Who Said You Were Ugly?

December 31, 2011

I went to a program the other evening to join a group for dinner. As I came a bit late, I sat at the only available seat down the end of the table. The gentleman on my left was the only person who’s voice I could hear as the conversation was aimed at the middle of the table. Perhaps it’s my life coach energy, but very quickly this man began to unveil his darkest secrets to me including his belief that he was very ugly. This revelation in the first ten minutes of our discussion was most amazing to me; in fact, no one had ever made such a statement to me. What made this remark that much more astounding, was I thought he was quite nice looking when I sat down. He seemed about mid-40’s, had good hair, a nice face and although it also included dark circles from anxious worry and sleepless nights, he was otherwise, quite pleasant on the eyes. But he had a much different self impression.

UglyHere’s the story he told me:

Apparently, as he conveyed to me, he’d been told directly that he was ugly. I sat transfixed in total disbelief as he repeated this phrase in one version or another. “How so?” , I asked. During a job interview, he swore that the interviewer actually told him that he was too ugly for the job. Then I asked he was interviewing to be a TV anchor. He responded in the negative. Well, then, how could anyone tell another person such a thing? It must be his imagination, but he was convinced otherwise. I said, well, just look in the mirror. That didn’t help since he saw exactly what he’d been told. He believed he was ugly. I felt it was a case of lack of self-esteem. Perhaps people saw his dark attitude and attributed this characteristic to being ugly, but not really being ugly.  No, he was really ugly.

There’s more..
Wow, then he began to tell me about the other things wrong with him. There were addictions, no friends, not being able to hold on to a serious female relationship…. And the one that really got him was not getting sufficient raises over the years since he’d worked very hard. I tried to explain that nothing is guaranteed in this world except… well you know death and taxes. Lots of us work hard, but only if you provide excellent service to your company do you normally get raises. And, if that’s not the case, it’s always your option to leave and go somewhere else that appreciates you more. Then the entitlement started. Why aren’t people given this and that?

Ok, so he’s living in the wrong country this he believes in socialism and this is a democracy. Of course, on close scrutiny, if he had the money, he wouldn’t want to share it equally with others. Funny how that works. At one point I thought I might be able to help him then I realized he had a lot more going on than I could work with. He probably needed to be on meds.

In the end
Since I had gone out to this group for social interchange and the prospect of a client was most secondary, I felt that I’d had quite enough of this very negative person (mind you it only took a few minutes for me to feel that way so I can certainly understand how others would feel if in my shoes). I did feel bad for him since he had a much distorted view of himself. He really planned to have plastic surgery to correct his face. I did tell him that was the worst thing he could do to himself since I understood his issue was internal and not external. I hope he listens to me and gets the right kind of professional help.


The Second Time Around

November 7, 2011

Just to recap, in my last blog article, I noted that I had to give a cat rescue back as she had a biting problem. This scenario occurred at just about the six month marker of my darling Hercules’ passing. I totally believe in synchronicity and when I got the itch to get another cat as a fur pal for his sister Judas, I went with the feeling. Ok, so the first try didn’t work out for her, but it did work out for the foster lady and for my coaching her. All wasn’t for naught. It just wasn’t the right situation for Judas.

My initial reaction after this mean cat was out of the house was, whew, I’m so glad it was gone. However, the itch to get another cat as a companion for Judas didn’t stop. Perhaps it was Hercules in spirit letting me know it was time since I really felt him guiding me to another cat that coincidentally looked a lot like him. Initially, I didn’t like the idea of getting another cat that reminded me of my precious angel, but I went with what I sensed would be best for Judas.

How did I pick this new rescue cat? I did a thorough search of the available rescues within 50 miles for about 2 weeks, looking at what must have been hundreds of photos and even talking to some people about the best gender and type for a fur pal for my 17 year old female. I was advised to look for a male about 5-7 years old, since a younger cat might be too rambunctious for an older cat, and a female, as I had found out before would be too competitive. Whereas before I had looked at the outside beauty of the animal, this time, I looked at the face to determine how sweet and sensitive I felt the creature would be. After all, beauty is only skin deep. My prior experience with Athena taught me that although she was a gorgeous Tortoise shell, she had a really mean disposition. This time, I looked at the temperament first and that he should just be healthy.

