Teaching respect

Family Concept 2, photo by Lynne Lancaster, UKChildren can get bored easily unless there are games to occupy them or they have the full attention of those they are with. However, it is important that they learn how to participate politely so that they get the attention of everyone instead of monopolising the attention of one person, usually a parent. In this way teaching respect helps them to learn how to entertain themselves. It’s a socialisation skill they need to learn as early as possible.

usually when her mother becomes involved
in a conversation with a friend? then
6 year old Angela would whisper in her ear
it was her first attempt at holding her mother’s attention
but Julie knew the dance well and she would
look at Angela in her eyes and remind her
that if she had something important to say she
would need to say excuse me and wait
otherwise she could do something else until
her mother was free to talk to her
I could see that Julie’s parenting skills
were teaching respect and in the long run
would help Angela develop good life strategies
instead of demanding that others make her happy

People helping people

691693_many_hands.jpgIt is so important to belong to a community of like minded people. It prevents isolation. It provides social activities and above all it gives us support when we need it. Furthermore, providing service to the community is also a healthy activity and can be quite fulfilling. However, it is vital that we avoid gossip and that we practise good people skills otherwise the purpose is defeated. People helping people is a basic necessity for happiness and fulfillment.

sometimes we teach what we need to learn
and Jessie paid attention to the message she gave
to the people who came to her for assistance
so although she was giving service because she
found it rewarding she also was mindful about
what it meant to her wellbeing
and the lesson she got for herself today was that
she was glad to be free of the obsession
that others were still struggling with

To avoid Burnout

125189_burnout.jpgSomeone wisely said to me once that to avoid burnout he puts in only 80% of his full potential, especially at work. Once he had experienced burnout to the worst level and thought he was even going to die, so from then on he always remembered how bad that was. Whenever he experienced euphoric recall about the ‘high’ of being productive, he remembered the misery of burnout and that snapped him out of being driven to do more. In time that tool gave him serenity and a healthy way of living whilst enjoying whatever he was doing.

Comments from Atlanta and Paul reminded me of the ‘80% effort to avoid burnout’ theory and I show them here as a further reminder.

Atlanta wrote: Sorry to hear that you have been in burnout. A good reminder about self care. I hope that you are feeling better soon.

Paul wrote:Wow I really identify with this state. My boss was away this last week and I had a heap of things to do without interruptions. I was looking forward to getting some work finalised. I was suffering with a sore back and took some pain-killers to alleviate it. By Thursday I realised I had not achieved anything. As a matter of fact I was unable to make decisions. Partly because of the side effect of the pain-killers, but mostly from the burnout of trying to achieve too much for too long without celebrating my wins. Funny, though Iím posting this comment from another city, where I am spending my weekend working.

Forgiveness

652974_yellow_rose.jpg In adulthood we learn that forgiveness is a powerful tool for freeing us of resentments. In most cases as we discover the healing power of forgiveness it becomes easier to do. Forgiving does not mean allowing people to do the same to us again. Some abuse feels impossible to forgive and as long as it does not rule our lives it can wait until we are ready to do so. Although forgiveness for a lesser hurt can feel just as impossible, it is vital to master the art of forgiveness. That’s how to gain emotional maturity and freedom from self pity.

hearing the words of the song
“I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do”
made it possible to forgive my mother for the hurt I felt
that doesn’t mean that I condone her abusive behaviour
but rather that I can let go of the resentment that
has been festering inside all my life
I don’t fool myself into thinking that
we can ever have a loving relationship
because I’ve tried that before and
it has been “moth to flame” as they say
but now I can feel sorry for what
she has gone through in life rather than
being hard-hearted as I had done in the past
more importantly forgiving her means
releasing the pain from my inner child

Relationship checklist

from:New York Times

Heart, photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia, customised relationshipsQuestions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
Published: December 17, 2006
Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each otherís financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one anotherís ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each otherís spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each otherís friends?

11) Do we value and respect each otherís parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the otherís family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the otherís commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

Relaxation

Candles, photo by xlucas, Germany, meditationPeople underestimate the importance of relaxation for settling the temper, creating accelerated learning, accessing motivation, and contributing to recovery from addictions and other ill health. An effective method of relaxation is meditation with candles and our favourite relaxation music. If meditation by candlelight is not possible then a short walk will work wonders to relax us enough, and that is called walking meditation.

