Archive for the ‘Stress.’ Tag

SEMINAR CONTINUED: RECONCILIATION – WHY?   4 comments

Now that we’re thinking about it, what is reconciliation anyway? The answer to “why” depends first of all on knowing what reconciliation means in the particular case. My thesaurus has some interesting answers, the first of which is “Settlement.” Under that it lists the following as equivalents for “reconciliation:”

  • Understanding
  • Resolution
  • Compromise
  • Reunion
  • Ceasefire
  • Appeasement
  • Bringing together
  • The opposite of Conflict

I think this list is as good as any as a jumping off point to answer the question “Why?” Why strive for reconciliation?

I’d like first to focus on “settlement.” Yes, I know the definition refers originally to money settlement, the payment of debts. But I’m choosing to take the psychological/emotional route. Reconciliation doesn’t even become an issue until something unsettling, disturbing, stressful happens, or creeps into one’s awareness. It’s the feeling that someone else owes you something and refuses to pony up. How quickly do we get to “He owes me an apology, or a change of attitude, or cooperation, – or at least an explanation.” If such is not forthcoming, there’s a good chance anger will follow. How good it would feel to get even – to tell the offender off. How about a nice angry e-mail? “There. That’s settled.”

But is it really? What about the recipient who, chances are, will not be happy to receive that hurtful anger? Would it really be enough just to make the other guy unhappy? Nope. There’s no settlement there. Just an increase in the pain total. Settlement and stress reduction and pain relief won’t follow.

So, why reconciliation? One potential reason, because unilateral vengeance won’t make the pain go away – unless, of course, one enjoys another’s distress. They call that sadism.

And, of course, there’s no opportunity to receive the apology or explanation if other people have been turned off, or the reciprocal desire to hurt gets turned on.

Conclusion, reconciliation requires a genuine desire to reduce distress. Something more than one-sided spewing of anger is needed for settlement. It seems to me that’s where “understanding” comes in.

Oh, but now what does “understanding” mean?

Or maybe it’s not anger that erupts, but despair that depresses. “I give up. There’s nothing more I can do.” Maybe settlement can’t happen between living people. Maybe the other person isn’t willing, or isn’t even capable of responding, as in having an issue with someone who has completed the earthly journey. Maybe the settlement can only be internal.

“Understanding” can still help. The stress can still be reduced. Next time I’d like to introduce “Jennies rule.”

In the meantime, are some of you willing to give examples of what “settlement” would mean to you?

 

 

WHAT AM I TELLING MYSELF?   1 comment

When it comes to the big things, I don’t make decisions. I’ve found that I give myself clues to my direction by watching what I do. For example, when I buy a car (every 12 years or so) I don’t decide, “Oh, it’s time to get a new car,” Well, that’s not quite true, when I traded in my Starion in 2002 it was because it needed expensive repair for the first time in its some 16 years. But when I bought the Starion I realized that I’d been looking at automobile ads with special interest for some time. “Aha!” I said to me, “there must be a reason why you’re doing this. I guess it’s time to buy a new car.”

And then there’s moving, as in leaving Connecticut for Minnesota. Oh, I had done a lot of spadework – even bought a house here and rented it under control of a leasing agent. But it was 2:00 a.m. one April morning that I said to myself, “OK. I’m moving in November or December.” I started telling my clients that I’d be leaving. That’s when I learned that things can move pretty fast with a deadline. I also told potential clients my plan, offering to give them a referral if they wanted longer-term work. Only one person asked for a referral. One potential client even said, “Good. I hate psychologists anyway.” We did get things done in a hurry. On her way out of our last session she thanked me for being the only therapist who ever helped because “You tell it like it is.” (If you know me personally and want to ask in private, I’ll tell you how that worked.)

Then there was the move out of that first Minnesota home. Partly it was my own behavior, and partly it was the snow and ice that clogged my garage door at the bottom of the steep driveway. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” I thought, “just to see what’s available around here.” Smart real estate agent. She knew better than I did what I wanted. In no time at all I had made a deposit on my current home and sold my ice collector. I love it here.

But here’s my question. What am I telling myself now? In the past three days I’ve stuffed my recycling bin with the contents of twenty business-size three-ring notebooks and purchased $32.00 worth of shredding. Gone are my teaching notes and materials for the workshops I used to do on “Forgiveness,” “A Healthy Woman is a Crazy Person,” and “Stress.” Am I subconsciously planning to move? I don’t think so. Am I accepting that I’m retired enough that I can spend my time hanging out with good books and traveling? It’s a possibility. Am I clearing a path for more devotion to writing? It could be. Is some new career creeping up on me? Maybe.

As soon as I know the answer, I’ll let you know, whether you ask for it or not.

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