I Feel, I Think, I Clam Up

 

The popular saying is, “Opinions are like noses; everybody has one.” I’ve heard a few variations, but you get the point. Each of us has his (or her) own thoughts and feelings about any given subject.

It’s pretty hard not to. Neutrality is almost impossible; chances are, we will have an opinion. We either like someone, or we don’t. We either like a movie, song, or show, or we don’t. We either stand for or against something or someone.

It’s one of our main daily activities, really: forming and developing opinions.

And, at some point, we will express those opinions. We’ll say what we feel, or think.

And the people to whom we say them will either agree or disagree.

Counselor, is there a point to this narrative?

I’m getting there, Your Honor.

I often try not to have an opinion on things but, as I said, that’s pretty tough. I am, after all, a thinking, feeling human being.

What I try even harder to do is keep those opinions to myself, because if I express them, I may have to then defend them. And therein lies a source of great discomfort for me.

 

You ever walk into a gunfight with a pea-shooter?

That’s how I feel almost every time I get into a discussion with someone whose opinions differ from my own.

No matter how confident I may be about my ability to argue my position, I nearly always feel as though the other person can argue his better, thus sending me to a spectacular crash and burn.

I hate that.

Because, then I end up feeling like my opinion is the wrong one, even though I’ve been told many times, there is no wrong opinion. Facts are right and wrong (or even “alternative”). Opinions are simply opinions.

(You couldn’t prove that by the current political discourse in this country, though, but that’s another story.)

What’s worse, I worry the other person thinks I’m kinda on the stupid side for believing as I do. Mind you, this is all under the assumption the other person even cares what I think.

Which all serves to make me less likely to open my mouth next time around. 🤐

 

So, I wonder: does anybody else feel like that? Seriously.

If you do, how do you deal with that?

Because, in my opinion, I could use some tips.

A Good F Word

 

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

Heart of the Matter”, Don Henley

Songwriters
MIKE CAMPBELL, DON HENLEY, JOHN DAVID SOUTHER

Published By
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music

 

“We live in a culture that prizes the expression of anger and resentment more than the peace of forgiveness.”

– Dr. Fred Luskin

 

Recently, in therapy, I’ve been focusing on this forgiveness thing.

Forgiveness is a tricky proposition; sometimes easy, sometimes not.

At times, I can do it almost immediately, when the offense is nothing to get worked up over. Someone makes a mistake, I forgive and that’s that.

On other occasions, someone says or does something that really angers me, or hurts me, or both, and coming around to forgiveness may take a little longer. But it does happen.

But then…

There are certain people who have wronged me, at some point in my past, whom I have not forgiven. (Nor wanted to.)

And there are things I’ve done for which I’ve never really forgiven myself. Course, I’m kind of hard on myself, anyway, but that’s another story.

But, I’m in the process now of learning how to forgive, finally.

 

Think about this a minute: How good a job do you think a carpenter, a mechanic, or a baker would do without the proper tools at his disposal? (Correct answer: not so good.)

So it is that I’m just now acquiring the tools I need to forgive. I mean, you know, I’ve heard, since I was small, the importance of forgiving, but nobody ever told me how. It was just something I was supposed to do.

And the thing is, it’s not always as simple as, “Okay, I forgive you.” In some cases, there’s a bit more to it than that. And that’s when you need the tools.

Enter Dr. Fred Luskin, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University. In the course of teaching people how to improve their health and well being, Dr. Luskin researched the role of forgiveness in one’s emotional and physical well being. Turns out, it’s hugely significant.

But, again, none of his students really knew how to forgive, so Dr. Luskin developed a nine-step process, which allows people to approach forgiveness more analytically, separating the emotions from the people and events that provoke those emotions, and putting it all into some perspective.

So, I’m going to try these nine steps for myself to see if I can bust through some long held grudges, including the ones against myself. As I am just beginning to work through this, it’s too early for me to testify to any health benefits. I don’t know how well, or even if, this will work for me. But, if it helps me cope with my depression, I’ve got to try it.

If this has got you curious about Dr. Luskin and his studies, you can go to https://www.learningtoforgive.com/ and check it out for yourself.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, assuming there will be some. I’m hopeful.

Letter From a Caring Friend

 

In therapy, I’m learning about self-compassion, the concept of treating yourself in times of pain and suffering as a compassionate, caring friend would. One of the self-compassion exercises is to write a letter to yourself from a caring friend, imagining what that person would say to you when you’re down, instead of what you usually say to yourself.

This is the letter I wrote. I want to share it, in case any of you want to write your own letter. And, if you want to learn more about this treatment, visit http://www.self-compassion.org.

 

Dear You,

First of all, I want you to know, I love you. No matter what. I need you to know that.

I’ve seen you suffering for a long time, now. It breaks my heart, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. If I could take all your pain away right now, I would do it.

You give yourself a lot of grief when you make a mistake. Any mistake. I know you think it diminishes you as a person in the eyes of others. You feel stupid. You feel like you can’t help but screw up, and you will always screw up, so you’re hopeless.

