Thursday, March 26, 2009

Taking life too seriously

I used to have a boss who would use the line "what will it matter in a million years". This use to drive me crazy as it usually was when I was working on a problem or issue than involved real people and real time and it seemed to mock that importance.

What I continue to learn, though much slower than I should be, much later than I wish is to let somethings go. As someone who's mind works in a way that thousands of variables and solutions and possibilities can be generated to address a problem, I am one of those people you want to have around to figure out how that square peg can be made to work with that round hole.

This same talent can be an albatross when it comes to the possibilities of what can go wrong personally and when many things come at once me and when I am tired. That triple combination is not good. While I am what most folks would consider a true optimist, when I am in this state, in very short order I can give a list of all the things I should have done differently to achieve a different outcome [even if I hadn't a clue of that option before] or a list of the negative possibilities and how they could play out. This then comes with a flurry and state of worry. I once saw a cartoon with a character donning his worry blanket and sitting in the corner. I can often visualize that blanket.

Sounds strangely contradictory of an optimist? Not really because I usually work it through and if I can separate enough I often will come up with very creative options. But to do this I need to get to a point of letting some things go. To put them down, let them rest, let me rest and get a different and better perspective. I am getting better at letting things go sooner than I use to but still have some work to do with shedding the "worry blanket". Not to the point of the quote I started out with but to be better at putting some issues aside and let actual time and occurances catch up with my imaginagtion.

I am wearing my worry blanket partially these days. Like many folks the background noise of the economy and the constant strains of "be happy you have a job", I can easily get caught up in other people's angst. Then then there is the college story with my oldest. The acceptances are coming in [a remarkable achievement given that these are very tough schools with highly competitive programs] but then there is how to pay for it. The waiting for the aid packages, the figuring out if there is more help out there and how to access it and the scholarship applications that want serious and invasive information from parents and all want it the same time. My analytical mind with the worry blanket say, if you hadn't done xyz 20 years ago, you would be in a different position now. Perhaps yes and then perhaps something else would have happened in between. But does it really matter. Life is, life happens. If we all had a vision of even a year I would have totally sold out of the stock market at its top and at each top. Then I could be giving out scholarships.

My objective is to shed the worry blanket. As the weather warms I should be able to ease back into running, which will be good and healthy. But that aside, I pledge to myself to try to restrict my creativity to the positive and not turn the canons inward. I am also trying to let go what I can and let the rest be for a while. A week from now things may be very different. My goal is to get a little better at letting time solve some of the worries that my processing over and over can't and doesn't help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It is in love that we hold truths

“It is in love that we embrace and hold the truth of disclosure, and it is there that true connection can be made”.

I wish this was something original to me but I am paraphrasing comments by a friend, Jill.

The general idea of “acknowledging and speaking of the truth” is not unique and I think have written about before, but the way she said this was a bit different. When someone discloses a fear such as the potential of loosing a job, or the breakup of a relationship or they speak if their pain from a loss of some type whether it be the loss of a loved one or of a job or expressing fear over a diagnosis or condition, it is often more comfortable for us to try to comfort and rationalize rather than acknowledge the truth that is being spoken. To say that it won’t be as bad as they are worried about or it won’t happen to them or saying that it could be worse or completely denying that it is true may make us think we are comforting but it isn't acknowledging and accepting the truth that is being disclosed. Jill spoke about an alcoholic finally disclosing his condition only you hear, oh you don’t drink that much or the person afraid of loosing a job, your to good of a worker for that to happen to you.

Sometimes the best response is to say “yes I hear you”, "that must be scary", "yes the way you are feeling is right" and acknowledging sometimes that life and life situations suck and life can be frightening.

I am getting much much better at this. While I try to be supportive and comforting to people I have learned to recognize a line that has been crossed and then will often speak from the perspective of acknowledgment of embracing and agreeing to hold what has been disclosed to me as truth. Not necessarily my truth but the person sharing.

When I do this the response is interesting. To the person disclosing, there is now a different connection. They can see that I acknowledge and validate their truth and we can move forward on a different level. From an observer, the response can be, “I was thinking the same thing but afraid to say it”. Some times you just say what is obvious and trust.

At work when I am working with a staff person on a problem this often entails listening closely and inquiring about body language that doesn't fit the words or lack of words and repeating what I am hearing the other person say. It is amazing what comes out and most of the time this accomplishes what is necessary.

So my blog challenge for me and for all is to be tuned in enough to recognize when someone has truly made a disclosure that is important to them and is significant to them and to make a point of acknowledging and embracing it and if appropriate, give them a hug.