Moving Day

Our blog has moved over to www.northstarcommunity.com.  To subscribe via email, click here.  If you have been an email subscriber in the past and did not receive it this morning then please email me at:  scott@northstarcommunity.com.

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Day 30

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now by clicking here.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.  The new blog will be found at:  www.northstarcommunity.com.

Yesterday I gave a series of sample questions to ask yourself periodically as a sort of mental and emotional “check up”. This is a way of getting to the bottom of the question, “How am I doing?”

Why do I recommend this?

Triggers are not always attached to some distant thing in the past. Sometimes, as is the case with what I described between myself and Brittany, triggers are the result of some powerful stressor that comes from some other place in life. It is easy, at times, to move ahead with life so quickly that we do not create time or space to consider how we are doing. This means there are times where we legitimately do not know (or simply are not consciously aware of) how we are doing. If we don’t know, we’re unlikely to respond to triggers and difficult situations well. We’re simply unprepared.

Day 29

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now by clicking here.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.  The new blog will be found at:  www.northstarcommunity.com.

In order to become more aware of ourselves, it may also be worth our time to consider regularly asking ourselves some difficult questions about our lives.

What am I afraid of right now, in this moment?

What am I anxious about right now, in this moment?

What am I angry about?

What am I proud of?

What am I ashamed of?

In what sense is my life incomplete?

In what sense is it full?

In what areas have I failed (or am failing)?

In what areas have I succeeded?

These are just some ideas to get you started. You may want to create your own list based on whatever core set of issues you have. We all have the capacity to wrestle with each of these emotions and questions (and many more besides), but we tend to have favorites that are more likely to show up than others and more likely to stick around.

 

Day 28

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now by clicking here.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.  The new blog will be found at:  www.northstarcommunity.com.

From yesterday: How do we draw accurate conclusions about what has taken place during a fight?

If both parties are at least a bit wrong in every confrontation, then that means the truth of the situation does not exist on the side of either person but, instead, somewhere in the middle.

In order to draw accurate conclusions about a fight both parties must be committed to an ongoing dialogue and both parties must remain legitimately open to what the other party has to say. The only way to find truth is to cooperatively navigate through the filth of what transpired.

If one side or the other is not committed to the process, both will be abandoned to guesswork and confusion. Neither of these serves a relationship well.

Day 27

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now by clicking here.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.

The difficulty (or one of the difficulties) in honest self-reflection following a fight comes in creating the distance we need between our attempts at discernment and the underlying unpleasant experience. In other words, our feelings tend to cloud our judgment. We need to create space between the emotional trigger and the beginning of our process of deciphering the meaning of the event or fight.

The problem is, we intuitively and instantaneously seek the meaning of our interactions, often before they’re even finished. What did he (or she) mean by this phrase? Or by this look? He (or she) is so angry, and this has never happened before, does that mean this relationship is over?

In other words, we begin the analysis in the height of the moment when we’re least equipped to draw conclusions about the true meaning of the moment. What I mean is, we draw plenty of conclusions about what that moment means, but very few of them are true or accurate.

How do we draw accurate conclusions about what has taken place during a fight?

More tomorrow.

 

Day 26

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now by clicking here.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.

From yesterday: If we can answer questions like this then, hopefully, we gain some insight into what kinds of things are likely to send us spiraling out of control.

If we gain some insight into what kinds of things are likely to send us spiraling out of control then we can begin to mentally prepare ourselves for our own reactions. If we can prepare, then we can begin to create space to choose (within reason) a response to our reactions (as opposed to simply reacting to our reactions).

I know, I know- this sounds too easy. In many ways, it is too easy. We’re not always going to be able to choose a response. Some triggers are so powerful and so deeply ingrained that the only way to come to grips at all is to do meaningful work with a therapist of a long period of time. The point is not that we can learn how to gain control of ourselves when we’re powerless. The point is that gaining awareness may make some of our roughest edges a little bit smoother.

We may learn to “limit the damage.”

Day 25

Blog Announcement:  We will be moving the blog to a different host as of December 1.  If you are not subscribed via email and want to continue to receive posts then subscribe now.  All email subscribers will transfer over.  We will keep all of our old posts on this site so they will still be available.

From yesterday: In order to learn something from our outbursts, we need to be willing to rigorously examine ourselves in the aftermath.

This includes: making a mental note of the things that trigger us. What kinds of things create unnecessarily large emotional reactions within us? Is there a pattern? When have I reacted this way to this kind of situation before? Have my reactions to this kind of situation always been this strong? Why or why not? If not, what has changed?

Perhaps today you can reflect on a situation you have some emotional distance from and try asking yourself these questions.

If we can answer questions like this then, hopefully, we gain some insight into what kinds of things are likely to send us spiraling out of control.