One thing that I hear from time to time is that good men don’t exist anymore. Hearing this assertion both irritates and annoys me because it’s usually said by someone who is bitter and still scarred from a previous experience. And while I get that this opinion usually comes from some sort of frustration, I don’t think that it makes a lot of sense. Logically, if you say that there are no good men left, you have to actually know what a good man IS. This definition of a good man should not be generated from a romance novel or some tear-jerking chick flick movie because it’s unrealistic. I think that a lot of women are caught up in this Hollywood/romantic novel ideal of a knight in shining armor that has no flaws, a six pack, and a very comfortable six figure job. I’ve never had any problem locating decent guys and that’s actually an accomplishment considering the fact that I live in the middle of NOWHERE. They are rare, but they exist. You just have to know where to look and also WHAT you’re looking for. But you have to keep in mind that a lot of times a good man may not always be the best looking, most outgoing, or the most attractive. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that he actually exists. It just may not be in the packaging that you want.
If I wasn’t in the counseling/social work field one of my ultimate dream jobs would be to live in a little apartment off of a library and just read books all day. However since that is so obviously unrealistic, my second job choice would be a private investigator. The character trait of being nosy was directly passed down to me genetically from my mother and it has not diminished in my adult years. I learned from an early age how to look things up in courthouses and then later online. I remember looking up property deeds with my mom and finding out how much people paid for their houses (it’s public record). I think that my nosy personality is the reason why TV shows like Catfish are so intriguing to me. How someone can be in a relationship for years with someone who they’ve never met or even seen on Skype or Facetime. It requires a lot of trust that I do not possess. Come to think of it, part of my job as a therapist is to be nosy—but with a specific purpose in mind. I ask “nosy” questions because they inform the techniques and interventions that I use in the therapy room. I also like discovering information outside the realm of my profession. My friends tease me that I need to acquire more information the old fashioned way–by just asking people. But I digress. My point is that sometimes it actually pays to be nosy. You can find out a LOT about someone by a) talking to them, and b) doing a simple Google search. And who knows, you might be able to save yourself from a lot of hurt and unexpected surprises if you can do it before your feelings get involved. Kinda like a preliminary screening. But maybe that’s just me….
There are so many definitions of love floating around. We’ve all heard of the term “falling in love” and I think that many times people get caught up in the hype that love is a feeling 100% of the time. I won’t deny that those fluttery butterflies in your stomach aren’t cute, but that’s not the most long term aspect of love. Many times people say that they can’t help that they fell in love with someone. While I’m not discounting their experience, I think that it’s indeed possible to pick someone to fall in love with. Doing so requires self awareness and self control. I’ve noticed people who turn a blind eye to huge hints about a side of their significant other’s character that isn’t pleasant. All in the name of love. They loudly proclaim that they can forgive any faults because they “love” this specific individual. The eyelids of love are closed. They’re “blind” and not thinking clearly because emotions have won the battle between reality and how they feel. I’m pretty big on planning and I like to know what I’m getting into before I actually commit to it. I believe that love should be the same way. Just like the human eye blinks as a way to moisturize and get impurities out, I think that loving someone involves seeing past certain character flaws (eyelids closed) while acknowledging the role that these flaws will play in the relationship (eyes open). I’m not talking about having standards that are so high that nobody will ever measure up. I’m referring to being able to look at both pros and cons with a balanced outlook that isn’t tainted by something as temporary as feelings. Let’s face it. Feelings change. That’s why you should know what you’re getting before you decide it’s what you’ve waited all your life for. Keep both eyes open but remember to blink.
I consider myself an undercover touchy feely person. I say undercover because in no way, shape, or form does it appear that way to many people that know me. I’m the person who would much rather sit by myself than be commanded to “turn to my neighbor” or “give my neighbor a hug.” Quite frankly, I find it awkward and extremely annoying. This often happens in church-like settings where apparently the leader of some sort is trying to break the ice and apparently build lifelong bonds between people in the audience. Call me mean, but that’s not my intention. I don’t mind meeting new people and I have a nosy personality that seeks to find out what makes someone tick. I like to hear life stories and get advice and direction from people with a different perspective. However, I’m not down (and may not ever be) with hugging perfect strangers and telling them that I love them because I was told to do so. I remember reading somewhere that giving or receiving hugs can help the body and improve mental health. While I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with this, in my case hugs with perfect strangers do not count towards my “daily hug quota.” I don’t usually even know the person’s name. But refusing a hug creates one of the most awkward moments–especially if you don’t know the person. I honestly think that a hug in this type of situation is a type of meaningless affection. It means nothing. Conveys nothing. Accomplishes nothing. Now I know that other people would disagree with me and I’m sure that there are plenty of people who hug perfect strangers because there is a legitimate purpose. But in this situation, hugging someone because you were told to do so does not count as a legitimate reason with an actual purpose. Humans can be so trained to do whatever someone tells them to do because they have some sort of title. Makes no sense to me. Will I ever sit next to someone and inform them that I don’t do hugs from strangers? Probably not. But will I continue to cringe in my head whenever I hear a “turn to your neighbor?” Yup. What can I say? I just feel more comfortable hugging people I actually know.
These words are so true in my opinion. As soon as I saw the picture I knew that I had to write on it. First off, I’m not a very patient person. I don’t usually have a problem waiting, but I do have a problem patiently waiting. One of the hardest situations for me is being in a situation where I can’t occupy myself with something else while I’m waiting. I recently got called for jury duty and I had an extremely hard time sitting in a room with nothing to do for a few hours with a several hundred people waiting for my number to be called. But I digress. The point of the picture as it pertains to patience is that patience is extremely hard to come by when you are waiting for everything. There are numerous rags to riches stories of people who went to poverty and still were patient and believed that their circumstances would not be forever. The second part of the picture talks about attitude. I think that we’ve all known someone or even been in a position ourselves where we’ve gotten a raise, promotion or some sort of upgrade in life and our attitude changes. Your thinking won’t change just because the amount of material possessions that you own did. I think that having “everything” is a magnifying glass on your true attitude. It’s interesting how our circumstances can be so revealing of who we really are as people. They can shape our perspective and make us more trusting or more suspicious of others. They can not only change us, but also show others our true colors and motives.
