Tag Archives: Recreation

When Disappointment comes in Threes… it’s Still not Personal

24 Jan Notes to Self

You’ve probably heard the (stupid) adage that bad news comes in threes.  I know people who are so enmeshed with this belief that when two (bad) things happen just days apart, they expect that the streak won’t end until a third bad thing happens.  But like the good things in life, none of this is personal. (See my other posts about Don Miguel Ruiz‘s book The Four Agreements The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”

When it comes to disappointment, we take a similar stance – when one disappointment happens, more seem to pile up within minutes.  It is only natural to feel a bit down when the first disappointment happens (due to OUR unfulfilled expectations of them), but then things seem to compound with everyone that crosses our path.  Some weeks it seems that everyone I meet behaves differently than I would (unfulfilled golden rule!) and it can really bring me down!

Let me give you an example… when a friend n0-shows or doesn’t come through on plans we’ve made, I feel disappointed, but still resilient.  When a second person does something similar thing around the same time, I again feel disappointed and start to feel disrespected.  When a third (unrelated to the first two) person forgets about a promise they’ve made – it compounds the first two situations and now I start to wonder what my role was in the three-event situation.

The answer is that it’s not personal!  I was simply the common denominator participant in a perfect storm trifecta of events!  The three incidents were unrelated, not about me, and simply the converging of three things happening during the same week TO ME.  While the situation may FEEL personal, the coalescence of the three events has nothing to do with me or my manifestation of life!

A friend called me yesterday expressing this same sentiment – her sister had promised to drive her home from work and then didn’t neglected to show up or call; another friend had forgotten about an appointment they had made; and a co-worker reamed her out over something minor.  All unrelated events, but my friend was feeling disregarded and wondered what she had done to deserve such treatment.  The answer is nothing – people behave the way they will and even when disappointment comes in threes (or more) it’s still NOT personal.

disappointment

p.s., We tend to remember the negative things that hit our day more than the positive ones.  For me, I’ve found that it is easier to digest disappointment when I take notice of the good things that happen throughout the day. For example, when someone follows through on what they promise, when people share a compliment, when someone smiles for no reason.  As Don Miguel Ruiz states, these things too (like the negatives) are not personal.  When we notice the good things that happen all the time, they balance out the negatives — we simply fail to take notice.

Have a great day!

Carol

Unknown Unknowns…

10 Apr

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

–Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

It is said that the known knowns (what we know we know) and the known unknowns (what we know we do not know) are a mere 3-5% of what we could know if we discovered even a few of our unknown unknowns (what we have no idea about that we cannot even imagine we do not know).  Similar to the iceberg above, there is an amazing world beneath the surface of those first two categories.

Once in a while, we gain a glimpse of things we had no idea was even possible in our existence – and it can be exciting to discover these things.  What I find amazing is that the things I do not know that I do not know may be things that others may find obvious or might at least be on their radar that they know nothing about.  How much bigger could your and my world be if we caught more glimpses of positive unknown unknowns in our world.

Yet, so many people, especially politicians and leaders purport to know all there is to know about the world, and a few will even offer to find out things that they know they do not know.  On the other hand, there are those whose minds are closed and not open, and they prefer not to even consider that there are ideas beyond those already on their radar.  The concept of unknown unknowns does not even enter their realm of reality.  Do you know people like this?

When our minds are open (like umbrellas) we are able to embrace new ideas and listen actively. The more we know, the more we discover we don’t know, and suddenly the world can become interesting, no matter how old you may be!

How much excitement and happiness are in the world that we haven’t yet discovered is even there to discover?

So many things to learn to learn, and so little time.  (Just when we thought the world was getting smaller…  I don’t know about you, but knowing there is so much of life yet to discover, makes me happy to be alive.

Enjoy your day!

Fear is a four letter (F) word…

27 Mar

Fear plays a huge part in society today, and our public media knows that creating a frenzy based on fear sells newspapers, increases advertising and makes millions!  Globally, fear is a part of almost every society – and it motivates governments, countries, groups and people to take often irrational actions.  Fear is a scary thing!

Pick up any newspaper or listen in on conversations and you’ll find an increasing (and sometimes irrational) list of fears around us.  It is amazing that we get anything done when this mountain of fears are waiting to block our way:

  • Fear of terrorism (globally – and “we” are not necessarily on the friendly side worldwide);
  • Fear of God and eternal damnation (the religious right think they “know” the future);
  • Fear of differences (the Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Bisexuals know this more than others);
  • Fear of the unknown (what if the world ends on December 2);
  • Fear of what we think we know (we believe too much of what we read on the internet);
  • Fear of the past repeating itself (which can paralyze us from taking a change on new things);
  • Fear of new experiences (what if I don’t like it);
  • Fear for our children (what will the world be like in 30 years);
  • Fear of change (this one is wide open!);
  • Fear of turning into our parents;
  • Fear of being alone (how can I live without him/her even though it is bad);
  • Fear of being lonely (will I ever finding true “love”);
  • Fear of not being alone (or being stuck in a bad relationship);
  • Fear of losing our house or job or security;
  • Fear of the future (what if’s);
  • Fear of other religions (we do not understand);
  • Fear of other cultures (how can they live like that);
  • Fear of losing face (what will the neighbors/family/friends think);
  • Fear of loss/gains/failure/success;
  • What fears could you add to this list?

