Category Archives: Anxiety

Don’t be Quick to Accuse; Research First


 

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

 

Jumping to conclusions is, I believe, part of being human. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to RESPOND with that jump to conclusion without doing your homework first to be sure that your “jump” isn’t going to land you in quicksand.

Don’t be so quick to make accusations without researching a problem, issue or situation and gathering all the information you can to make an informed, adult decision – and therefore, appropriate response. By making accusations and judgment calls instead of asking questions and seeking evidence, you may damage or even destroy a relationship, whether personal or professional. And along with that, the level of trust that existed in that relationship may be difficult to regain.

Now, people who know me well may say that I’m the pot calling the kettle black. But if those same people are paying close enough attention, they’ll realize that in most cases, I don’t just throw out accusations or spout off without doing some thinking and research first. When I DO respond to a person, or situation, it’s with some facts to back up my position.

I have a temper, and historically, have been quick to judge and offer my often unsolicited opinion (well, I still do that, but it’s usually from a place of experience and knowledge instead of just wanting to hear the sound of my own voice). I also am about as far from “politically correct” (an oxymoron, if I’ve ever heard one) as you can get and still be somewhere in the realm of “tact.” In the past few years though, I’ve been striving more to consider the thoughts and feelings of my fellow humans (you’re welcome), by applying The Golden Rule to my responses and opinions.

In case you’ve forgotten the meaning of The Golden Rule, it’s simply this: to treat others the way you wish to be treated.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned to employ that help me with this:

  • I write out my “rant,” either in the notes on my iPhone or in a Word doc on my computer. This helps me word vomit my feelings and jumps to conclusions without need for editing or considering how harsh or sarcastic my language. I know that THIS version will NOT be shared with anyone, so I’m free to be my most instinctive self in this medium.
  • I pray about it. I know that praying should be first, and quite often it is, but there are times that I’m so angry or so hurt or offended that my default engages…my default is to write. So often I pray while I’m word vomiting. Whichever comes first, I usually do both.
  • I “vent” to my mother. Sometimes this venting session is immediate, sometimes it’s after the word vomit, if I need a voice of wisdom. I thank God daily for my mother! She’s been my sounding board for years, and I trust her more than any other human on earth.
  • If there is research to be conducted or education to be obtained (the issue is political or religious or scientific or some such), then I research multiple sources across the spectrum so that I at least have an idea of what I’m talking about. If there is no research to be gathered (it’s a personality conflict or difference of personal opinion with a co-worker or a friend, etc.), then after the word vomit, praying, and sometimes after the venting session to my mother, I’ll sleep on it.

I’ve discovered that all of this is important to my mental health. Recently I’ve discovered that if I don’t set boundaries with people, when my knowledge and experience are challenged (I don’t mean that people are asking my qualifications, I mean they are flat-out accusatory or demanding something I’ve already stated is either beyond my abilities, or impossible within a certain timeframe), I experience mini panic attacks. I HATE panic attacks! And the more birthdays I have, the more often these mini panic attacks happen if I don’t set proper boundaries. Therefore, the older I get, the less nonsense (“nonsense” as defined by me) I’m willing to put up with, the less compassion and tolerance I have for peoples’ drama (“drama” also as defined by me), and the more bridges I’m willing to burn.

These are all reasons WHY I employ the above steps before responding in most situations. As much as my knee-jerk reaction is to flood my social media and text messaging with hurricanes of sarcasm, virtually burn bridges both personally and professionally, the part of me that’s still in touch with reality in those moments realizes that by giving into those thoughtless reactions, I will end up marring my integrity and (mostly) good reputation. And my integrity and spiritual and mental health are more important than the momentary satisfaction that comes from a hurricane of sarcasm.

 

How about you? What methods do you use to avoid knee-jerk responses and less-than-thought-out reactions on social media or in private emails or text messages?

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Filed under Anxiety, Emotion, Family, Friendship, How To, Life, Mental Health, Real Life, Relationships, Research, Sarcasm, Writing

I Am Only Me; Feeling Triggered by You


I’ve struggled for the past week and change over whether to post this. I started writing it the day after elections, because I felt as if, like the girl in the image, that my mouth had been sewn shut. (I REALLY needed my therapy session last week.) I rarely engaged in any political discussions throughout the election process, and refused to “unfriend” or stop talking to anyone who supported a different candidate. But felt that if I spoke my mind the way others did, those others wouldn’t be so understanding of my opinions, which differed from their own. But this is MY blog, MY platform. If I don’t feel free to express myself HERE, then I might as well shut down the site, because I will have allowed others to silence me. And that, I cannot allow. I must be true to ME.

I did a lot of research and soul-searching and praying over the final candidates. I believed (and still do) that neither of them were/are the best our country has to offer for its highest office. But I weighed my beliefs and convictions against their platforms, connections and histories, and made my decision. And I stand by it, though it may cause conflict. Even now, as I type this, my heart pounds, my hands shake and anxiety fills me, as I agonize over the effects this post will have. About half of my “friends” and connections are liberal; I’m conservative. Not ultra-conservative (after all, I believe that prostitution should be legalized and voted for medical marijuana in my state…pretty sure that puts me more toward center field), but moderately so. I’m tolerant of views not my own, even if I don’t agree or understand them, and try to be open-minded. I hope you’ve gotten to know me well enough to lend me the same courtesy.

_________________________________________

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I am only me:

Jewish

Christian

white

female

woman

a survivor of child sex abuse

a writer

a poet

an editor

a traveler

conservative

lower middle-class

highly educated (multiple college degrees)

living with anxiety

and depression

and ocd.

