Monday, October 29, 2012

Its all about me

It seems I too have gone way of the casual blogger.  Let's check the stats, shall we?
June 2011 - 4 posts.
July 2011 - 1 post
.... and that's all.

Upon my deathbed, I will reflect back on the year prior to my first blog post as a pivotal point that changed the manner in which I live and view life going forward.  Not that there wont be more... in fact I welcome more, but 2010-11 is a sure-thin, locked-in chapter in my memoirs despite any of the adventures of the next 50+ years. Understandably, I emerged from that year with fresh eyes of the ways of the world and a deeper understanding my psyche.  Mysteries unraveled and the story of my life thus far made more sense.  I started to better understand not only who I am, but what makes me tick. Exciting and scary at the same time. Blissful ignorance certainly has its benefits too - e.g. it is easier to fall asleep at night if you aren't knocking on every locked psychological door that shows up once the room gets quiet.

With my new found "authenticity goggles", these flashes of undeniable brilliance needed to be shared.  I felt  a moral obligation to bestow these never-before-realized strokes of ingeniousness upon each and every one of my nearly six followers. We all have our callings to this world, and this was to be mine. FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF HUMANKIND!!!

... yeah, I know.  I don't buy it either.

Of course, there was a stroke of self-service in there too. I had always had an itch to write. I just never found the motivation, the platform nor the patience to make it a reality prior to this.  So under the guise of the focus of this blog being "others", I was scratching my own itch. Indeed, it was all about me.  And not that there is anything wrong with that - we should all pursue our passions, but perhaps I was fooling myself of the otherwise.

[Hold tight, I'm about to change lanes here without signalling]
Speaking of "Its all about me", I find it an interesting premise in and of itself.  Most commonly, this phrase has a negative connotation - inferring that someone is only concerned with their own best interests. It depicts narcissism and self-absorption, and ultimately portrays that person as somewhat of an asshole. It is easy to nod to ourselves and say "oh yeah, I know people like that", but truthfully this term has applied to each and every one of us at one time or another. It's ok... no judgement here.

However, there is another face of "its all about me" that isn't condemning, but rather a perspective about how we view interactions with others that can be clarifying and settling, yet empowering.  The tricky part of this outlook is that it requires tearing down your protective walls, perhaps walls you haven't even realized you have constructed, and requires a self-effacing honesty with yourself. [yikes].

You see, it IS all about me. Those usually negative things that I attribute to others usually have nothing to do with them at all. Picture a dear loved one - spouse, significant other, close family member, friend... generally anyone that you love wholeheartedly and then of course has the potential to push a button in you with little more than a pinky twitch. Imagine a casual conversation ensues about any poignant yet non-confrontational topic of your choice.  Then comes the "pinky twitch".  Perhaps it was a comment that you perceive as criticism.  Maybe it is tone of voice that sends you reeling or an action that makes you feel like the other person is uninterested.  Or even a non-action where you expected a response that you didn't receive.  Or maybe it was as benign as an eyebrow raised that made you say "what the hell is THAT supposed to mean?"

I know you can relate.  I have yet to meet anyone who is impervious to being triggered by a loved one.  And of course it is by a loved one, because if it were a casual acquaintance, you probably wouldn't care enough or have enough invested in their opinions to be affected.

Here is the deal... those actions (or non-actions, as they may be) have nothing to do with the other person.   Consider that your loved one may have that exact same response to another friend without recourse.    However, you have this festering hotspot deep within you that flares up when that loved clips one of those triggers.  It is all about YOU and your hotspots. That head tilt and doubting eyebrow raise that your spouse unknowingly injects into a conversation may be perceived as charming and interested by a third party... maybe even considered flirty and "kind of cute the way she tilts her head." However,when you receive the same gesture, you seethe. If you even recognize what it was that just shifted in you at that moment (sometimes it is a vibe you pick up that you don't even put words to), your internal narrator walks out on stage under a single spotlight and says "I HATE it when she does that. She KNOWS that irks me and yet she did it anyway."

But this is where it is the "You-ness" that is the object.  It has nothing to do with her eyebrow raise or he cutting you off mid-sentence.  It is you with the trigger just sitting there like a stubbed toe waiting to be grazed. As much as you would like to believe, your loved one is not trigger hunting with a bow and arrow (hopefully).  Now your response when your trigger is hit may spark something else in your loved one that subconsciously feeds some quest for power that they struggle with, but my psychology degree expired last week so I'll just leave this with my own observations.

I've spent some time watching my triggers and paying attention to what they say about me.  And what they say about me is volumes more than what they say about the trigger poker.  Being aware of them does not necessarily mean that I am impervious to them, but it is insightful into who I am at the core and is really a much more peaceful process in resolving any angst that comes from them.  This approach inherently removes blame from the equation because unless your  responses to your triggers self loathing, you will mostly likely come to your own defense and resolve the anger much faster than if you throw screams of disdain telepathically towards the "offender".

Give it a try the next time your buttons are pushed.  Take the offender out of the equation and ask "why does that piss me off so quickly?" or even "how come I have this stubbed toe that wont seem to heal?" Since it IS all about you... run with that concept and make it even more about YOU.

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