I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it made me think. First of all, is “tryer” really a word? I can already see some children’s show character singing to children “be a tryer.” But are tryers really winners? Obviously you have to try in order to win or you’ll lose by default. But I don’t think that the action of trying automatically makes you a winner. I heard someone say that people are not remembered for what they avoided, but for what they’ve overcome. Being a tryer puts you ahead of the non-tryers but it doesn’t guarantee success. Nobody remembers who came in 6th, they remember who won. Being a tryer is a good thing, but you can’t get caught up in the fact that you tried. Make greatness a goal because tryers aren’t winners, but winners are tryers.
There’s a huge difference between wanting something and someone. I think that a lot of times it’s easy to group both of these things in the same category. It’s our human nature to want what we don’t currently have. It’s easy, convenient, and can be a reflection of who we truly are inside. However, wanting an inanimate or a tangible object–even to accomplish a certain goal is very different from wanting a person. When you want something, you can work towards it. You can take the necessary steps needed to acquire what you want. Not the same with a person. When you’re dealing with a person, you are dealing not only with them but their background, values, and even their environment. Despite all your best efforts, you can’t make anyone “belong” to you. You can’t scheme around that. If you don’t meet their definition of attractiveness/beauty, you’re pretty much attempting to row upstream without a paddle. It’s easier to plan to get something and to execute the plan than to execute the same plan with a person. There’s too many variables out of your control when you’re dealing with another person. The odds are rarely ever in your favor.
I’m always a little wary of any term that starts with the word “self” and then has a dash. I guess you can blame it on the fact that I’m a systemic thinker. Every person is influenced in some way by their environment, their family, and their friends. However, self-regulation is a term that I’ve come to like because of my experiences in my environment. Self-regulation is a skill that many people don’t have. We’ve all seen people when they are getting escalated or extremely angry and all of a sudden they blow their top and do or say something extremely stupid. I’m willing to bet that some of these people were the kids who had temper tantrums until their parents got tired of it and gave into their demands. Not cool. I think of self regulation as the ability to calm down and take a step back from the situation because you know that it’s getting out of hand. Unfortunately, self-regulation also requires self-awareness–which also is extremely rare. I see this all the time in the couples I work with. They start arguing over something completely mundane and before you know it, both just start slinging mud at each other. Emotions are high and each person feels the need to defend him or herself by “proving” that the other person’s actions were way worse. The past gets brought up and before you know it, both people are so dis-regulated they don’t want to have anything to do with each other. But what if this cycle didn’t have to happen? Most people can identify when they’re irritated or annoyed by something and many times they know exactly what that “something” is. I’m not an advocate of avoiding issues, but sometimes taking a break from an argument and then coming back to it when you’re calm and are thinking clearly can save a LOT of unnecessary stuff. When you’re mad, chances are that you aren’t thinking straight. You’re not calm or even able to hear the other person’s point of view. Taking a few minutes or hours to remove yourself from the situation or even to take 15 deep breaths can help you to think more clearly and to stick to the topic at hand instead of using it as an opportunity to bring up anything and everything from the past in order to get it off your chest. You’ll be able to choose your words more deliberately without the fuel of extreme anger. Definitely easier said than done but still worth a try.
One of the ways that I conceptualize human interactions is though the lens of what I call the law of averages. Having been in school for the past five consecutive years, I’ve learned a lot about averages as I’ve gone through classes. Every class in its syllabus lines out what is expected in order to get an “A” in the course. In my undergraduate and high school years, an “A” was a 93% or higher. One of things that I did as I was going through a class would be to constantly average out my assignments so I knew what grade I needed to get in order to get an “A.” Doing this was really helpful for anxiety because I knew that even if I barely passed certain quizzes, I would make it up on the test or the bonus work. With most couples that I see, the good times are really good and the bad times are really bad. One of the questions that I ask in therapy is: What’s been the average of the relationship? Has trust, honesty, genuineness, and love been present the majority of the time? One of my teachers once told me that no one care about the middle part. A good beginning and a strong ending is what really matters. So if you have a good foundation in your relationship and you can learn to reconnect after a heated discussion, argument, or difference in opinion, then the fights won’t be such a threat to the quality of the relationship. It takes time to build that between people but the end product is well worth the work involved.
Security. We all want it in some way or another. We all know a little kid who keep a blanket or some item with him or her all the time and it serves as a source of security. I think that as we get older, we look more for relational or financial security because we see it as important. One thing that I’ve noticed about myself more is that while I really appreciate and enjoy flexibility, security and stability are slowing climbing the list of my priorities. And it seems as if life is throwing me the curveball of extra flexibility. My mind is always going and I always have ideas but I tend to stick to what I know sometimes instead of venturing out into the big black unknown. But I feel a change coming as I start to plan going to a higher level of flexibility–or even something different. I tend to over-plan and analyze because I have an attraction to the concept of security. However, it’s time for me to crawl out of the box of my comfort zone and to experience more of what life has to offer. We’ll see how it goes….
