Thursday, February 25, 2010

Word Wonder -- rejection

Friday, February 25, 2010

To reject means to:
1. To refuse to accept, recognize, believe, etc. 2. To refuse to grant; deny as a petition. 3. to refuse (a person)  recognition, acceptance, etc. 5. To cast away as rejected. [From the Latin rejectus, which comes from reicere. Reicere is made of two parts: re-, meaning "back" + jacere, meaning "to throw."] - Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary.

Most people have experienced rejection at some point. Perhaps you have. Maybe someone who matters to you has refused to accept you into the family or the workplace. Maybe you've been part of a group but then were rejected, expelled from it.

The hurt of rejection can slice deep, cutting through layers of defenses and hopes. If you have experienced rejection in the past without coming to terms with it, fresh rejections can be especially painful and confusing as they pile up on the old ones. Rejection can feel scary, even threatening at times.

We use many words for rejection; here are some of them:
discard, repudiate, refuse, prohibit, contradict, ostracize, exclude, eject, disbelieve, drop, cut out, let go, dispense with, throw away, cast aside, get rid of, shrug off, dump, dispose of, jettison, jilt, throw to the wolves, write off, abandon, turn down, deprive of, repulse, rebuff, repel, kiss off, slam the door in one's face, snub, have nothing to do with, spurn, turn one's back, deny, shut out, exile, banish, ban, boycott, blackball, bar, ignore, segregate, isolate
Quite a long list of ways we find to exclude one another. They can all hurt, because one basic human need is to belong. Belonging affirms that we exist, that we have value and can contribute. When others cast us aside or don't let us "in" in the first place, our sense of belonging can feel threatened. It's easy to feel hurt and sad and to think, "If they don't want me, what will I do? I must not be as good as they are; maybe I'm not worth anything at all."

However, keep in mind that there is a difference between being rejected and being part of a natural change or situation that does not happen to include you. In the list of words above, I italicized some words because they could signal rejection, or they could simply signal a more neutral change or situation. Although such situations can be hard to take, they're not necessarily a personal attack against you.

Take a look at the comparisons below to get a feel for this difference:
rejection: Your girlfriend yells, "Kiss off, Asshole!" (Her anger and words are a definite rejection.)
neutral situation: You didn't get the funding for which you applied. The letter reads, "We regret to inform you that your application has been denied."  (You simply didn't qualify, or other applicants were more qualified. This is not personal against you, even if it is hard to hear.)
rejection: You've been on the job for six months and seem to get along with your co-workers. Then, without warning, many of them start to snub you in the staff room and don't talk to you unless they have to for work. (Whether or not you understand why, this sort of treatment seems to send the message: We don't want/like/value you.)
neutral situation: A member of your team who often seems to be "on your side" now contradicts your opinion during a discussion. (As uncomfortable as this can be, it's just another person's opinion. Having different opinions does not mean that anyone has less value than anyone else.)
 The key to dealing with all such situations -- clear rejections and neutral situations -- is to find ways to see and accept your own value no matter what others feel, think, say or do. What can you do when you feel rejected? Feel, think and act your way to new understanding:
  • Acknowledge your feelings. It's human and okay to have emotional reactions to tough circumstances. Name your feelings; do you feel sad, hurt, angry, disappointed, afraid, lonely, resentful, useless? Let the tears flow. Take a few deep breaths. Go for a walk. Write in your journal. Talk it out.
  • Think through the situation as clearly as you can. Ask yourself what led up to the rejection or change. Look at your own part in it; are you part of the problem? Do you need to apologize for anything? What can you learn and do differently next time? Keep in mind that circumstances might change in time. You might decide that you're happy with your actions. If so, remind yourself that others won't always agree with you and that that's just fine.
  • Act on what you've learned and what you know. Learn to remind yourself of your value, no matter what others think. Ask someone you trust to help you see your less-wonderful traits. Change your behaviours that cause relationship problems. If it's appropriate, talk the situation over with those who are involved.
Change and rejection happen to everybody, but no matter which you experience, it's in your power to turn things around. Feel your feelings, think it through, and act on your own good intentions. You cannot change anyone else, and you might not be able to change the situation, but you can definitely change how you deal with it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Friendship Week

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I took a look at my long list of holidays and observances (see my February 1 post for a short list) and discovered that we're in the middle or so of International Friendship Week. I think that's a neat idea, though I view its origins with some skepticism -- what if it was started by a greeting card company? In a brief search, I couldn't find out where it started, but I'm drawing attention to it because, like the other holidays and observances I write about, it doesn't hurt to be reminded of something worth thinking about.

