Category Archives: Self-Pity

Still Surprised by Disappointment? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the acclaimed 1936 novel Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell writes: Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.

Everyone knows that life is unfair, yet it’s incredible how we still appear panic4surprised by disappointment and unwanted events. If we really believed that life is unfair, we would expect disappointment and injustice, and be pleasantly stunned when a day passed without it. We would be enormously grateful for whatever we received that day, and view ourselves as fortunate because it wasn’t less. And it really could be a lot less and a lot worse.

Instead, some people expect life to unfold without a hitch and according to plan, and when it doesn’t they’re blindsided. It’s reasonable that some time might be needed to deal with the letdown from setbacks. But then it’s time to regroup and get back to living.

panic3How do you handle the unfair and difficult times in your life? Can you be found in a pouting slump; complaining about how you’re a victim of life? Or, can you be found facing trials with a determination to endure?

Helen Keller wrote: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

I don’t know any happy and successful individuals who view themselves as complainers or see themselves as victims when adversity arrives. Those individuals who are determined to face difficulties and accept trials are the ones who become successful and have joy.

There is no doubt that throughout life you will come face-to-face with many trials and hardships. And, there’s no doubt that today, it’s how you handle those trials and hardships that will determine your success or failure; your happiness or misery.

As you go about your activities today, notice what could be worse, but isn’t instead of what’s going wrong that shouldn’t be.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Do Men Owe Women? Part 2

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What women have learned about intimate relationships does not come from a recorded history of loving partnerships with a no-fail list of do’s and do not’s. ext (1)There are few chronicled examples of conflict resolution, problem solving, compromise, or the other behaviors required to sustain an intimate relationship. Today women get confusing messages about love from society, Hollywood, books, and even The Holy Bible. They are spectators of quite a paradox. Women witness romantic interludes and passionate exchanges on the TV or movie screen with the devoted couple living happily-ever-after; and it leaves within them a hodgepodge of exciting expectations about the meaning of love.

Then they sink into despair when their Knight in Shining Armor fails to act like the leading man on the screen. Alas, there are no rose petals leading to a candlelight dinner he prepared as a surprise. Women read a romance novel that leaves them enchanted with the charming and thoughtful male character they have decided looks like Brad Pitt. Then, their fantasy is interrupted by the belch heard two rooms away from their not-so-thoughtful male counterpart in the kitchen.

The Bible is another basis for confusion. Religion, past and present, does not IMG_2234seem to replicate the same attitude towards women as Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated throughout His life. Jesus displayed high respect for women, unlike and despite, the people and the law of the times. Women were valued and esteemed by Jesus—all women. He approached women, listened to women, hung out with women, blessed women, thanked women, healed women, loved women, and treated them identical to men.

Yet, most of the authors of the New Testament failed to imitate and practice this example in their writings. In fact, any women who pursued the mission of Christ after the crucifixion would have been excluded by the authors of Scripture, not by God’s bidding, rather from man’s unyielding prejudices when writing it. The Apostle Paul, who is credited for writing a significant part of the New Testament, especially disliked women. Paul believed that man came from God, but woman came from man (1 Cor. 11:2-9). This leaves women with the suggestion that only man was created in God’s image, and that meant women were sub-standard.

Professor Joseph Francis Alward, at the University of the Pacific in California, states:

No teaching in the Bible is clearer, more consistent, than the one which teaches that women are inferior to men. If it’s true that the Bible is God-breathed, and therefore an all-powerful, all knowing God of the Bible exists, then women are not as righteous as men; are not clever enough to enter into contracts; are to keep silent and seek answers in private from their husbands, and are to treat their husbands as if they were God. (http://www.thegloryofman.com/) also (http://www.usurpingwomen.com/)

There are many theologians today pounding the pulpit condemning women’s interest in equality with men. However, there are just as many religious leaders (thank God) that uphold a woman’s sameness with men. In Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong writes:

