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Newsletter Vol. # 52 That's how I see it!

There is a widespread belief that if a person can be convinced, allowed, or helped to express his feelings, he will in some way benefit from it. The belief that to discharge one's feelings is beneficial is also prevalent among the general public. Friends are encouraged to 'get it off their chests,' helped to 'blow off steam,' or to 'let it all hang out.' Sports or strenuous physical activities are lauded as a means of 'working off' feelings, particularly hostility, and it is accepted that there is some value in hitting, throwing, or breaking something when frustrated.

In my experience, I've noticed that people who give in to their need to vent and to rage, generally get angrier not less angry. Aggression frequently has the exact opposite effect of catharsis: instead of exorcising the anger, it can inflame it.
So what I believe can be helpful is to have people understand that there is a difference between talking about one's anger in a 'matter of fact' way, and being angry and using aggressive language. In fact there are those who will say that even talking out an emotion doesn't reduce that emotion, it rehearses it, and perhaps even makes it worse. Use the Thumper Rule: " If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Remember, talk about your anger, and don't be angry when you talk about it.

Reader Response

So I was one of the ones who kept on reading. I thought it was a tender, thoughtful piece (How to be Helpful to People Who are Burning Out-#51) and it went on to explain very patiently how our attitudes and actions can affect our coworkers, friends and relatives in positive ways.  Trite but true, actions speak louder than words.  I think that this piece is addressed to those of us who see ourselves as "fixers".  "If you just were to think like me and do it my way, then you will not have a problem." It is the proverbial splinter in my friend's eye versus the log in one's own eye. I will be reading it a few times.                                 Ed

Do you know Murphy of Murphy's Law fame?

Murphy has taken it upon himself to articulate the law of entropy and the downhill pull upon us all. Murphy tells it like it is! He writes about reality (m-m!). So listen to a little Murphology:

    - If anything can go wrong, it will.
    - Nothing is as easy as it looks.
    - Everything takes longer than you think.
    - If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
    - Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
    - When ever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
    - If it's not one thing, it's another.
    - The other line moves faster.
    - The more boring and out-of-date the magazine in the waiting room,
      the longer you will have to wait for your scheduled appointment.

Are you a Murphy or a more optimistic person who sees that the glass is half full?

Murphy, the Painter (No relation to the Murphy's Law guy)

A painter by the name of Murphy, while not a brilliant scholar, was a  gifted portrait artist.
Over a short number of years, his fame grew and soon people from all over Ireland were coming to the town of Doolin in County Clare, to get him to paint their likenesses.
One day, a beautiful young English woman arrived at his house in a stretch limo and asked if he would paint her in the nude.
This being the first time anyone had made such a request he was a bit perturbed, particularly when the woman told him that money was no object; in fact, and she was willing to pay up to £10,000.
Not wanting to get into any marital strife, he asked her to wait while  he went into the house to confer with Mary, his wife.
In a few minutes he returned. "It would be me pleasure to paint yer portrait, missus, "he said "The wife says it's okay. "I'll paint you in the nude all right; but I have to at least leave me socks on, so I have a place to wipe me brushes."

Got to love the Irish!!

I don't need to get angry; I just need to find other ways to get what I want.


How bad do things have to get before people will consider changing?

In my job as a counsellor/therapist I see people resist change by hiding behind addictions, stubbornness and self-righteousness to the point of losing everything (family, job, even their own lives-smoking/cancer). So I wonder, if we can't change others, how then do we encourage them to change themselves?
Encouraging without demanding, or threatening or using intimidation would be good. Stating clearly what you think, feel, value and believe without "that tone" that has the person immediately going on the defence is the goal.

I guess for some if it gets bad enough they will change; for others sometimes intimidation, bribery, or charm might work occasionally on them. But a mystery to me is the person who has tried (or had it tried on them)  "everything and nothing works", and then just wakes up one morning and through some act of will states "It's time I changed" and does. The power of the human spirit baffles and awes me sometime.

My wife sat down on the couch next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, 'What's on TV?' I said, 'Dust.'
And then the fight started...

How about you having yourself a great week?