What if each of us wrote down the names of three, five or ten friends and then did any or all of the following for them:
  1. Call and ask how her day is going. Have a chat.
  2. Say a prayer/Send him love for five minutes.
  3. Bake her favourite goodie and take it over while it's fresh.
  4. Make a card and mail it. (Okay, you can buy one if you must.)
  5. Offer to take care of one tedious task for him.
  6. Take her out for tea, coffee, or a meal.
  7. Invite her for a night or afternoon out to some fun event.
  8. Take care of another tedious task for him.
  9. Text or email him a short list of what you like about him.
  10. Thank her for being your friend.
I think that I can pretty much guarantee that both you and your friend(s) will feel better afterwards, no matter what's going on in your lives.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What is your community?

acceptance, tolerance, and love
reject assumptions
listen & hear
circle  clothe
care        guide
feed            offer
emotions                 actions

What is your community made of?
What part do you play in your community?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Word Wonder -- willingness

Friday, February 19, 2010
1. Having the mind favourably inclined or disposed. 3 Gladly proffered or done; hearty.

[From the Old English word for will -- willa, which comes from the ancient Indo-European root wer-, meaning to wish or to will.] - Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary and Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dicitonary, Tenth Edition

Is there something in your life that isn't going the way you want? Do you feel disappointed or frustrated by people and events? Maybe you don't know how to make things different, or maybe you don't want to make things different. Perhaps your situation has already changed, and you cannot put life back the way it was.

Well, the uncomfortable truth is that whether you want to make changes or have had them forced upon you, your best bet for serenity is to change yourself -- your thoughts, your actions, your words. You'll be wasting a lot of valuable energy and time if you try to change other people or ignore and resent new circumstances. Like the ancients, your willa, your willingness, is your best tool for moving forward.

At this point you have a choice. You can either leave things the way they are and deal with the problems as they are, or you can risk making a change and deal with the new situation as it develops. If you decide, even slightly, to move in a new direction, here's a useful "trick" that can help you get over the hump. It can help you have a mind that is "favourably inclined" to the needed change.

Make a time and place where you can think and be quiet for a few minutes; this won't take long. Think about your resistance to the change. Maybe you feel angry or resentful about it. You might very well feel afraid, since fear and nervousness are usual reactions to change.

Now, see if you can find even a tiny, small sliver of willingness inside yourself. You might think, "Well, I don't like this at all, but I guess I'm willing to consider that I might feel better about it someday." Even being willing to be willing to be willing is enough to get you going. Ignore any pressure you feel to do this in a certain way or at a certain time. Just acknowledge that somewhere inside yourself, you're willing to be willing to be willing to change a tiny bit at some point in time. Then let go of your "shoulds" and "have-to thinking," knowing you have made a great start in getting unstuck or accepting the inevitable.

Now, every once in a while, notice and nurture that small willingness you've found. You might discover that in time, your willingness will grow and your resistance will diminish. Maybe your willingness will even be "gladly proffered" with a hearty openness. You just never know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Word Wonder -- down in the dumps

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It seems that sometime during the Middle Ages (about 475-1450 A.D.), people spoke of depression or melancholy as "the dumps." The expression doesn't appear to have been written down in English until 1529, when Sir Thomas More wrote a piece called A Dialoge of Comforte Against Tribulation. In his Dialoge, More said,
What heapes of heauynesse, hathe of late fallen amonge vs already, with whiche some of our poore familye bee fallen into suche dumpes.
Now, More had been the Lord Chancellor of England  until he refused to support King Henry VIII as head of the English Church. For this, he was sent to the Tower of London to await his beheading. Some of his fellow-dissenters were disemboweled and then drawn and quartered, so it was clearly not a good idea to defy the king. During More's year or so in the Tower, he wrote A Dialoge of Comforte Against Tribulation. He and his family would most certainly have been in the dumpes.