And you hurt. You hurt so much, you can feel it in your body. Sometimes, it even makes you wonder if maybe, everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’m really sorry that this is your life. I just want you to feel my embrace right now. I have my arms around you, and I’m sending all the love and compassion in me right into you.

Feel it. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s enveloping. You’re wrapped in it. Stay in it. As long as you need.

Listen to me: You’re a person of value. There are people in your life who love you. Think about them. Look at their faces. Listen to each of them telling you they love you.

Does that make you feel good? Stay in that moment. They don’t care about the mistakes you make. They care about you. They love you so much. Immerse yourself in that love. You love them, right? Well, it goes both ways. Trust me.

Their love is a soft, warm blanket. Cover yourself with it. Burrow down into it. Feel its warmth. Spend some time there.

This blanket is available for you anytime you need it.

And, next time you make a mistake, just remember: we all make them. We all make ’em! And usually, they’re the same ones, over and over. That’s called, being human. So, ease up on yourself; treat yourself nice. No name-calling. No beating yourself up. You’re still the same caring, loving, funny, good person you were before you made the mistake.

Always remember: you’re fine just as you are. I accept you, and I love you, just as you are. Feel my embrace, one more time, and take it with you everywhere.

And Walk in Love.

Your good friend,

Me

It’s Already Been a Year?

 

Well, well, well…

Here we are, exactly 365 days from when I sent my first post out into the great big blog universe.

Flew right by, didn’t it?

To say this last year has been interesting is, of course, a colossal understatement. Of all the years I could have started writing, I picked the year that up became down, left became right, sweet became sour, and that guy…became President of the United States.

Yikes.

I should have known, in a year when the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Cubs won championships, that anything could happen.

 

From the start, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of blog that brought together several people with a common interest in one specific subject. This wasn’t gonna be a blog about cooking, or fashion, or auto repair, or nuclear thermodynamics. Although, I could easily have gone with that last one. (kidding)

No, I just had the nerve to think someone might be interested in my observations on life and current events.

And to my shock and bewilderment, some of you are (!!)

Admittedly, for a while, I was discouraged by what I thought was a paltry number of viewers and followers of this little blogsite, compared to some other blogs out there that I like.

However, upon the realization that there are approximately three bazillion other bloggers out there (give or take a few), all competing for your eyes, I’m actually quite fortunate that anybody at all found me.

So, I’m very grateful to all of you who decided to stop and look in on my site, and especially grateful to those of you who have become “followers”. (Ugh, I just sounded like Jim Jones. Sorry; I promise to not make you drink any Kool-Aid.)

And, a big shout out to all the bloggers I’ve discovered, and now follow. You keep me comin’ back!

I reckon I’ll just continue writing, as long as I have something I want to say, and as long as someone out there wants to read it.

Peace and love to you. ❤️

Oh, one more thing: Sean Spicer, just shut up!!

 

Note to Self

 

Shame on you.

You fat son of a —–.

You’ve been this way for most of your adult life, and evidently, you don’t care. Because if you did, you wouldn’t continue this slow suicide you’re committing.

Every day you drag all this excess weight around puts more wear and tear on your heart, your joints, and your self-respect.

You already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and Type 2 diabetes. You looking to add to that resume? Heart attack? Stroke? Cancer?

You know better. You’ve gone through enough weight loss programs and read enough information to know the right things to do to get healthy. You know you need to eat better. You know you need to exercise.

And yet, here you are. On the couch, mindlessly working your way through another bag of chips as you watch TV.

OK, so you don’t care about yourself; whatever. I know you even eat the way you do sometimes out of nothing more than pure self-hatred, and you’re punishing yourself by what, and how much, you eat.

And, yeah, you’re depressed most of the time, so you generally don’t give a f— what kind of shape you’re in. I get all that.

But do you not care about the ones in your life who you love and who love you and want you to be around as long as you can? You can’t even care enough about them to make any kind of effort? How do you think they feel about that?

 

Think back to your childhood, sitting at the dinner table not eating your vegetables, listening to your mother tell you to “think of all the starving children in the world.”

Yeah, dude, think about them now. Think about them as you reach for a few more strips of bacon and another biscuit or two. Think about them as you plow through a slab of chicken fried steak the size of Rhode Island, smothered in cream gravy. Think about them as you stack slice upon slice upon slice of pizza onto your plate. Think about them as you serve yourself a second or third helping of mashed potatoes. As you consume diet soda by the gallon, because hey, it’s diet, what’s the harm, right?

And think of how privileged you are to live in a land where you can stuff yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey anytime you want. Where you can go to a restaurant and sit down to a plate of food that’s enough to feed at least two people, and shovel it all in without batting an eye. Then have the nerve to look around in judgment at all the fat asses surrounding you, wolfing down their onion ring towers and their monster burgers and their piles of chocolate dessert, and go tsk, tsk at their lack of control, their obvious absence of discipline.

Then think of the millions – yes, millions – of children in that same land, who go to bed hungry more often than not.  Think of how exponentially more of those there are worldwide. 795 million people – roughly 1 of 9 people in the world – do not get enough to eat.

Then think about how they’re not your problem, they’re someone else’s.

