Fuzzy Dichotomies

Eschew approval? Think again.

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in Expectations, Fuzzy Dichotomies, Relationships, Self esteem, Self-compassion, Self-talk, Straight thinking, Women's issues | 0 comments

Eschew approval? Think again.

While I know this dates me, one of my favorite shows when I was a kid (granted, there were only about three morning kids’ shows from from which to choose), was Captain Kangaroo. Kindly, portly, huggable Captain Kangaroo was like a grandpa in the living room, jollying us along to learn those kid-focused life lessons, supported by his sidekick, Mr. Greenjeans. Not unlike a 1950s Dr. Phil, mustache and all. And at least as I recall, each episode ended with the mantra-like repetition of this message: “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the...

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Take it to heart?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in Expectations, Fuzzy Dichotomies, Relationships, Straight thinking, Women's issues | 0 comments

“Take it to heart.” Usually, we hear this phrase applied to feedback, aka criticism, offered by others. We feel like a bigger person if we can listen openly to negative words from someone. Seems to me to be another of those casual phrases that do us more harm than good and deserve a hearty “who says?” challenge. Way back in grad school, 30 plus years ago, I learned that feedback is effective only when solicited. It’s pretty hard to take in and process effectively something that we didn’t ask for and probably don’t want to hear. We all do better when...

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Feelings: trusted signals?

Posted by on Mar 3, 2011 in Expectations, Fuzzy Dichotomies, Self-talk, Straight thinking, Stress management | 0 comments

“Trust your feelings”–truth or fiction? We’ve all heard this old adage. We use this phrase to urge others to act on gut feelings, usually suggesting that the recipient will “just know” the answer they need. These cultural underpinnings imply that actualized, emotionally healthy persons wisely let feelings be a guide. Since my mind constantly locks onto these discrepancies in our use of language, I issue a hearty “who says?” Sometimes, yes, we do want to trust our feelings. However, like so much of our thinking, this phrase is dangerous if we...

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P.S. on Perfection

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 in Fuzzy Dichotomies | 0 comments

I stumbled upon this quote from James Ishmail Ford, which shares one more thought about perfection as an achievable concept that already exists in reality: “The world is perfect as it is. That’s the insight of the spiritual eye. Everything just as it is, is. No judgment, no second thought. Just this. And, and, and, at the very same time, it needs work. Lord, it needs work. That’s the other eye. Starving children, oppressions and exploitations of every sort, greed, hatred, and endless certainties all leading to small and great hurts, the suffering world crying out for...

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Perfect is a given–Perfectionism, part 2

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Expectations, Fuzzy Dichotomies, Mind-Body | 1 comment

Perfectionism. The state of being perfect. In part one of this series on perfectionism, I referred to two definitions of perfectionism: 1) that perfection involves being disappointed in any aspect of our lives that is not exactly as we’d wish, vs. 2) a religious belief that moral or spiritual perfection exists within this human life. So which is it? Are we imperfect beings living imperfect lives, with the quest for perfection a crazy-making path? Or are we and our lives perfect already, just as we are? Makes my brain fuzzy, so I’m infusing a little philosophy into this blog today...

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Perfectionism is a bad thing? Fuzzy dichotomy #2

Posted by on Aug 31, 2010 in Expectations, Fuzzy Dichotomies, Straight thinking, Stress management | 0 comments

Perfectionism. According to the Free Dictionary, perfectionism is 1) a propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards; and 2) a belief in certain religions that moral or spiritual perfection can be achieved before the soul has passed into the afterlife. So we want to be perfect, and can’t–or we already are? Sounds like a fuzzy dichotomy to me. As a psychologist, I’ve tended to subscribe to the view that perfectionism is a) a bad thing, and b) unobtainable and unrealistic. With b) explaining a). In my book, Even...

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