This is what works for me.
The longer I do this the more I am coming to understand how utterly subjective, downright lacking in perspective, I become when I am offended, hurt, or angry. It is finally dawning on my psyche that I can be quite immature or wounded or driven by impulse… sometimes. If I am having a dispute with my good wife and I hear something the wrong (or occasionally right) way, I can become very hurt. In these occasions, by way of example, it is almost impossible for me to think clearly and objectively, free from unhealthy emotion. Or at least it was.
This doesn’t always work and may not work for you. I try to start with a disclaimer so you’ll be nicer to me if the idea is stupid.
I have come to realize that I actually two people. By day I am mild-mannered counselor guy, able to remain unfettered and relatively objective and serene. People tell me the wildest stuff and Counselor Scott is fine with all of it. It’s my job.
Something interesting happens on my drive home, however. By the time I’m there I’m Normal Scott, who can be hurt and angered and pushed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe I turn into a raging psycho. I am happy to report that I have an awesome home-life, most of the time. It hasn’t always been that way, but generally things are good. I simply realize that I’m much more emotionally invested in that life and the amazing people who make that life worth living. I pay bills in that life. I manage (with an enormous amount of help) a home and all the day-to-day crap that comes with not making quite enough money to really live like the selfish world-travelling pig I secretly long to be. I have a partner who walks that road with me, and she’s a woman. Yup I said it. I’m not disparaging women at all and I defy to you prove it based on this blog, but she’s still not a guy. I happen to be a guy. We make sense to us. Ninety-percent or better of my clients may be women but I’m still a dumb dude at heart who would rather watch Sons of Anarchy than talk about my feelings. I like liquorice a lot too, though I have no idea why that is relevant. I really do. And Creme Brule. Still not relevant.
Here’s what works for me… sometimes. I have begun changing the way I process my personal woundedness and frustration. It doesn’t work all the time, and frankly seems inane on occasion, but I am finding that it does offer a measure of help, every now and then. I ask myself how the “work me”, Counselor Scott, would respond to this situation. I have taught this to a few clients and though it’s a little creepy asking yourself what Scott would think but whatever works, right?
Counselor Scott doesn’t get “wounded”. He is psychoanalyzing your situation. He doesn’t take things personally, most of the time. His default is acceptance, psychology, and understanding. That person is not Normal Scott. Normal Scott is, well, normal. If, however, I can somehow make that mindfulness switch, right in the middle of a problem, the results are often much more functional and positive. The secret is to let Counselor Scott react instead of Normal Scott. What would that Scott do? Quite a trick. You might want to use another name, even your own if that is helpful. Don’t want to creep your life, after all.
That’s one of the many cheesy things I teach clients. In counseling we do this as a mindfulness exercise in an attempt to get “outside my own head” and analyze a situation without all the emotional baggage.
Try it sometime; who knows?
9 thoughts on “WWSD”
I’ve been trying to figure out what “mindfulness” is for almost three years now Dealing with a number of painful issues. Very stuck and feel dumb that I don’t “get it” like people expect me to
give me a shout out at info@scott-williams if you want to talk a bit about it. I can throw some ideas your way, if that helps.
I find it helpful to step back and ask myself if my anger/hurt/frustration is about what’s happening or originates with something else and the current situation simply triggered the negative response.
Oh Scott, you crack me up. I’m fairly certain liquorice and creme brule are non-gender preferences 🙂
Anyhow, I feel that “split personality” thing too when I come home after being a very dedicated nurse for 12 hours and have a melt down after 15 minutes with my teenagers. But I think some of it comes from just being drained and empty and needing re-charging? At least that what I’ve always blamed it on. I guess the ones we love get the worst of us (and we get the worst of them) cause we feel safe around them? Not sure. But, I’m challenged to try my nursey voice on my kids tonight and see what happens.
PS: your clients tell you the wildest stuff cause you don’t judge 🙂
I hear you. Sometimes I am shocked at how much emotion can take out if us all, myself included. At least we’re trying, right?
Sitting around watching Sons of Anarchy while eating liqorice and Creme brûlé is a lot easier, lol.
I hear that…