Wards of the State had developed serious
violent outbursts which were life threatening
my message to youthworkers of
this residential program was to teach
these youths how to relax when they
became frustrated and agitated
so the appropriate first stage for relaxation
was that they go for a walk as soon as
they felt the rage fester and if they did this
they would receive incentive points which
would be rewarded weekly
in time the smashing of windows and walls
ceased completely and the youths either
went for a walk and/or resorted to
hitting the punching bag in the rumpus room
till they felt relaxed enough to negotiate
a solution to their conflict

Support groups

Figures groups, photo by Sanja Gjenero,  supportive friendsAll over the world in different cultures, a natural phenomenon is the healing power of support groups. These groups can be hobby groups, work groups, recovery groups, church groups, and so on. When people get together they share their experiences and how they have solved their problems, which inspires the whole group to do what others have done to resolve their traumas or to share their stories about how they lead fulfilling lives.

we travelled aboard a ship for a holiday
taking 30 days to visit many ports
each day there were activities on the cruise
both on board and on land where we made
new friends and joined in whatever was on
we noticed in different countries how
people had their own support groups which
made their lives worthwhile and although
they were different cultures the
process was the same – beneficial

Figures groups, photo by Sanja Gjenero, supportive friends

Short term remedies

Bandaid Bandage, photo by Pam Roth, Louisiana, United States, temporary solutionsWhen we are faced with problems in life and we avoid them by using short term remedies then we are band-aiding the situation. That can only be a temporary solution and usually unless the problem is resolved fully, then it worsens. The problem just festers unless it is given proper attention and an appropriate remedy is found. Short term remedies rarely work.

youthworkers in a residential program for
Wards of the State had been trained that
when violent behaviour threatened to erupt
they were to ‘nip it in the bud’ by encouraging
the youths to express themselves and
negotiate for what they wanted
in this way the threatening behaviours were
dealt with early and then usually resolved
which lessened the aggressive outbursts
and taught the kids life strategies

Bandaid Bandage, photo by Pam Roth, Louisiana, United States, temporary solutions

Christmas Day

Christmas Decoration, photo by Law Hui Sheng, PJ, Malaysia, Happy ChristmasIn this country Christmas Day is a ritual that’s a great pleasure to people of all ages. The religious folk attend church and those who are not religious participate in other activities which define the ritual of Christmas, including public holidays. Christmas cards would have already been sent out, a Christmas tree decorated, special food and presents purchased to enjoy on this day. Children wake up early to open their presents which are kept under the tree, including the special ones from Santa Claus. Then still in their nightwear everyone enjoys a breakfast together. People not of the Christian faith, even Christians whose Christmas Day is on 6th January, have been known to also participate in this process as it’s part of Australia’s identity. In time hopefully we will all become more familiar with, and celebrate, rituals of the other cultures which make our society multi-cultural.

some of my grandchildren’s friends are of the Jewish faith
and have been eager to decorate a Christmas tree
therefore next year it was suggested that a
Christmas decorating party be organised to
do just that and give them the experience
how delightful the way that children can
share their cultural differences in a way
that’s full of friendship and fun
an exciting learning curve which
fosters love and peace

Codependence or addiction?

Paper people, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, friend networkI’ve been asked “which comes first codependence or addiction?”. As a therapist I speak professionally and from personal experience as a recovering codependent, as well as a food and nicotine addict in recovery. A codependent can be either a victim or a perpetrator of dysfunctional behaviour and as a result addictions manifest in an effort to self medicate the disturbing feelings. There’s a difference between giving service to others and becoming a martyr for their sake, which is also codependence. A recovering codependent is someone who has identified their condition and admitted it; staying vigilant about it; being a part of a recovery program; and giving service to maintain their recovery and that of others, in a loving fellowship. This recovery also involves being abstinent from addictive behaviours.

Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence), who is
a leader in the codependence recovery field
spoke on her recovery from codependence and addictions
her honesty moved me because society can scoff at
people being transparent about their shortcomings
and how they’ve taken the journey to recovery
this could be because the majority of people are
afflicted by codependence and addictive behaviours
so it’s easier to scoff than to take action
until they reach their rock bottom and only then
they become willing to find sanity and serenity
in a loving fellowship committed to recovery