In 1592, under much less dire circumstances, Shakespeare used the term in The Taming of the ShrewFirey, shrewish Kate has met Petrucio, and isn't impressed with him as a suitor. Her father comes in and asks:
Why, how now, daughter Katharina! in your dumps?
Fast forward to today, when feeling down in the dumps is no more fun than it was hundreds of years ago. I have no idea if we deal with it any better than our predecessors did, but at least we can take comfort in knowing that being down in the dumps is a normal human state to be in from time to time. So, deal yourself a break. Talk to somebody you trust. Get some exercise and extra rest. If you can, figure out the source of your "dumps" and do what you can about it. You might even find it helps to pick up a good book...A Dialoge of Comforte Against Tribulation and The Taming of the Shrew come to mind.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Word Wonder -- lethargy

Monday, February 15, 2010

1. a state of sluggish inaction, indifference, or dullness; apathy.

[The word "lethargy" comes, via French and Latin, from the Greek word lethargos, meaning forgetful, which in turn comes from the Greek lethe, meaning oblivion.] - Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary

It seems that in Greek mythology, the River Lethe flowed through Hades. Those who went to Hades drank the water of the river in order to forget the past -- to find oblivion. Ancient Greek physicians likened this state of oblivion to that of the deep slumber they saw in some patients, so they called the disease lethargia. The ancient Romans compared the oblivion in the myth to the oblivion of death and came up with lethalis, an adjective that today means "lethal" -- deadly or fatal. - Thereby Hangs a Tale, Charles Earle Funk.

Today the word lethargy is generally used in the way it's defined at the beginning of this post -- a state of indifference or sluggishness. Most people experience short-term lethargy every once in a while. A great night's sleep, a brisk walk, a weekend of "just" lying around or a night out with friends can often take care of it.

A longer period of lethargy can accompany depression, mourning, or illness and is a normal part of these conditions. Loss, fear, and sickness rob us of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional energy, making it difficult to think or to perform even simple tasks. Lethargy can drain our interest in life and in the people around us.

Here are some helpful (and maybe not surprising) ways to deal with lethargy:
  • Deal yourself a break. Be as kind and patient with yourself as you would be with a good friend.
  • Get enough sleep. This might include naps, even if you don't usually "do" naps.
  • Eat more fresh, raw foods and fewer processed foods.
  • Get outside for fresh air.
  • Add a walk or other exercise to your fresh air experience. Even small amounts of exercise are helpful; you can increase it bit by bit.
Allow yourself this down time. Read more. Listen to music or talking books. Visit with comfortable friends. Do easy tasks like sorting magazines or cleaning one cupboard.

Talk with a counsellor if you feel this will help. Whether your situation is temporary or long-term, counselling support can be very helpful.

One of the hardest things about dealing with the lethargy of depression and mourning is that it feels like it will never end, even if helpful books and people have assured you it will. Pay attention to your levels of energy and let them guide you as much as possible. If you feel like visiting with friends, do so. If you need a few hours on the couch, go for it. Enjoy laughter and positive energy when they come and respect the tears that can follow. Gently but firmly encourage yourself to reach a little further when you can, but don't give in to blame; feeling lethargic is not the same as being lazy or selfish.

Life may be a roller coaster at times, but if lethargy is part of your ride at the moment, accept it as best you can and be on the lookout for happier moments.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love, Love, Love

February 14 or Valentine's Day, whichever you prefer...

Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.
     -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
     -- Carl Jung

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
     -- Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is Love in the Air?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today is Valentine's Day Eve, if you will, and I'm offering a thought or two before the day itself. Give you time to think about it and rush off to the store.

However Valentine's Day came to be observed to the extent it is in North America today, I am skeptical about much of it. I'm not fully jaded, chalking it up to greeting card companies alone, but I do lean toward the "much ado about nothing" camp.