This motto has honestly probably affected a lot of people in some way or the other. It was the name of 50 Cent’s album that he released in 2003 and was certified platinum eight times. I think that I can identify with this statement in the sense I can’t even put into words how much I ABSOLUTELY hate not having the money to do what I want to in life. Now, being alive beats being dead. However, I think that there’s a marked difference between being alive and having a LIFE. I’ve noticed that the people telling me that “money isn’t everything” usually don’t have it. In NO way am I saying that if you don’t have money, you might as well be dead because that would be stupid. But I AM saying that having money can improve one’s quality of life. I’d bet a lot of money that there are millions of people who would quit their jobs if they suddenly became independently wealthy. They would travel, buy houses, go on vacations and do all the things that they’ve always wanted to do. Yet they’re trapped living paycheck to paycheck at a job that they hate with bosses they can’t stand. I don’t want that life. There’s something inside of me that refuses to be part of the mainstream. The choice to do better starts with a desire to do better. I’ve been able to meet a few people whose ambition I admire. They’re gone against the grain and worked hard to be successful. It’s easy to be mediocre but it takes work to be great. Why not take the time to surround yourself with people that are doing better than you? You only have one life to live and it would really suck if you wasted it doing things that you hated because you stayed in “survival mode” for decades. There’s something about someone’s drive to succeed that is very motivating. Excellence never happens by accident. There’s always a strategy involved. “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” or “Stay Broke and Live Survivin'” The choice is yours.
I think we all know someone who always complains about being single. Every single person they meet is immediately “the one.” This happens multiple times in multiple years. While I get that we all on some level want a connection with someone, I feel that desperation is never attractive. When someone tries too hard, it a huge turn off. The same applies to helplessness. Acting like you can’t do anything on your own and you need approval from someone else is the perfect recipe to cramping your style. It’s easy to lose yourself when you change for other people. And even after you’ve made all these changes, chances are that everyone still won’t like you. Why go through that? Being desperate or “thirsty” should never be an option because it puts you in a really bad position where you almost have to take what you are given. Have some standards. There’s already enough people in the world without them.
Lately, I’ve been working on becoming more self aware. One part of this process was taking a personality test. I had to take about 4 of them in my undergraduate program because it was required and my teachers wanted us to all be aware of our various personalities and how it would affect our careers. Since then, I haven’t taken other test except for one that told you what your personality was after you picked colors in a certain sequence. That being said, this new test that I took really was eye-opening. It was called the DISC assessment and I had never heard of it before but apparently it’s pretty popular. Scoring the test after I took it was pretty intense but I was somewhat surprised with the results. I scored almost exactly the same for two of the personality types. I was a “C” for conscientious and “D” for dominance. And while these personality types were both task oriented, the “C” was more analytical and methodical in finding information. In contrast the “D” was more dominant and more likely to act out of impulse when making decision and was also more ego-centric. The test was actually pretty accurate and I could see situations where both personality traits were used. I was somewhat surprised at the Dominant aspect because I’m not someone who has to always be applauded. Sure, I like power and influence, but who doesn’t? I do love a good challenge and if I don’t think that I can do it, I’m always going to push myself to the limit to see if it’s possible. I like to work independently and I’m pretty decent at managing troubles. In fact, I once was able to convince a stranger over the phone not to press legal action on the place where I was working. I really feel as if my personality is a mixture of my environment and social interactions and I’ve noticed that I’m somewhat of a chameleon and I can easily blend in when I’m with groups of people. If you haven’t taken a personality test, I’d definitely recommend it. You’ll learn a lot. Guaranteed.
Feelings DO matter–in certain situations. However there are times in our lives that we don’t feel like doing anything. We’re frustrated, energy levels are low, and sometimes we’re just upset. You can’t allow how you feel to always dictate your life. There’s a difference between being aware of your feelings and planning your life based on how you feel at the moment. It’s all about maturity and being able to differentiate between what you FEEL and what you KNOW–which could be two totally different entities. Keep your end goal in mind and realize that where you want to be matters a lot more than your present feelings about it.
All of us at some point in time have either experienced personally or heard stories of unrequited love. There are dozens of movies where the main characters never actually get together and we are all somewhat let down by this turn in the script. It’s easy to feel that if you love someone they’ll love you back. However, reality often paints a totally different picture. I remember hearing someone tell me that if two people meet and they click, the relationship is automatically dysfunctional because all humans are naturally attracted to dysfunction. I tend to disagree to some extent with that perspective because I think that healthy, well-adjusted, and emotionally intelligent people can have really successful relationships without some of the usual dysfunction. No one wants to be in love alone. It sucks. However, one characteristic of emotional maturity in my opinion is that you can recognize when something is a lost cause. Not because you’re admitting failure, but because you’re accepting the reality of the situation. When you’ve done all you can to show interest in a person and let them know that there is an interest, there’s no need to beat yourself up if they don’t return that interest in you. We can’t make people like us or even make them love us. Continuing to push your love and affection on someone who doesn’t want it is a COMPLETE waste of time. If they wanted you or were in a place emotionally where they could accept and return affection, they would. But to do the same thing over and over again, hoping that the other individual will change and miraculously like you back is pretty much the definition of insanity. Time is money and it is a waste of emotional energy to continue emotionally giving while hoping for a different result than you’ve got.