Monday, October 04, 2004

affected (or: a post put up elsewhere in response to something you don't get to read that i wanted to keep)

Years and years ago I took a class in which I learned something very interesting about myself. I learned that I had been using "accusatory statements" without intending to. I did not know that I was phrasing things in such a way that it sounded like I was always blaming the other person. I learned to switch some things around so I could say what I needed to say, without putting the other person on the defensive. I cannot tell you how much this has improved my life. I went from sounding like someone who felt sorry for herself all the time to sounding like someone who helped other people because it made her capable of understanding her own problems better. But did I really turn into someone else? No, I had always been that person, I just did not know how to convey it before. Don't get me wrong, there is still some selfishness to me and I can be utterly oblivious sometimes, but at least I am avoiding pissing people off when I don't mean to. What I learned was to express how I was feeling with "I statements" instead of "you statements." It sounded so incredibly lame when I first heard it, but when I was forced to use this statements in class, I realized how effective it really was. It was my first lesson in diplomacy. How to get my point across without being interrupted. How to deal with difficult people, especially when I was feeling particularly difficult, myself.

Another lesson I learned (and which my stepmom likes to remind me of when I am angry about something), no one can make me feel bad about myself without my express permission. No one can put me in a bad mood without my allowing them to do so. I cannot blame other people for what happens to me emotionally, no matter what they do, even if it really is horrible. In the end, I am solely responsible for myself (though i must thank Eleanor Roosevelt, whom I have paraphrased somewhere in there).

Ah, and I was told once that I needed to "seek therapy" by, believe it or not, one of my high school teachers (he didn't like my abstract writing very much, it seems...tee hee). It doesn't matter how it is phrased or how positively it is meant, it will never sound nice to the other person. Each person has to decide for themselves what is right for them. Some people don't believe in seeing a therapist. Some people might already have a therapist, but aren't getting the help they need. It is not for any of us to say. If the person were to ask "Hey, do you think I should seek professional help?" then it is fine to state your opinion, but only because they asked.

It is often very hard, but sometimes we just have to suck it up and be nice because, like my friend Jinxie said, we don't know the extent of the next person's problems. We also need to take into consideration that we cannot compare the pain of one person to the pain of another.

I seem to deal with death a lot better than virtually anyone I know. I have seen so much more of it than my friends. Actually, most of my friends have never lost someone close to them. Whereas I have lost both friends and family members, even going through a period of seven years where I attended at least one funeral a year (and these were close friends and family, I could not bear to sit down and count all the other people I knew from school or randomly who also passed during that time).

And yet, when a friend's cat died last year, I was completely sympathetic, because she was having such a hard time with it. A lot of people looked down on her, said "it's just an animal," acted as if she should just get over it. I actually cried with her when we found out, because I could not stand to see my friend so sad.

I have learned, through the years, that helping someone else who is feeling bad makes me forget about my problems and sometimes even learn how to resolve them. I know people say misery loves company, but I do not think it has to have such negative connotations. We do not have to drag each other down. Sometimes people don't need to be cheered up, they just need a hug, or a shoulder to cry on or an ear to bend. And I do not think that is asking too much.


Blogger Antonio Hicks said...

I was just browsing various blogs as I was doing a search on the word poster, and I just wanted to say that I really like what you've done with your blog, even though it wasn't particularly related to what I searched for. I appreciate your postings, and your blog is a good example of how a blog should be done. I've only just recently started a Posters website - feel free to visit it when you get a chance if you wish. Much success, antonio.

9:14 PM  

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