I could go on and on with the phobias and fears in daily life, but there is one item missing on this list:

  • Fear of the four letter “F” word: FEAR !

I believe that so many people feel they live a life that is out of control (and dominated by factors they have nothing to do with), that fear moves in.   By seeking and needing to control aspects of our life that we do not, we sometimes allow (or even create) fear to paralyze us and become the excuse that we don’t take action. Sometimes we even use fear to rationalize our irrational behavior!

Moving forward from our past…

Certainly, our experience plays a big part in our present fear – we want to avoid repeating behaviors that caused us pain in the past – but that is like driving forward by looking in the rear view mirror.  When we are soaring over the cliff (we were not watching for the “bridge out sign” ahead of us), we reassure ourselves that at least we were not rear-ended.

I believe that Fear is a Four Letter “F” Word that has no place in an optimistic vocabulary or our psyche.  Maybe we ought to start to ‘wash out our mouths’ for using this four letter F word?  It simply does us little good, and furthermore it clouds our judgment.

If I allowed my past together with fear to decide my future, I would never go out with another man, I would never trust another friend, I would never move to a foreign land, I would stop trying and dreaming and hoping… and that would be, frankly, irrational!

For me, the only way forward in life is to face my fears like the same way I would confront a bully – with strength, determination, and sheer guts.  My hopes, dreams, thoughts and life is too important (to me) to allow a little four letter F word to run amok.

Have a good week!

Carol

Fear & Excitement – Two Sides of the Same Coin?

10 May

Perhaps you’ve noticed that when a new situation in life arises, you may alternate between fear and excitement of the same unknown future. Most often the fear is unfounded and excitement should prevail, yet our psyche seems to favor punishing us by hanging on to the fear.

Take a new job or career move.  How often do we allow what should be an exciting new adventure (a positive career move) digress into a set of unfounded what-if questions:  What if they find out that I can’t do the job? What if I don’t perform to the level the job demands? What if I’m not as qualified as I portray?

Yet, for all the gloom and doom this entails, we ought to be focusing on the equally positive outcomes.

We ought to ask questions like:  What if the job is too easy and I am ready for the next level quickly?  What if I exceed all expectations?  What if everyone loves my work?

As children we learn to temper disappointments long before they occur and to prepare for negative outcomes (somehow it was supposed to prevent hurt…) and to face our fears.  But seldom is it taught that one should be excited about positive outcomes – yet those are precisely what we want most.

I believe that when we feel fear in a new situation, all we really need to do is to turn it around into an opportunity where we can be excited, and watch the situation turn itself around in our minds!

For example, I’ve never moved out on my own yet I am in middle age!  Having moved from my parents to my marriage and then having stayed in my house since, it is a scary (and exciting) proposition to think about having to move and find a small apartment.  I was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having to clean out 4 bedrooms, an office, 3 bathrooms and a 4 car-garage all by myself and find a new place to live (who knows where?) – and I mentioned to a colleague that I was fearful of the process. His response was that it is an exciting new fresh start in my life – and never have I had the opportunity to make decisions for me alone.  “How incredibly excited you must be” were his words.

That’s when I realized that Fear and Excitement are often two sides of the same coin.  From now on, I prefer to nurture an outlook of excitement! How about you?

Have a great week,

Carol

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Loving and Losing… it’s never easy for me

15 Apr

I have to tell you

that I wasn’t always a pet person, but someone who used to be important in my life convinced me that pets would be a good way to teach children about love and loss.  They may have been right.

I haven’t thought about the statement for over 20 years, but I remembered it today as I lost yet another beloved pet.  In recalling the past (I wanted to save my children from the eventual pain of a pet dying and was overridden), I realized that day was my first foray into pet ownership.    I realize that, even as an adult, I don’t know if I will ever get used to the losing part of the equation. As I look back at my life (beyond pets too) I ponder the saying “Is it better to have loved and lost, or to never have loved at all?” – I can’t say I know the answer.

Today came unexpectedly (which was different from the gradual demise of two dogs and an old-age kitty within the last 3 years) – my little female sugar glider was lethargic and I took her into the vet thinking it was just malaise of some sort.  When the bad news came that she was dehydrated and would have only a 10-15% chance of surviving a necessary surgery, I said a tearful goodbye and she was euthanized.  I cried in the office, I cried in my car, and I’m crying as I write this.  Crazy? Perhaps, but she was the cutest, most gentle little creature and a mate to my little male, and I loved her.  And, I believe she loved me back.