 

I am only me:

a descendant of legal immigrants and indentured servants

a natural-born American citizen

prejudiced against illegals (why not come here LEGALLY? would YOU be happy if I snuck into YOUR country like a thief in the night and then tried to claim the same rights that YOU – a LEGAL citizen – enjoy?)

prejudiced against immigrants who refuse to assimilate and learn English – the official language of the U.S.A. (yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a mother

a single mother

of a son with ADHD, and ASD, and ODD

an American who believes in:

a strong and well-funded military

freedom of speech

freedom of the press

right to bear arms

innocent until proven guilty

protecting our borders against illegal immigration

a person who tries to make the best of things

a person who votes her conscience

rather than what the mainstream media tell her to vote

heterosexual, after choosing not to be homosexual or bisexual

open-minded

a loyal friend

tolerant, accepting of views not my own and people who do not look/dress/live like me

 

I am not:

mixed race

an illegal

Muslim

LGBTQ

black

liberal

poverty-stricken

a descendant of slaves.

I am not:

an advocate of abortion

a woman who has had an abortion (though one of my doctors advised that I should)

a skilled foreign worker (isn’t that what the EU is all about? why can’t we have the same restrictions here?)

hateful or a hater

racist

intolerant (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a degrader or a deplorable

a violent protestor

a fair-weather friend

xenophobic

homophobic

judgmental (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

oppressive

offended by opinions, beliefs different from my own

 

I am only me:

am I of no value

because my opinions and beliefs

are different from yours?

I am only me:

afraid of speaking my truths

for fear of retribution

or losing networks and connections

 

I am only me

triggered

and oppressed

by your vitriol.

 

Where is my platform to speak my truths?
Where is the audience to hear my voice?

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Filed under Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Poetry, Politics, Real Life, sexual assault, Survivors

This is Why I Think I’m Done with Online Dating


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with an intelligent, tall, handsome man my age… Online… eHarmony.com to be exact.

Over the past few years years, several people – including, more recently, my therapist – have recommended dating sites as a way to meet a potential “life partner,” since I’ve not had much luck with that in real life to date. Don’t get me wrong, I know A LOT of men who fit the bill – both in my religious/spiritual circle and co-workers. But (apparently) no mutual attractions…unless these guys are REALLY shy…and if they’re my age and shy, well… I’m not the woman for them.

So a few months ago I renewed my lax eHarmony membership and also joined match.com. (Two such sites should be sufficient, right?) I had a few “bites” and interactions on both sites, but nothing really blipped on my radar until this particular guy.

We went through a few rounds of the getting to know you questionnaires on the site and I was becoming cautiously optimistic. His answers in the latest round were quite nice and complimentary of my profile & photos…he’s attracted to me, yada, yada, yada… (Maybe I should’ve allowed my cynical side to the forefront at that point?) So when I responded with my answers to his questions, I naturally expected that we would venture into the next level of communication. Later that day, I received a notification that he’d read my responses. So I was awaiting his reply.

After a couple hours, I checked my messages and discovered that “he’s moved on.” The man obviously didn’t like something I said or the way I said it…would’ve been nice to know what it was…I’m not ashamed to admit that I took it personally (because, well, it WAS personal). I had already become emotionally invested in this guy I met online and knew next to nothing about. And then eHarmony proceeds to tell me something to the effect of: but that’s okay, because you’re closer to finding the one. (Way to be sympathetic, eHarmony.)

Online DatingReally? Just because HE isn’t “the one,” doesn’t mean any of the other guys you’ve “matched” me with will be “the one” either. Frankly, the idea of meeting someone online instead of in real life and trying to build a relationship with no real-world-in-person connection – or worse, when a guy says “Hi, I like your pics. Want to get together this weekend?” (Umm…NO! Where’s the foreplay?!) – makes me feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff over a bottomless pit with no safety line. (Dramatic, yes… Have you met me?) It’s enough to know that finding “the one” means putting a large portion of my happiness in human, fallible hands. (I have trust issues…just in case you didn’t figure that out already…) Sure, I have lots of online male friends – on Facebook, for example – whom I’ve never met in real life, but the potential is always there to do so someday. Meanwhile, we’re getting to know each other without the pressure of time. I’ve known people for whom the online introduction and relationship building has worked and is still working. But I have a feeling that, as much as the idea appeals to me (after all, it’s simply a modern, cyber version of mail order brides and grooms), I may not be one of those people for whom it works.

I’m not sure how I’ll meet “the one,” or if I ever will…or if there’s even “the one” out there for me. Any number of things may have happened to him…or he may not exist other than in my imagination…I may have to travel half-way around the world to meet him (which would be fine with me, actually)…he may be married to someone else (very depressing possibility). God knows I’d like to meet “the one,” partly (okay, mostly) because quite often being a single woman of a certain age (42, if you must know) with a healthy sex drive SUCKS EGGS. (Have you ever tried to suck an egg? Especially a raw one? Very messy and unsatisfying.) But somehow I feel that if he’s out there, I’m destined to meet him in real life rather than via a network of wires and Ethernet. Or at least, if I meet him online initially, I think it’ll be through a mutual acquaintance or some such.

I think I’m done with online dating. I prefer the “organic” method: letting events play out naturally, without forcing them. Maybe I’ll meet “the one” during a stroll in a park or down a sidewalk or in a bookstore. Until then, I’ll do my best to leave it in God’s hands (a big deal for me, because faith and patience aren’t two of my best traits…but since my first foray into marriage ended in disaster, I’m determined not to make the same mistake again)…which, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, is really the best place to leave my future husband. 🙂

Have you ever tried online dating? If yes, did it work for you? If no, why not? Please leave comments below.

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Filed under Anxiety, Life, Musings, Online Dating, Relationships, Romance, Sarcasm, Writing