So when you come to me with your ideas about how to improve the process or make it work better or make yourself feel better please be prepared to offer up your own elbow grease in the interests of making your great ideas reality. It is all well and good that you have opinions and ideas but along with those opinions and ideas what I really need, what I really, REALLY need is people to EXECUTE those ideas, to put in the hard work that is required to bring those ideas to fruition. So if you’re not willing to put your money and your sweat and blood where your mouth is than your ideas become less of a priority to me.

Dear People To Whom the People with Ideas About What’s Wrong Come To:

If you don’t listen to the people with ideas, if you don’t provide them a chance to be a part of making things better or worse yet if you completely ignore them when they come to you, if you never, ever act upon their suggestions when they are laid at your table then they will stop coming to you and they will not be there to help you when you really need them.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There But for the Grace of God

For some crazy reason it hit me today that this statement is absurd. So let’s say I’m walking down the street and I see a homeless person and I think to myself “there but for the grace of God go I” as so many of us do, and I feel sufficiently humbled that some people have to live in the streets and I feel a little bad that I make a good salary and I’m going to home to a warm house and a home-cooked meal and I have people around me, people who care, I’ve got my health and I have a few bucks in my pocket to blow on coffee at Starbucks (which I might add I would never do because Starbucks has the worst coffee on the face of the earth). I have a good job, a nice home in a nice town and I get to take nice vacations at the seashore every year. And this guy is homeless. Got nothing but what he can carry with him and he sleeps on a subway grate at night covered by a box.

There but for the grace of God.

Which means that for some reason God has seen fit to offer me His grace but not this poor gentleman who is homeless, penniless and blanket-less?

This phrase does not work.

It is right up there with the exclamation that tragedies are somehow “God’s will”. I actually heard somebody say that several years ago when numerous children were gunned down at a schoolhouse in an Amish community in Pennsylvania. One of the parents of the dead children used this very phrase, acquiescing her dead child to God’s will. Are you kidding me? This is God’s will? With gods like that who needs ruthless, blood-thirsty dictators?

Seriously are there truly people out there that could think that God offers his grace to me but not you? Or that crazy, out of control gunmen running rampant in schools is part of God’s plan? What the hell kind of plan is that?

It boggles the mind, seriously.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Selfishness of Suicide

The following is a direct quote from an anonymous blogger out there in Bloggerland, USA

“suicide is THE most selfish act you could possibly do. In that moment you are thinking only of yourself with no consideration for what anybody else may be feeling”.

That would be the holier-than-thou viewpoint from the proverbial Ivory Tower.

When I am contemplating suicide and I have a husband and children who love me, I have co-workers that respect and care for me, I have parents and brothers and sisters and long-time friends who have been true-blue and trustworthy let me just state unequivocally that I know that there are people who care for me. I know that. I think about it all the time. I agonize over it, I force myself to make it matter, I berate myself for even thinking of leaving these people.

I have endured what at times has been unendurable pain for months or even years in the knowledge that I have people who love me and want to help me. And I endure all of this because I am trying so hard not to be selfish, I am trying so hard to do the human thing and put the needs of others ahead of my own.

So here’s my question:
At what point do I get to put my needs ahead of the needs of others? At what point do I get to put my need to get relief from my pain ahead of your need not to feel sadness? At what point do I get to think about me? At what point do I come first or is it always supposed to be you? Do I ever get to do that? Does it ever get to be me instead of you?

Disclaimer: Ok so that was more like seven questions but they all pretty much point to the same question and for the record I am not suicidal. Some things you just know and others, well others as we can see by the anonymous blogger referenced above, other things you don't have the first clue about and so you should just keep your mouth shut.

Caring for the Therapist and the Art of Being Therapeutic

So if every now and then a client feels the need to take care of their therapist, e.g. if the therapist is sick, the client detects this and just for that hour takes the initiative to go easy on the therapist, isn’t that a normal human need? Isn’t that the client, let’s call us human beings because last time I looked that’s what we are, isn’t that the expression of the need of one human being to care for another human being? Isn’t the desire of the client to care for the therapist a display of a basic human need that says I can see you need something and I can give it to you right now so let me express my basic human need to care for you just for this one time in this controlled place in this very small way.

And isn’t it inherently ‘therapeutic’ to let that human being express that need in the form of sympathy and gentleness and caring concern even if it is the client giving that to the therapist?
Sometimes I think that the whole therapy process can get so tied up in acknowledging and concentrating on what ‘we’ need, for example I am the client, I need love, I need affection, I need care and empathy and concern, I need, I need, I need, I NEED to get my needs met that it forgets that one of our greatest needs is to EXPRESS our love to another, EXPRESS our care and concern and empathy, to EXPRESS our need to address the needs of others. Part of therapy is all about learning to identify and express your feelings. Well you know what? I NEED to express my feelings of love and concern and care for others and sometimes those ‘others’ include the person of my therapist sitting across from me for that hour each week.

I know, I know, it is not in the interest of the client that this should become the pattern of the therapy, I understand that. But every now and then if you therapists could give us the opportunity to express our care and concern for you and to allow us to see that you can be comfortable with receiving that small level of care from us I do think that you would be exhibiting your skills as a therapist in an exceptional way.

We as human beings NEED to give as much as we get and THAT…. Is therapeutic.