For Paul, women were clearly inferior. Yet, he could say in Galatians that
in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28), and these words
occur in his powerful argument to demonstrate the inclusiveness of all
people, especially the gentiles, in the Christian movement. He also, in this
same passage, said that “in Christ there is neither slave nor free.” The fact remains that Paul accepted uncritically the patriarch attitude of his day
toward women, and the cultural reality of the institution of slavery. …
He viewed women with something less than enthusiasm. …He exhorted women to keep silent in the churches …women were not permitted to
speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. …The God who is
love cannot be approached except through the experiences of living out
that unconditional quality of love. That is why the church must be broken
open and freed of its noninclusive prejudices. That is why slavery,
segregation, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia tear at the very soul
of the church.

1800-1920History leaves a mortified trail, twenty centuries old, of men born with the primary purpose to receive unquestioned civil liberties and privileges from women that had nothing to do with love, and women legally helpless to prevent such mistreatment. Just 167 years ago, a small group of New York women got together and took on the toil and resistance from society, the government, and men to make changes for woman’s equality that would not begin to materialize until 72 years later. A woman’s right to vote (her first right) just occurred 95 years ago.

The far and few between love relationships throughout history that were based on mutual respect and regard have not been enough to leave us footprints to follow on the healthy relationship path. There are too little cases of love’s ideal union. Instead there is an abundant history of relationship conflict, disappointment, criticism, blame, rejection, resentment, betrayal, murder, and historical lines of broken hearts.

When women study the relationship patterns of their ancestors, they can see charles-landseer-94058_150it is filled with female dependency and woman inferiority. Are women still living under the unjust roof of inequality if only in their minds? Are there traces from history, so deep-rooted, that still want women to believe they are not worthy, they are inferior, and they do need a man? Beliefs well-remembered that refuse to be forgotten provide a steady rhythm that contradicts female self-respect and self-confidence. It is no surprise then, when women look at the disillusioned relationships in unions today, that they can be found confused and angry.

Enough.

IMG_0502(2) - CopyWomen in our time say they want a relationship in which they can experience respect and equality in a partnership. However, how many women today respect themselves, and believe in their independent right to have opinions, needs, happiness, and success? What women say they want, and more importantly deserve, is slow to be taken seriously even among themselves. How can women obtain a cultural shift in attitudes towards the female capabilities if they doubt themselves to achieve it? Women need to believe in what they deserve. That belief is one that only women can accept.

Do men owe women?

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Dealing With Disappointment

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There’s no doubt that today we live in a spoiled society. There’s little delayed gratification and a lot of stuff we feel entitled to have, or to experience—now. The more things we think are deserved or that we should possess, the more disappointed we are when it doesn’t occur.

IMG_0866 - CopyDr. David Brandt, author of Is That All There Is? wrote: Not all disappointments are equal. Some are devastating. Others scarcely seem to matter. It all depends upon the degree of emotional involvement in the expectation. The greater the investment, the more severe the disappointment. The greater the underlying wish for an event to occur, the stronger the pain when it doesn’t. 

French author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, was right when he said: Long only for what you have. However, no one really wants to hear that. Instead of recognizing on a daily basis what we already possess and then work towards what we want, we may recognize on a daily basis what we don’t have and ignore what we do. We may dwell on what’s lacking in our life, and harp on all the instances we failed to acquire what we wanted. This type of attitude towards disappointment can destroy self-esteem, gratitude, and motivation.

Individuals who often experience disappointments may not be able to identifyfailure1 what disappointments are intended to teach. There could be a pattern of expectations that are not rooted in reality. Dr. David Brandt puts it this way: Whether out of fear, disapproval, or anxiety, those who repeatedly experience disappointment have a psychological history that has produced expectations that are unrealistic, too absolute, too high or low. They need to readjust those expectations, but forces in their personality prevent them from doing so. 

