Archive for March, 2013

Bubble Wrap

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
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New Orleans, Mardi Gras Day 1999. Costumed rev...

Bubble Wrap will protect you from most things.

Bubble wrap, since the late 1950’s has been used to protect items from damage or breakage. I was actually wrapped in it from the age of six when my dad died, till…well I don’t really remember when it was that I broke free from it. I think sometimes that if I looked hard enough I might still see bits stuck to me. Amazingly I could still breathe, but only just. The problem was I didn’t think I was any different from any other kid. Unfortunately, when I was sixteen I popped some of the bubbles and there was no turning back, that was when I started to feel the good and the bad and see the beautiful and the ugly sides of life. Because I had been in my bubble cocoon for sixteen years I was sooo unprepared for what life had in store for me.

Since having my daughter I vowed never to use bubble wrap on her. I wanted her to be prepared for life, but alas being a mum myself I suddenly realised why my mum had used it. It was great stuff and I could use as much or as little as I needed. I began being selective as to where or when I would use it on her. My intention wasn’t to smother her I just wanted to stop her from feeling hurt, feeling pain. How silly was I? I wrapped her in it mostly when she was outside, convinced she was fine when at home, with me or her father. Yeah right! Well she wasn’t. She was being abused right under my nose and I didn’t see it.

Fast forward to now, fourteen years on. She is a beautiful young and confident woman who I still see as my little girl. I still want to protect her. If she is hurting, I hurt. When she is happy I am happy. The bubble wrap is gone…..well I thought it was. You see, this morning I had an epiphany. Here I was contemplating her life and thinking about a few of the problems she is experiencing at the moment. I was actually trying to brainstorm a few ideas for her to help get her life back on track. I suddenly realised that I was being quite selfish in trying to sort her problems for her. I was, I must admit wanting to help her so that I didn’t have to feel her pain. OMG!!

I had just been discussing a blog I had read here about the importance of getting in touch with all our feelings, not just the good ones. And here I was, still in my bubble wrap shield and still forcing my daughter to use it. Even the painful feelings should be recognised as important in teaching us about ourselves, others and life. Some of my best ideas, epiphanies and creativity has come from painful experiences. I suddenly realised that I had been continually attempting to rob my daughter of life’s experiences by shielding her from feeling stress, anxiety, worry and pain.

I know this new found knowledge won’t be easy to put into practice, after all  I have been at it a long time. But I will still be the soft place for her to fall, the shoulder to cry on, just not so much the one to want to ‘fix everything’ to make myself feel better.

Life is strange. How long has it taken me to realise this lesson? too long I say. Maybe I am the reason she is ‘stuck in a rut’ as she describes it. Perhaps I am preventing her from learning from the lessons she needs to learn in order to grow. Well today is a new day, there are still more lessons to learn, bring it on 🙂

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Cover art (Windows version)

According to psychologist we should all be striving for a win-win outcome when it comes to conflict. Now what does that mean exactly?

For me it means if I have a disagreement with you over twelve year olds being old enough for tattoos for example, in order for there to be a win-win situation from where I sit, you would need to change your mind and agree with me. You of course would need to see me change my opinion to match yours. You see, I think they are too young  and you don’t, so we have a conflict of interests. For there to be a win-win here, either I or you would need to change our opinion….or agree to disagree which isn’t really a win-win now is it? Clearly a win-win means different things to different people.

I doubt that in the real world win-wins happen as frequently as some would like to think. Most times there is a clear winner and loser in conflict, at best there may be a close second. Both the loser and second place-getter will feel ripped off, cheated or coerced into agreeing if not right there and then, quite possibly later on when they reflect on what they should have said (if the other had shut up for five) if they had not been so emotional.

Sometimes agreements can be reached (and promises made) at the time of conflict and it appears to have a win-win resolution on the surface. However a bit later down the track the conflict can resurface if the agreements and promises are not upheld. Intention and integrity are important in conflict negotiations because if promises are not kept, the next confrontation may well end in violence.

Sometimes it serves us to hang on to conflict for fear that if we end it by either seeking a resolution, or be accepting or giving an apology, we will be forced into a ‘relationship’ with the person we desire to distance ourselves from. I just hate it when people with ‘good intentions’ expect everyone  ‘just to get along’. That doesn’t happen, not even in fairy tales! Stephanie Dowrick believes that forcing people in conflict to spend time together is pointless and may even be dangerous. I agree Stephanie! I know of a few people that make my life happier when they are not around and ‘because they are family’ means nought to me. Harper Lee (Author – To Kill A Mockingbird) once said “you can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family”. Well I disagree, I can choose who I spend my time with regardless of whether we share the same blood or marriage lines or not! You can choose as well. Why waste your time on trying to get along with others who you do not want the best for you, only indulge their own desires, wants and needs, put you down etc, etc, etc.

None of us should aim to be winners in conflict, if we both reach the ribbon at the end of the race at the same time, both of us will still believe we were better than the other. Rather than striving for the proverbial ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ win-win end to conflict, why not strive to negotiate in the name of fairness. Fairness requires caring and empathy, it is kind, understanding and ongoing. Winning is competitive, egotistic and often final. Who knows maybe this is why we have so much conflict in our personal life and our world. Respecting and admitting that we all have different perspectives is a step in the right direction and has to be better than competing to be right.

Fairness and peace to you all.

 

The heart of life is good

Posted: March 9, 2013 in Personal Growth

This blog is amazing. A reminder of how to handle everything life throws at us and to embrace the good the bad and the ugly.

I can remember a conversation I had, that unbeknown to me at the time, would one day shape my entire attitude towards life and make some of the most painful and challenging and testing experiences that were yet to happen, bearable. And not just bearable, but valuable.
It was only 8 words in response to a question I posed to my mother, but I knew even at the time by the way the words struck me dumb that I had heard something that was significant and somehow, would shape me.

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