Month: January 2014

Why Trust?

When we seek the trust of others, what are we really seeking? Are we seeking control over their behavior? Are we seeking the ego boost that comes from being regarded as trustworthy? Are we seeking followers, or are we actually seeking their best interest? 

These questions are worth asking of ourselves, and of those who seek our trust. I have picked up a pattern over the years when others tend to use scripture to get me to behave or react a certain way. It is actually a misuse of scripture to get another to react a certain way. On the other hand, a correct use of scripture is to help another be like Christ. If that results in certain desired behavior, all the better. Yet, if it results in different behavior, the honest user of scripture must trust that God’s word does not return void, and let it be. 

Have you had experiences along these lines?

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Let Them Speak

Have you ever had a discussion – okay an argument – with someone who seemed so unreasonable that you didn’t know if you could control yourself? You couldn’t believe they were saying the things they were, and you couldn’t find a starting point to answer the long list of misconceptions they spewed out!  Your strongest urge was to shut them up so they couldn’t continue to convey the things they were saying.

What if someone believes them? Shouldn’t you respond, and shut them up once and for all? But how? Oddly enough, it often pays to let them speak, and let their own words define them. No doubt you have heard someone yelling, and then stop. If a few seconds go by with nothing but silence, their own words begin to sound more and more out of control and unreasonable. The same is true of written correspondence. When you don’t respond in kind, you don’t appear unreasonable and out of control. It is obvious you are much more in control of your thoughts, and you know their beliefs do not affect you, and can do you no harm. After all, they have a right to be wrong, as do you.

Also, if you have ever changed your mind about something, it’s important to allow others to do the same, and you may not be aware when it happens. I’m interested in your experience with this.

Grief and mental health

I conduct group sessions in our psychological services unit. I was amazed one day that in a group of about 12 people, most expressed grief issues that contributed to their being there. I have seen this many times, and often people are prescribed medications for various disorders when the primary problem is grief.

“Grieving people are not broken, therefore they do not need to be fixed.” This is what John James and Russell Friedman say in “The Grief Recovery Handbook.” This is born out many times each day in my observation alone. What about you? How have you seen grief affecting you?

Got Plans?

In a previous career, my colleagues and I used to make fun of a lady in the office who seemed to be constantly making plans for some major project. The problem was we never saw the projects she spoke about. We joked that she “had plans to plan a planning session.” Always planning, but never doing.

At times I feel like I would rather talk about doing something good than do it. Do you ever feel that way? For example, I love the result of meeting with someone for counseling, seeing them work through the issues plaguing them, and see them be free to enjoy other relationships and the rest of their lives. Yet, actually sitting down with them to accomplish that sometimes feels like a chore.

I actually think the above problem is common, especially with introverts like me. Those of us who love helping but feel at times drained by the very people we help is a common occurrence, and part of the territory of helping. So, I remind myself why I do this, and that it is actually a major part of my identity, and keep moving. It’s well worth it, I think. I’m wondering if you ever feel the pull of helping, and how you handle it.

Strangers No More

Crisis often accelerates relationships, and results in hugs from strangers. After an hour with them, talking, answering questions, comforting, they hug as if they’ve known me for years. The death of their husband and dad was sudden, yet as they talked, they began to realize it was not so sudden. He seemed to know something that remained unstated. Leaving him here was the hardest part. Walking her out to the lot where the car was parked, since she was unsteady, she then hugged me like a relative. Her daughter also hugged me, and they left. I’m wondering, how do you see the person who is present during your hardest times?