Out of so many, one became a clear choice. His name was Spike and he is a brown tabby with a white blaze down his face. He just looked so cute and sweet. Somehow I knew he was the one. Next, I contacted his foster and began the process to meet him. The rest went well. His foster family had him with two other males for the last three years. This was both good and bad news. He had never lived with a female but he had shared a 10×8 cat house with two other male cats. Ok, so he knew how to share. I was willing to take a chance on him. He’s a sweetie, but all didn’t go well right away!

More on how he adjusted in the next article.


Blog: Why Act Like a Neanderthal?

August 22, 2011

Where does hostile behavior come from?

In ancient times, man (as in human beings which includes both men and women), had to defend him or herself from predators and so when he/she felt threatened would growl, show teeth, bite, hit or otherwise lash out. This aggressive behavior was a defensive mechanism meant to protect the individual from harm. Not having an aggressive personality would have put the individual in a very bad or weak position in this type of hostile environment. Thus aggressive behavior was a learned and appropriate trait for hostile environments. However, these learned traits have come down through the ages as part of our DNA. That said, even big black bears don’t attack unless provoked and can be calmed with a little honey. Wow! So something sweet can tame the savage beast? What a concept! And, it works on humans too. Try offering a treat rather than a stick and you might find more pleasant behavior waiting for you.

Are we all basically a more modern Neanderthal?

Sometimes I think so; but as a species, we have learned to moderate our behavior – that’s what being civilized is all about. Being a member of a society means we’re not feral anymore, not most of us anyway. Ever try to tame a feral dog or cat? I was told that after about 8 weeks, a kitten would be too far into being feral that they couldn’t be tamed. Well, I proved the status quo wrong. I adopted two kittens that were most probably at least 10 weeks old and with a great deal of patience, love and understanding, guided them into being household pets. (One just died after 17 years of being the most loving creature and taught me much about unconditional love. The other one, his sister is still with me. ) The same can be said of children. If we mistreat our children, even to the extent of not paying enough attention to them, overly criticizing them or in the extreme, actual abuse, it is entirely likely that they will grow up to be dysfunctional adults, totally over reacting at every potentially threatening situation.

How can we correct the unacceptable behavior?

If wild animals can be taught to behave, use the cat post for scratching rather than the curtains, and know which furniture is for them to use, then certainly with love and understanding we can teach our children to be productive members of society. This is certainly true for adults as well since children grow into adults. Thus I feel that the issue with out of control adults really starts in childhood. No, I’m not totally blaming parents for all the ills of adults – we all have to take responsibility for our own behavior at some point – but there are many situations where looking to childhood and the messages we received there have a huge impact on our current lives.

If this is you, what are your options?

First, look at your life now. Is it all it can be? Could your aggressive behavior be causing you issue? If so, take a look at what you can do to correct it. Anger management classes may be appropriate in some cases, more formal therapy may be required in others. If you’re the type of person that can be reflective, spend a weekend with a book that helps you to walk through your childhood, answer questions and meditate on the specific memories that are of real issue for you. What pushes your buttons? Often, this type of inner awareness work will reveal certain patterns that will help you to moderate your behavior into a more balanced stream and move from aggression to assertiveness. In the end, you will be a much happier person and no longer a Neanderthal.


Learning to Get Along in the World – Being Assertive Vs. Aggressive

August 15, 2011

 

What does it mean to mature?

In one of my prior articles, I addressed just screaming to get what you wanted and indicated that such behavior only works for babies, small children and teenagers prior to their being grounded. It may also work for corporate types until they get their first performance review. In other words, acting act by yelling is a sign of immaturity which also implies that if you haven’t learned not to yell or scream every time something isn’t right in your world, well, you guessed it, you’re just not mature.

What comes next?

Proper behavior is important to moving our lives forward in a positive direction. There’s a whole set of what can be construed as behavior most becoming a young adult, an adult, and a professional. Today, I’m just going to address the difference between being aggressive and being assertive.

When we are young and our parents just tell us to “Be quiet since good children are seen and not heard,” many individuals begin to feel incapable of expressing their opinions appropriately as adults. I see this often in my coaching. Such people feel that what they have to say just isn’t important and thus they have a difficult time of getting their needs met. Now we’re on to something. Eventually, this individual gets tired of holding their unmet needs in, so to speak, and what comes out may not be pretty. Most probably, the result of parents not allowing their children to be heard when they were young, fails to foster a sense of self-worth and thus, the child and later, the adult, may go to extremes to be heard. I believe that this is the cause of work place violence, domestic abuse, and many other extremes of behavior. Is it justifiable? Of course not. Most parents are just behaving the way they thought was best for their children. I fully believe that my parents never wanted me to have trouble relating to others when they told me to,”Be quiet, we don’t want to hear your opinion”. Yet, this is what I heard growing up. It made me feel bad, just like my opinion wasn’t worth anything. And, at the time, it wasn’t valued. But later, I felt it wasn’t valued in other more public arenas as well.