All the same, one aspect of V's Day with which I cannot argue is its devotion to numerous expressions of love and friendship: flowers, candy, poetry, dinners out, heart-shaped cookies, pretty cards, extra kisses and hugs.

So if you have a friend, lover, or stranger to whom you wish to offer an extra splash of love tomorrow, do it with gusto! I believe that any act of love, friendship, or fellow feeling is a good thing. Here are some quotes from a few people who seem to agree:

Tell the lonely people there's love in the world.
     -- Al Green

It's love, it's love that makes the world go 'round.
     -- Anonymous. Used by W. S. Gilbert in Iolanthe.

Oh, Happy race of men, if love, which rules Heaven, rule your minds.
     -- Boethius, Consolations of Philosophy

Flower o' the broom,
Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.
     -- Robert Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi

Across the gateway of my heart
I wrote, "No Thoroughfare,"
But love came laughing by, and cried:
"I enter everywhere."
     -- Herbert Shipman, No Thoroughfare

Friday, February 12, 2010

Going Bonkers?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is life getting to you? Are you looking for ways to lighten up and lighten the load? Then check out this great magazine called Going Bonkers? -- The self-help magazine with a sense of humor. Published out of Katy, Texas, this quarterly magazine is full of light-hearted yet reliable and accurate help with life's conundrums and calamities. From the Going Bonkers website:
Better than a pill....
Hotter than a stolen tamale…
Healthier than a carrot.....
More helpful than a hotline….
Articles cover a range of topics, such as:   
  • Half a Mind -- Right Brain VS. Left Brain
  • Shame Off You -- Four Steps to shame-free living
  • Bam! Bang! Boom! -- When a Loved One Explodes from Anger
  • Goodbye Friend -- Coping with the loss of a beloved pet
  • The Black Hole -- Making the Best of a Ho-Hum Job
The articles do not use complicated concepts or fancy terms; they're straightforward and helpful without dragging the reader down. Regular monthly features such as "Bonkeroids" and "Wacky Wisdom" rely on brevity and levity (I couldn't resist) to carry serious messages. In addition, you can subscribe to the Going Bonkers? monthly newsletter, Bonkers Bits. I encourage you to check out Going Bonkers?.

Over the next two days, I'll post the two articles I've had published in the magazine to date.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Loving You is Killing Me

Friday, February 5, 2010

It took quite a while, but I finally figured out how to make available two articles I wrote for Going Bonkers? magazine, which bills itself as "The self-help magazine with a sense of humor." Published in Katy, Texas, Going Bonkers is full of practical information, support, and suggestions for dealing with all sorts of situations and problems.

In my article called "Loving You is Killing Me! -- Tips and Tools for Those Who Love a Crazy-maker" I offer suggestions for dealing with troubled, troubling, and troublesome loved ones -- TLOs for short. The ideas in the article are similar to those in the book I wrote with my brother, Bill Klatte: It's So Hard to Love You -- Staying Sane When Your Loved One is Manipulative, Needy, Dishonest, or Addicted (New Harbinger Publications).

I hope you'll find the article helpful, and I encourage you to check out Going Bonkers? magazine for more helpful articles, Bonkerisms, and Bonkeroids.

I'll post the second article tomorrow. Happy reading.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

When I woke up this morning, I thought of Helen Keller, a woman who became deaf and blind as a toddler. I remembered the original version of the movie The Miracle Worker, which starred Patty Duke as Helen and Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan, Helen's indomitable teacher. I lay in bed remembering my feelings of awe and fascination as I'd watched the movie; I would have been about 11, not much older than Helen was in the movie.

At that time, I was intrigued and moved by Helen's level of "disability" and Annie's stubborn refusal to give up on her. Helen's parents and her rebellious brother, James, loved her deeply but were completely flummoxed as to how to help her. Then along came Annie Sullivan. She stood up to Helen's father, the very much in-charge Captain Keller, and turned everyone's lives upside down. Beyond the movie's scope, in real life, Helen and Annie spent many years together, and Helen went on to become a highly educated force for change.

