Hostile Poetry

I will be the first to admit that writing can be very therapeutic. I have vented my spleen enough in this blog to be able to attest to this firsthand. And I highly recommend journaling or expressing yourself creatively when you are trying to work through your feelings. It can go a long way toward helping you communicate assertively with the person or persons who stirred up these emotions within you.

That’s the healthy scenario.

And then there are those who write bitter diatribes instead of communicating. They sit on those feelings for a decade or more, and let them fester and eat away at their souls. They can’t grow up or move on, like 13-year-olds trapped in aging bodies.

I got to read one such poem the other day, in which the author stated that he’d get a vicarious thrill in watching someone else get hurt. It really made me sad about his arrested development and his inability to communicate and get past his pain.

That this person chose to post this in a public forum makes me question his mental health. It’s a cry for help, but it’s an impotent one. It puts the focus on the pain instead of on the healing. The only thing it achieves is making others feel sorry for him.

Yes, there’s no guarantee that the instigator of your pain is going to understand or apologize or make you feel better if you try to talk to him or her. That person may not even be in your life anymore. But vomiting out your emotions for the world to see will only cause you to be pitied.

Write and then communicate. Or write to educate. Or just write. Or just communicate. Or seek therapy.

But don’t wear your wounds on your forehead for the world to wince at and then do absolutely nothing to treat them. It’s not a good look. And it sure as hell isn’t healthy.

Just a little head wound

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Pep Talking

A friend of mine was having a really bad day at work. She called me up to vent and to get a pep talk. “You got this,” I said. “Breathe,” I said. “You are one of the most capable and intelligent people I know, and you love your job. If anyone can fix this situation, it’s you.”

I’ve always been a good pep talker. It’s second nature to me. But someone recently pointed out to me that that is not the case for everyone.

I should know that. It’s why I honed the craft in the first place.

I grew up in an emotionally barren landscape. My mother was so depressed and overwhelmed that I was often the very last thing on her mind. She was never abusive. I always had a roof (such as it was) over my head, and food in my belly. She emphasized the importance of education. But I was so starved for love and affection that I’m amazed my heart didn’t atrophy. More than anything, I just wanted to be seen.

Because of that, I spent a great deal of time inside my head in a world of my own making, where people said things to me that I desperately wanted to hear. “You’re going to be just fine.” “I’m proud of you.” “You are a loveable person.” “I have faith in you.” “You can do it!”

So now, when I see that someone is at a low point, I simply tell them what I’d most like to hear if I were to find myself in a similar situation. It’s easy.

So why doesn’t everyone do this? The world would be a much nicer place if they did. But there are a few preliminary steps that you have to take to get to that point, I suppose:

  • Being empathetic enough to realize when someone is going through a rough patch.

  • Having the confidence to know that an encouraging word from you would be helpful and appreciated.

  • Having the generosity of spirit to feel that this is an effort worth making.

  • Being capable of picking up on social cues.

  • Sincerely caring about others.

  • Having a genuine belief that people are capable of more than they give themselves credit for, and the ability to creatively articulate that at a moment’s notice.

  • Pulling your head out of your own butt long enough to see what’s going on around you.

Help raise someone up today! Can you do it? Yes! I have faith in you!

pep talk

Oh, I Get It. You Don’t Care.

I have a friend that I enjoy talking to, but I’ve long since discovered that she is not someone to seek out if I want to vent or feel the need for compassion or commiseration. She just doesn’t want to hear it. She’s a classic See-No-Evil type of person.

Oh, she’ll be quite happy to talk about herself, or about things that we do together, She enjoys making plans with me. She likes to get advice from me. She loves to discuss current events or movies or politics. We can go off and do fun things and she makes me laugh.

But if, for example, I say something like, “I think I might be fired from my job,” any typical friend would say, “My God, why?” Not her. Never her. Probing questions are not in her nature. A statement such as that would be met with stony silence.

It actually used to bug me a lot. And yes, her behavior can and should be construed as a little bit selfish. But I’m no longer a young girl who thinks that all friends can be all things for you. People have different strengths and talents. Listening to my drama and being supportive thereof is just not one of hers.

The older I get, the more I realize that crop rotation allows for more fertile fields in the realm of friendships as well as in the realm of vegetables. Variety is the spice of life!

veggie pic

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The Power of Persuasion

This should be a very short entry, because I’m fairly convinced that I’ve never changed anyone’s mind about anything. Ever. I mean, EVER.

Wow. It feels good to admit that out loud. What a load off my shoulders!

If there were a 12 step program for people like me, I’d be at step two. Step one was “Admitting I’m powerless to persuade others”. Step two should probably be, “Stop wasting your time engaging in debates”.

And it’s true, I do debate a lot. Facebook is probably the last place on earth I should hang out. It’s bad enough arguing with people face to face, but when you can do it from the relative anonymity of cyberspace, people can get downright hostile.

Ironically, I hate confrontation. Absolutely despise it. It’s not like I’m going around getting into shouting matches with people or exchanging emotionally charged epithets. (And one rarely gets to use the word epithet, so I will give myself a moment of silence to appreciate the opportunity.)

But when I hear someone say something, well, stupid, I have a hard time not providing facts and logical counterpoints, and, yes, it’s true, a few well-placed opinions. But the only result I can really see from my actions, if I’m completely honest with myself, is a marked increase in my stress level.

I am finding this blog helpful, though, in terms of having a safe place to vent. But I need to totally detox from the anxiety roller coaster that I have constructed for myself. So I am hereby going to make an effort to live and let live.

But if you would care to help me in my emotional growth, you could start by trying to be right a little more often. Thanks in advance.

persuasion

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