As a short aside, I came into sugar glider “parenting”  9 years ago- just a few months after my daughter gifted one to her boyfriend as a birthday present.  Somehow, he (the sugar glider not the boyfriend) ended up living with me and I’ve been in love with the little creatures since.  Up until today, I had a fixed pair of sugar gliders (they do well in pairs when one is fixed) who were halfway through their expected 15-year lifespan.

I know that loss is a part of life…but

I just can’t seem to get used to it.  I understand that every living thing evolves, changes, moves away, grows up, dies, becomes another person or simply disengages – and I can accept that easily when love is not involved.  It’s the loss part that inevitably comes with loving pets, people, friends, lovers, where I have a problem.

It seems like I am on a “losing streak” these days having lost two dogs, one cat and one sugar glider in the space of less than three years; along with several “toxic friendships” (all take and no give) that I no longer could accept.

Pets are wonderful — when you give them love, they love you back unconditionally – wow, I like that.  But the pain of loss makes me wonder sometimes whether the loving part is worth it.

Okay, now I’m not talking just about pets anymore. I think it applies to friends, family, husbands, wives, lovers, people everywhere!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I believe in reciprocal love. I think that we can love, but we really cannot ever expect that love to be reciprocated.  One of my favorite sayings is:  Never make anyone a priority for whom you are only an option – and I am learning to apply it to all types of relationships.  (I haven’t yet perfected this – I still get fooled into relationships now and again, but I’m getting more savvy at taking care of me first!)

I know I have the capacity and the goodness to love other people, I just don’t think it necessarily ever comes back.  When I am there for someone when he/she needs support, when I give fully of myself and become vulnerable, when I really love someone, I have to realize that it will someday result in a loss – AND – furthermore, it may not be reciprocal.  I wonder if the emotion of feeling like you are “in love” and feeling like such love is reciprocated is really worth it in the end.

With half of marriages ending in divorce, and many like mine were wake up calls after being married to the wrong person for half my life, and with so many people fixated on changing others, I wonder why anyone bothers to invest in love at all.

Or, maybe  my experience with “love” was really not love at all.  If love means that someone else accepts and supports you unconditionally, without defenses or conditions, then perhaps I have never been loved.  Maybe the “expectation” that love should be reciprocal or kind is simply misguided on my part!

I do believe that I have experienced pockets of love in my life – I believe that my parents, my children, my pets, a few close friends, and myself DO love me and I am truly blessed with them all.  Any other expectations of love, as I am feeling today, are simply beyond reality – and I can deal with that.  People choose to love or not, and I am learning to watch people’s actions over the “I love you” words.

Am I alone in my feelings towards love and loss?  At this point, I’m not sure loving anew would ever be worth the loss down the road.  What do you think?

p.s., Rest in peace little glider… I miss you.

Have a great weekend all!

Carol

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Volunteering… if it’s okay with you

19 Oct

Do you ever find yourself asking something simple of someone and the response is a sigh and a reluctant agreement – even if it’s their job to do what you just asked? And what happens if instead of asking the person for something, you are volunteering to do something to further their cause, and they feel the need to qualify you?

I do a ton of volunteer work in and around Tampa Bay for various charities and events. I find it interesting to see how differently the various groups treat their volunteers.  Some groups are fantastic – they value and appreciate volunteer efforts no matter how many hours you choose to give.  Some events welcome their volunteers with thanks and humility – and leave volunteers wanting to donate even more hours because they feel valued.

Others take volunteers for granted or even worse, some volunteer groups feel that it is your privilege to serve them and that thanks is overrated.  Just as some causes are better than others, so too are some “leaders” of the volunteer groups.  While thanks is never an expectation when donating your time, it is a nice touch to have someone at least recognize that you gifted their charity (through time).

In my humble opinion, every minute that is volunteered is a gift of the “present” – a gift of time that the giver freely donates (and time is the most valuable commodity).  I will absolutely volunteer again and again with the firms and organizations that I know appreciate me.

Then there’s the rare ones that make you feel as if you have to get their permission to volunteer. They screen and qualify and want to turn volunteerism into a full-time job for you.  You might be surprised at this, but unfortunately it’s not as remote an issue as one would think.  I don’t know about you, but if it takes a lot of administrative effort to volunteer, and if the structure is such that you have to volunteer according to very rigid strict rules, I’m not going to give my precious heartbeats to the organization.  Just as purchases are made on emotion, so too are where we choose to spend our time – and volunteerism should be a noble cause – with noble people…  it’s the few rotten apples who need control and who treat volunteers as fodder who create a problem.

Fortunately these are few and far between!  I love to volunteer and further a cause with my talents and energy.  And the return on investment is the joy in assisting others who are less fortunate, camaraderie among volunteers, and new friendships.  I guess maybe it IS a privilege to volunteer after all!

Wishing you a happy week.

Regards,
Carol

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