How Crazy We Make Ourselves?!

Most of us have no clue how crazy we make ourselves, especially when it comes to relationships, weight loss, work issues, and our health.

Over the years, I’ve heard excuses that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Nothing can change if we don’t first change the way we think about things. If you believe that you’ll never be happy or successful, then no matter what you do, you won’t ever feel happy or successful. This is because you focus all your energy on being right and finding people who support your beliefs. If you believe that certain people or events create your difficulties, then you’ll spend your time trying to change them instead of yourself, which is a pointless exercise.

The thing that needs to change is the way you see your obstacles. We all have thought traps, and identifying them is not easy. I have found some real epiphanies in the book “What Happy People Know” by Dr. Dan Baker. Dr. Baker is a psychologist who has been counseling for years. He realized later in his practice that most people wanted to keep telling the same stories as to why they felt miserable, unfulfilled or unappreciated. He decided it was time to confront his patients in a way that led them to discover how they sabotaged themselves.”

What most of us do is fall into four categories” he says. We are either victims, entitled, looking to be rescued, or seeking to blame someone or something for our woes.

The victim often portrays him or herself as always being taken advantage of. “No one cares”, it’s always me, are part of their usual dialogue.

Those who are entitled feel they deserve to have more, not have to wait for anything, or be acknowledged for just about anything they do.

The “rescue seekers are fixated at thinking someone is going to handle their problems, help them direct their life, or give them the answers to the challenges they might face.

Accountability is not a word they are familiar with. I was very invested in this “thought trap” until I finally realized that “no one was coming” and that I was in charge of my own life. Frightening at first, but incredibly freeing in the long run.

The blame game is something we’ve all heard about and I would almost guarantee that a great majority of us have used it to try to get off the hook for a variety of issues. It’s an easy one to get trapped by. After all why not use it to counter failing at a variety of things, like living with an abusive partner, gaining weight or staying in a job that is filled with stress and disrespect?

It allows us to forget that we are the captain of our own ship and that we have choices on how we perceive situations or individuals around us. We create our own feelings through the thoughts we have. Not an easy concept to engage in since many of us have been doing the same bit for a very long time and it essentially becomes automatic like an actor who has been in the same play for many years.

Change takes work and courage, but the exciting news is that you close the curtain on your performance, get new dialogue and voila, you have a new show that might just get you a standing ovation!

Remember when we did not have a book to fix our relationship?

I often wonder how my grandmother and grandfather stayed together for almost sixty years before one of them passed away. I remember them yelling at each other periodically, but neither one of them ever packed their bags and moved out.
My grandfather was able to stand my grandmothers pouting and posturing by absorbing himself in reading his daily Italian newspaper while savoring his espresso. If he didn’t look up, she would add audible sighing, which often sounded like a cow giving birth. If he started to show signs of irritation, she knew enough “to cool it” and would start talking about what they were going to cook that night.

Food was definitely their common ground.
I loved watching how animated they would become as they whipped together their magical ingredients that became dishes that would make family and friends beg for more.
There were no books to read about how different men and women are, nor were there relationship coaches or therapists to help them understand each other. Male and female brains and their differences was not even a consideration. Earlier scientists might have been able to investigate these differences only by studying the brains of cadavers. But thanks to advances in genetics and non-invasive brain-imaging technology, we are now able to see inside the brain in real time.
John Gray, was one of the first authors to ride the wave of male/female differences. His book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” sold millions of copies. One of his observations was that “Men like to go into their caves” he stated and be alone with their thoughts while women like to be in concert with other women and talk about just about anything. MRI scans can back this up by showing that the brain circuitry for language and the ability to observe emotions is more prevalent in women. Men, by contrast, have two and half times the brain space devoted to sexual drive.
I love research and the scientific outcomes that result in giving us more insights into the human condition, but I also find them amusing.
I watched my grandmother raise her eyes to heaven and then make the sign of the cross when she couldn’t get through to my grandfather. Her education never went beyond the eighth grade, but I’m sure she knew that while she was carrying on about how one of the neighbors had “dissed” her spaghetti sauce that she knew my grandfather wasn’t listening. In fact I would bet that he was just seeing her lips go “blah, blah, blah, until he could make a move to get her into bed.
That is just one of the many ways the male and female brains differ. Many book today have made us realize that men usually don’t like to walk around stores with us, notice that the sofa has been moved, or be disturbed when their in the middle of a football game. Men surely have realized that women have memories like elephants, want to be validated for looking nice, and need flowers, candy or some token of appreciation once in awhile.
I don’t know if my grandparents realized any of that, but they did know that loyalty to each other was tantamount to a long lasting relationship, and I don’t think you’ll find that in a book or a brain scan.