The other movie that impressed me deeply as a young girl was To Kill a Mockingbird, which I've just discovered came out the same year as The Miracle Worker did. Based on the book by Harper Lee, the movie starred Gregory Peck (the first and longest-lasting love of my life, I swear) as another indomitable soul -- Atticus Finch. A lawyer in the southern U.S. during the Depression, Atticus defended a black man who was wrongfully accused of raping a white girl. In the course of the movie, Atticus also taught his kids to resist prejudice and hatred and to follow their own conscience, even against deeply-rooted opposition.

Until this morning, I hadn't thought about the strong influence these characters had on me. Until this morning, I hadn't thought of any of them as my heroes, but I see that they were -- and are -- heroes to me. Their gut-level determination taught a young me about stubborn, challenging determination. They showed me that one good-hearted, bloody-minded person can make a difference to another human being. Atticus, Annie, and Helen demonstrated honesty and open-mindedness and courage at a time in my life when I was hungry to learn.

Before this morning I'd vaguely thought of heroes as being only for young boys, that "hero-worship" was a male thing and had to involve a real human being. I was wrong. Even though I met my heroes and heroines on the silver screen, their choices and actions swept into my gut, inspiring my admiration and making me cry deeply and laugh with gusto. I felt something. I saw something, and I wanted more of what I felt and saw in those stories, those people.

Today I realize how much I have aimed to be like Annie, Helen, and Atticus throughout my life. Today I recognize the value of heroes and heroines as I never had before. They inspire us to reach inside ourselves to find the same traits they display, traits every single one of us possesses but may not know are there.

Who are or were your heroes and heroines? How have they affected you?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Here is the second article I had published in Going Bonkers? -- The self-help magazine with a sense of humor. This light-but-useful article is called "Nagaholics -- Breaking Free form the Nag Trap" (used with permission). In it I offer a checklist that will help you examine your own behaviour and thinking, as well as suggestions for changing ineffective and unpleasant behaviours.

I encourage you to check out the magazine and my article; both are offered in a spirit of humour and helpfulness.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Self-Renewal Day

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When I was writing yesterday's post, I found several references for "Self-renewal Day," but they were on different days. That actually makes good sense, since any day can be a day of self-renewal. But since February 2 is the first one I found, I'm writing about it today. Feel free to self-renew any other days of the year, as well.Try these tips to recharge, renew, rejuvenate:
  • Smile when you first wake up, no matter how you feel.
  • At different times during the day, take three deep breaths.
  • Instead of turning on the radio or TV, sit quietly, even for a few minutes. Breathe slowly and notice what you see and hear.
  • Say "thanks" to some part of your body for what it does for you. If you get a laugh out of this, all the better.
  • Gently place your hands on top of your head, with your fingers together and slightly cupped. Hold in a relaxed way for a few seconds or minutes.
  • Go outside or sit beside an open window. Feel the fresh air on your face. Smile again.
These very few suggestions might be just what you need to feel renewed today. If you like one or two of them, repeat them now and again. You and everyone around you will benefit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

10 Ways to Celebrate in February

Monday, February 1, 2010

In January I wrote about a number of monthly, weekly, and daily observations I'd discovered. I plan to continue marking these days each month, mostly for fun. By the same token, reminders about some of these might be just the ticket for anyone who wants to live more mindfully. Maybe you can enhance your quality of life, or someone else's, by observing one of these:
  • International Boost Self-Esteem Month -- Do you know how wonderful you are?
  • Relationship Wellness Month -- Cozy up to the fire, or go ice fishing, or bundle up and take a walk together. February strikes me as a great time to hunker down and sort out a problem together or focus on each other.
  • National Time Management Month -- You have a new calendar; find new ways to use it that will help you stay on top of things this year.
  • Library Lovers Month -- You could mark this one by taking a little gift to your librarian or putting in some volunteer hours. And while you're at it, give some thought to:
  • Children's Authors and Illustrators Week February 1-8
  • Plant The Seeds Of Greatness Month -- What a splendid idea!
  • Spiritual Teachers Month
  • National Laugh-Friendly Month -- Ha!
  • Spunky Old Broads Month -- Custom made for me.
And last, but I promise not least: Hoola in the Coola Month! Please, somebody celebrate that and let me know how it went.