I think that everyone at some point in their childhood desired or wanted to be like someone else. Whether it was a character from a TV show, or even a person that had admirable qualities. I think that you can tell a lot about a person by who they name as their hero. I think that we pick heroes based on our own perception of our deficiencies. We pick role models based on the fact that we see something in them that we want to emulate in our own lives. I don’t remember having a lot of heroes growing up. While I admire and respected certain people for their accomplishments, I can’t honesty say that I remember declaring that so and so was my hero (or shero). I know people who have the opportunity to be mentored by other people who they consider their heroes. While I love the idea of having a mentor, role model, and hero all rolled into one person, I wonder how realistic it is to expect to encounter that. In my work with kids in the therapy room, I’ve noticed that the term “hero” can have many different meanings. I think that our heroes change as we grow older and develop our own unique perspectives. Take a minute this week to think about who your hero is and what qualities that they had (or have) that you are still working towards then jot down some ideas of what you can do or focus on to practice some of these qualities.
I’ve encountered a lot of people recently who have gotten into situationships instead of relationships. A situationship occurs when you get into a psudo-relationship with someone else because you’re going through a hard time in your life or you’re facing a lot of situational stress. The bottom line is that you aren’t thinking clearly. Many people in these situations are emotionally vulnerable and they easily settle for someone who appears good for them because they are tired of being alone. However, when they discover that they’ve made the wrong choice, they still don’t do anything differently. I personally think that some of the most dysfunctional relationships are born out of desperation. People want the ideal relationship but never actually take the time to think through their actions. We are friends with people we don’t like. We marry people we don’t like. We even have children with people we don’t like. This does nothing but add to the confusion and chaos in our lives. We (including myself) have to come to a point where we stop doing permanent things with temporary people and expecting everything to work out. It’s important to realize that it is so much easier to slip into a situationship than it is to take the time to grow and build a genuine relationship. Remember that situationships are just that. Situational. They have a very low likelihood of ever succeeding because you’ll realize that you don’t need or even want a situationship any more after the situation has passed. They’re a temporary fix to a long term problem. Stop settling for people you never even wanted in the first place. You’ll never get back the time you wasted.
I totally agree with this picture. While I don’t think that you have to be standoffish and mean, I think that less is more when it comes to letting people get super close to you. I know that everyone is human and we all make mistakes and that we can’t expect perfection from our friends but it’s still ok to be cautious before spilling your guts to someone you call a friend but have only known a short time. Someone once said that you should never trust anyone who only has new friends because that’s an indication of the quality of their prior relationships and friendships. Sometimes doing more groundwork on the front end of a friendship or a relationship can save you a lot of heartache and hurt down the road. One thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m somewhat of an extremist when it comes to putting the words in this picture into practice. For instance, every person in my life that I consider close and feel that they know me well I’ve known for three years or more. This was not a conscious decision, it was just something that happened and can probably be blamed in some way on my upbringing. But I digress. My point is that it’s good to screen people and to let them prove that they can be trusted before you open the floodgates of your heart and let them 100% into your life.
One thing that never fails to annoy me is when people state emphatically that people in relationships or married people have no business going to or seeking counsel from people who aren’t married. Now on the surface this perspective appears to make a lot of sense. What business do you have going to someone who isn’t in a relationship themselves to get advice? What if you followed this advice and went to someone who was actually married and their advice wasn’t sound because they could only give counsel in the context of their current situation and could only say what they would do if they were you? One of the reasons that I think that this logic is flawed is that when you apply it to other situations it makes absolutely no sense. Do you refuse to be treated by a medical professional because he or she has never experienced your particular medical challenge? Would you refuse the aid of a lifeguard when you’re drowning because he or she has never been in your predicament before? Or better yet, would you ignore a policeman or a fireman when you’re in a dangerous situation because they haven’t been in your shoes? Absolutely not. The reason why we are willing to trust these people and take their suggestions, directions, and counsel so seriously is because we believe that they have skills we don’t possess and we trust in the quality of their training. The same concept applies to therapists. If someone took the time to get the necessary education and gain the right skills, their current relationship status is irrelevant. A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into becoming licensed to provide therapy. In addition to a master’s degree, you have to work in the field for 2 years or more after graduation and complete at least 3000 or more work hours depending on your state. I say all this to say that you should trust the training a therapist has instead of writing him or her off because they aren’t just like you. That’s stupid.
I’ve always respected people who could openly show emotions like sadness or happiness in a demonstrative or vocal way in public settings. That’s never been me. There was a time where I would start to become uncomfortable or feel awkward when someone around me would start to cry loudly. However, I have become much more comfortable with emotion as I have done more crisis work. There’s no more awkwardness because I know where the tissues are located and I’m comfortable with giving people some time to cry it out. But when it comes to me, I’m totally different. I’m not the kind of person that will burst into tears in a large group of people. HOWEVER, as much as I can’t cry for myself in those type of situations, I can just as easily cry at the drop of the hat for someone around me that I know is experiencing. It’s something that I’ve been able to do since I was little. I can easily “tune in” to the emotions of other people and that’s probably one of the reasons why I decided to be a therapist. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to someone who can both empathize but can also challenge you to see things from a different perspective. And honestly, sometimes when someone is going through a really rough or stressful time, they don’t want mountains of advice. They want to feel heard and for someone to cry with them.