“Don’t let other people treat you the way you wouldn’t treat them.”
This is what I recently said to Stanley, who never objects to disrespectful treatment from key people in his life. He swallows it … and suffers for it.
Kind-hearted by nature, he’s respectful in all his dealings with others. He wouldn’t, COULDN’T, hurt a flea if forced to. But there are those in his life who don’t mirror that characteristic. When I asked him why he doesn’t stand up for himself, he said, “It’s what I’ve come to know.”
Said so well! Stanley’s succinct comment speaks to all of us. Programmed from early childhood, we tend to behave and react in ways that echo what we’ve come to know. To step outside that box takes us out of our comfort zone, and as we all know, leaving our comfort zone isn’t one of things we crave in life—we resist it like the plague.
For the remainder of our session, Stanley and I explored the ways his comfort zone existence has hurt and hindered him. I knew we were getting somewhere when he said, “I can see that I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the only way I’ll dig myself out of this hole.”
Click here to read about Deanna with a similar problem and the advice I gave her . . . .
Carlie is an over-achieving teenager. She’s driven to excel academically, athletically and socially. She has trouble with that word “relax.” But in a moment of clarity, she wowed me with this:
“I would like to know my future to see if I’m wasting my time, because if I am wasting my time, I want to waste it better.”
It’s sad that a stressed-out state can feel normal to us, so much so that it feels wrong to be free of it. Let’s face it, our culture values and encourages busyness over taking time to smell the roses. Busyness is easily equated with productivity, purposefulness and meaningfulness. To do otherwise is deemed wasting one’s time.
This is all wrong! Squirrels are incessantly busy—aimlessly darting here and there—but I wouldn’t necessarily call that busyness productive, purposeful or much less meaningful. The same applies to us humans.
In contrast, soaking up a sunset can be one of the most productive, purposeful and meaningful things we can do.
It’s not a waste of time to waste some time!
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality
Jail time is a common occurrence for John. Why is that? He has a nasty habit of picking fights and throwing fits when he doesn’t get his way. Even in jail, if people don’t cater to John’s demands, he resorts to threatening and hostile behavior.
John’s behavior hasn’t changed much since he was a small child. That’s because his blustery, bullying temper tantrums weren’t nipped in the bud before he became an adult. Instead, such displays were rewarded—he got his way. Unsurprisingly, he still expects the world to bend to his every whim.
There are many stories like John’s—please share yours. Or if you have questions or comments, feel free.