If we don’t process disappointment, accept the outcome and adjust to the reality that is presented, we’ll continue to want what we can’t have while taking for granted the many blessings inside our front door. We may think that having something or someone is necessary in order to feel happy and okay. Thinking that we “have to have” anything places the source of our well being and happiness dependent on something outside ourselves.

Acceptance of “what is,” is a struggle only when we can’t let go of the attachment to what we wanted. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try again or plan something different in order to get what we want, it means that we accept that it wasn’t acquired this time. It’s important to accept and appreciate what we have, and to keep thinking of what we want and plan the next effort to get it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Where do most people who want to change their life get stuck?

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Where do most people who want to change their life tend to get stuck in the process? Choose the answer you believe is correct:
A. They get stuck because they don’t know how to change others so their own lives get better.
B. A snow-bank.
C. They get stuck because they don’t know another way to handle things or people.
D. They get stuck because some people in their life just don’t get it.

Correct answer is C.

Author E. E. Cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Many people desire to make positive changes in their lives but get stuck because they don’t know how to handle things differently. It’s scary to think of life any other way IMG_0211than how we’ve been living it, even though it’s been far from a picnic. It’s scary to examine what we learned in childhood surroundings that may be incorrect. It’s scary to take a look at what we assumed to be normal. It’s scary to face what’s wrong and not working for us.                                                                                                                           But when we blame other people for our unhappiness, keep doing things we firmly promised not to, fail to do what we decided to do, then we begin to understand that we don’t know how to fix the mess our lives are in. We realize that we’re no longer able to soothe our fears and hurts. There remains nothing left to pull out of our hats. And we’re left stuck because we know no other way to think, feel, and act.

We know we’re unhappy, but we don’t know what to do differently. With all we’ve done with our attempts to be in control, we can no longer control our own sadness, which has no doubt reached a miserable level. We focused on solving problems that couldn’t possibly be solved with the ways we were trying to solve them. And when we failed to fix these problems, feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and even anger multiplied. All our inadequacies and all our hurts joined our self-doubts which we spent an enormous amount of time hiding because we needed to appear competent and in control. Marriage and Family Therapist Robin Norwood writes, “Most of the insanity and despair you experience comes directly from trying to manage and control what you can’t.”

So what would you do? Please share your suggestions on improving situations and making positive changes. –Dr. Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What are you expecting today?

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Some individuals hold others responsible for the disappointment and unwanted outcomes they experience. This furnishes them with a blaming, self-defeating state of mind. After being injured, disappointed, hurt, and violated enough times we may forfeit the anticipation of good outcomes in life. We remain snared in the unfairness of life where incorrect thinking and pessimistic feelings reign. We invent an imaginary scale by which events are weighed. Of course, the scale never measures above bad luck. No matter how many blessings exist or good IMG_0294things happen, it’s not seen, or it’s not enough, or something is flawed with it or we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“You have a style, a way of being. You hear people describe others by noting their persona: He’s a real hard charger, or she’s a cool customer. Some approach life as a combat: they’re hostile, even explosive. Others are milquetoast who expect to get trampled, and do. Your attitude of approach dictates what you get back. You may complain about the way people react to
you, but believe me, you create it, just as everyone else creates the reactions they get from the world. Honestly evaluate your style of engagement, and you will begin to understand why the world responds to you as it does.”¹

Unless we tackle the thinking that results in this self-defeating negativity, we’ll become more complaining, more resentful, and continue to experience more unfairness because that’s what we’re expecting. What are you expecting today? Dr. Sandy

¹Dr. Phil McGraw in Life Strategies

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Who is to blame for the dire circumstances of your life?

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American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

IMG_0221But wait, self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. However, when you get wrapped up in your misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of your life, then you are no longer healing—you are feeling sorry for yourself.

Soon a sense of entitlement arrives—you may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what you endured. Unhappy comments are verbalize to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to you. In no time you could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks and your healing is kept away.

Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may have not been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap. Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. -Dr. Sandy