And, oh, yeah. Think about their malnourished, bony bodies as you stare at that double chin and that disgustingly large gut every morning in the mirror.

As you stare at the one man responsible for the sorry shape you’re in.

Shame.   Shame.    Shame. 

Yawn

 

Hello, my loyal fans.

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything original on this blog; I’ve just been reblogging posts from other people that I found interesting and wanted to pass along, or directing you to other websites, because I’ve been unable lately to come up with a single thing to write about.

That I thought you would find worth reading, that is.

 

When he was President, Jimmy Carter once famously addressed the American people about what he termed a “crisis of confidence.”

I think that pretty well describes what I’ve been dealing with lately.

Whenever I’ve started to write something, I haven’t got very far before convincing myself that what I was writing was worthless junk, so I just give up.

I don’t want to bore you with any more anti-trumpism; I believe you all know my feelings toward the man by now, and just a cursory glance at the daily headlines can keep you apprised of what he and his gang are up to that day.

Problem is, anything I write these days sounds boring. To me, anyway. Maybe I just have a boring life; I don’t know. Nor do I know how long this malaise will last. Hopefully, I will come out of it soon, and I will produce something worthy of your time.

I know, this was boring, too. Sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

Gut Feeling

 

Well, friends and neighbors, it’s the start of another year, and we all know what that means:

Off…come…the pounds!

Right? Of all the resolutions made at the beginning of the year, that one is undoubtedly the one most often claimed.

I know I’ve got plenty to lose but, then again, I have for over thirty years, now.

Jeez, that’s depressing..

I know, things like diabetes and high blood pressure can be hereditary, but I also know, my lifestyle hasn’t exactly been replete with healthy choices. To wit: my weakness for snack foods and things fried, my predilection for second (third, fourth) helpings, my aversion (mostly) to fruit, my attraction to the easy convenience of fast food, my general distaste for anything resembling exercise.

And it’s always been a problem before to find motivation to lose the weight, and it gets harder the older I get, but I think now I have finally found the one thing to spur me to action:

Global warming.

As we keep reaching new record high temperatures every year, I am determined to not go through another scorching Texas summer dragging all this excess weight around. It just gets harder to take with each passing year.

I don’t know exactly how I’m going to accomplish this project at present, and I’m not soliciting any helpful advice, thank you very much. I just want to make you aware of this undertaking, and to encourage you to join me – those of you, of course, who need to – on the journey. Perhaps we can be each other’s cheerleader along the way.

Not each other’s judge, not each other’s disciplinarian, not each other’s shamer.

We don’t need any of you around.

I won’t attempt to coach anyone; I’ll simply share what works for me, (assuming I find something that does) and you can make up your own mind to try it yourself. We’ll praise each other’s progress, empathize with each other’s defeats, and become leaner and healthier versions of ourselves.

Good luck, compadres. That goes to all of you trying to achieve any resolution, be it weight loss, or something else.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, exciting and fulfilling New Year. Live it.

And keep reading my blog! 😉❤️

Gracias Beaucoup

 

Aaaaaand, it’s over. Just like that.

So much buildup, so much shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, and now, we’re done. Happens every year.

But, I hope yesterday was lots of fun for you. It was for me.

Now, it’s time to go return all those gifts you said were “just what you’ve always wanted!” It’s also time for another post-Christmas tradition that, I believe, is rapidly dying out:

Writing, and sending, thank-you notes.

That’s right, kids, back in ye olden days, we wrote thank-you notes to everyone who gave us a present for Christmas, including Santa.

I don’t know, do kids do that anymore? Writing, I mean? On paper? With a pen?

Who knows? Anyway…

Here’s my chance to send a thank-you note to you. All of you wonderful people who gave me the gift of your attention this year, even if it was just to look in on one post. Just the fact that you took the time to visit this blog means a lot to me, so thank you for checking in to see what I wrote. I hope you enjoyed your visit, and you’re welcome to come back anytime, as often as you want. I will try to keep making it worth it for you.

We have, to understate, a very interesting year ahead, and we all need to gear up for it. The incoming administration is going to require our constant vigilance, and participation in the process of governing this nation.

If you can’t come up with any New Year’s resolution, I think that would be as good as any.

Again, thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it. Y’all come back now, you hear?

Please, Stand By

 

img_0033

 

No, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth.

I know you haven’t heard from me for awhile, and I know you’re just panting with anticipation for my next brilliant post (ahem), and I do have some subjects I want to address. Many, in fact. My mind is jammed with them.

I just haven’t had the time lately to organize my thoughts on those subjects into anything articulate, and I don’t want to simply throw stuff helter-shelter out there; we all know, there’s enough of that going on, already.

So, meanwhile, let me just take this opportunity to wish all of you a VERY Merry Christmas. Have fun with your family; cherish the time you have with them. Safe travels to those of you leaving town for the holidays. Save all receipts, to facilitate easier returning of gifts. 😉 Go easy on the freakin’ eggnog. Make sure you got plenty of batteries.

And enjoy the holidays; that’s what they’re for.

Deck the halls, y’all.

P.S. – That’s Lizzy under the tree, hoping someone gets her for Christmas! 🐱🎄