Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Advice, Ambivalence, & Apologies

The worst thing about advice is that it is never particular to all of the nuances of your case. It's too hard to explain everything, but you know when you hear it that it doesn't fully apply. Now food for thought like a good question or an illuminating story is something you can mull over later until it becomes something else, perhaps even useful.  I am not sure what the difference is between advice and food for thought, but I can feel it. "Here's something to think about..." or "Have you considered..." might work or simply saying nothing. When people say nothing, I notice. It makes me think more about what I said- searching for the flaws in my logic. "Do this..." or "You really need..." doesn't feel as good as a story from life.

Legos, Legos, everywhere

Patience Training
I fail daily at being nice to my family. It is harder to be nice to the ones you are around everyday. Invariably I get short tempered when yet again the toys are everywhere, the dirty clothes are on the floor, the water is all over the bathroom, when I have to remind and ask over and over again for others to come to the table, to eat, to clear their dishes, etc. At different moments in the day I swear I am going to say things only once, that I am going to silently endure, but I have yet to manage this. It is part of my patience training program- I should graduate about the time my children go to college and my husband gets out of the Navy. Both feel like they will never happen. Of course these events will come, and I will feel terrible that I was so difficult along the way. I really must try harder.

A Rant List
I have been crabby of late so I wrote a list of what I was angry about for my husband.  He was sleeping so I emailed it to him so he would have it first thing. Problem is starting your day with someone's rant list is not exactly pleasant. I share this because I think there is a lesson in that voicing anger feels great, I mean consider all the reasons you have to be mad about this and that, you do indeed have reasons, but it is destructive. Expressing negative feelings, labeling it honesty, and creating anger for the other to manage results in defense mode. I am not after defense mode. I am after some understanding that I am frustrated, that I am compromising, and that I would like a bit of support- compassion if you will.

Managing negative feelings is like the advice thing- different things work for different people. But there is a need to manage negative feelings and not to just express negative feelings. I really hate when people pollute the environment and that includes negative energy. It is dumping. You dump and then what? Someone else has to manage all of that. I know, I know, I dumped which is why I am thinking about it.

The Need for Control
It helps to talk about frustrations, to describe our feelings, but there is also a need to accept a certain amount of ambivalence in life. We are not entitled to a life without strife, without bad, without chaos.  Life without chaos or dissent strikes a chord with the robotic subservient Stepford Wives. It seems false to say there is nothing negative- I do not believe the truth is spoken (to themselves or me) when someone cites only the positives. The real gift is to see how someone stumbles and resumes, to hear their story of failure and lessons learned. Shouting, "I am frustrated!" is getting me no where fast. For tolerating the wait- I need some pointers- anyone have a weedwhacker I can borrow? There is a difference between eating your pain and dumping your pain, but finding a balance is the trick.

Apologies go a long way toward repairing feelings, along with being nice. I have an apology to email. I'll keep working on the being nice part. If you see me attacking the jungle a.k.a my yard just know I am merely trying to control something in my life that can't complain, and it might even look better for my effort.


  1. You're asking for advice?
    How about taking up a hobby that is yours and not their's.
    Or zazen - you're in the right city!

  2. I have enough hobbies to keep me busy for a while so I think the zazen might be the ticket. It's an effort to be mellow, for me. Good work up there in the north Jules!

  3. Ha ha! Stepford Wives is a tag! Have I said it before? Love your work.

  4. I know I am cracking the honesty barrier when I get pings from my friends! Thanks Kym.

  5. I appreciate the honesty and the thought--so true, all of it, for so many. Meanwhile, do you still need a weedwhacker?! :)

  6. A machette or a weedwhacker- my parking lot and yard have gone native. It is so sticky and hot that I haven't worked up the impulse to hack away at it. I tried to buy a weedwhacker on base, but they are out. Now a machette, I might be able to find in a local Japanese shop.


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