It took me a very long time to figure out that I was a good person and that my opinion mattered just as much as the next person. Once this transition occurred, I had to modify my behavior. I was being a bit too pushy in trying to get my needs met initially. I was being aggressive and therefore offensive to some people. Moderating this behavior to be more socially acceptable is what assertive responses are all about.

I feel intuitively that what I experienced as a child is common among many other children of my generation since their parents told them the same thing that my parents told me. In turn, these children of depression era parents also learned that their opinions were not valued. Unfortunately, not everyone can figure out on their own that they are important, regain their self-worth, and make the transition from aggressive to assertive behavior.

How can one learn to be less aggressive and more assertive?

Here’s where getting help is important. If you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with your own behavior, but you do realize that there’s a problem, find appropriate help. Help may take the form of a mental health practitioner, an energy worker such as myself, or a good friend.. Don’t allow yourself to get into trouble. Do be proactive and get the proper support. Hopefully, you will eventually learn to moderate your behavior and be a much happier and more successful person.


Do You Really Need It?

October 18, 2010

Last night I was watching the Home Shopping Network (HSN) and quickly realized how addicting this program is. The hosts are so very enthusiastic about each product that they instill the fear of “missing out” on a good deal, that’s it’s the deal of alifetime and one that cannot be missed. Of course, they repeat this process for each product, until all of a sudden, one begins to get swept up in the emotion of the situation and begins to believe there is an actual “need” for this item. One surely cannot live without it. They have people call in to indicate how many of this designer’s purses they already have as if to say, I’ve done it, so should you.

If we step back we can see real marketing at work. Show a product and then create the need. How many purses, or whatever do we really need? I’m not discounting that someone may really want a new bag for the season and there may be a deal to be had on this show. However, there are times that I’ve gotten caught up in buying something only to receive it, find it’s really not so wonderful and return it. Thank goodness, HSN also has a great return policy, except for the shipping expense. So no harm done. I’m not slamming HSN. It’s really the midnight shopping phenomenon. It could also be on the internet. There are times when I’m bored with my life and I decide that it’s time to buy myself something and midnight is a convenient time to shop on the internet. That’s the great things about the internet; it’s open 24×7. Any time and any place around the world it’s possible to shop.

Now let’s take a look at what’s behind all this midnight shopping. Is it really looking for a good deal? Let’s put this one possible situation aside, for those that really want to buy something and have carefully thought out the purchase. For the rest of us, there’s an emotional need that hasn’t been satisfied and we use shopping as therapy. It’s even been given a name – “retail therapy”. Wow, the common folk have a psychological term for shopping to satisfy unmet needs and it’s totally accepted. Let’s do some retail therapy is a battle cry of the girls for a Thursday night movie and shopping evening.

Ok, it’s fun. But let’s also assume that they can afford what they buy. How about the woman that already had 24 other purses by this designer? Does anyone need 25 purses? Remember the buzz about Emelda Marcos and her shoes? Well she was really rich.

When I was very much younger I learned to make choices. Fend off the design for the small stuff in order to get the big stuff. I didn’t buy costume jewelry in order to save for real gold. The result is that I own real jewelry that people are always eyeing. It may not always be quite as trendy, but it’s always in good taste since the real thing is timeless. And, when gold hit major highs last year, I sold some of what I didn’t need for real money to pay some bills.  Foregoing a few $200 purses adds up to a major vacation, for example. I took many vacations to foreign lands over the years as a result of my “delayed gratification” program. In the end, I had the opportunity to do what many leave for their later years – travel alot.

Back to HSN – now they make it really easy to buy by offering flex payments. Only pay a bit each month they tell us. Of course we know that so many flex payments add up to debt. And this country is in big trouble from so much debt. Again, foregoing gratification now for later allows us to have the big items, like preparing for retirement. If we don’t start saving when we are young, the money won’t be there when we are old. That’s how it works. I’m so glad that I started to save at 26, putting money away slowly over the years, so that I can have a retirement. So before you buy, ask yourself, “Do you need it?”


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