Thursday, September 30, 2010

Johari's window... maybe it ought to Ibe called, "Take a long look in the mirror, hypocrit"!

Johari's Window...

Have you ever heard of it? It's been on my mind a lot recently. I know as I write this that there is great potential for this blog to bite me right square in my arse... let me explain.

I've been noticing lately how people tend to vent, complain about, scoff at, and otherwise judge things (or others) that they themselves,  are blatantly guilty of. (Herein lies the personal danger of writing this... because yes - I am as guilty as the next person)! 

In fact, I'll use myself as an example. Way back in the day, just as I was getting involved in my therapy process (i.e., beginning the journey of Getting Help and Getting Happy) I would criticize and condemn mothers who were "selfish" in any number of ways. It was really awful the way my "friends" and I judged others. I once bought a greeting card for a friend that said, on the outside, "I love our intellectual and stimulating conversations..." On the inside it said, "Who should we rake over the coals next?" At the time, I thought that was so, so funny! 

Not shortly after that period of time, I found myself sitting in outpatient treatment for my addiction to alcohol and codeine... My judgmental attitude continued... I thought I was "too good" to be with "those other people" there, and I told the therapist so. "I don't belong here with 'those people.' My God - they've been locked in closets and have abandoned their children and all sorts of horrible things. They're such selfish people!" The counselor patiently replied. "Keep coming back, Connie," implying I had a lot to learn. A short time later, working with a different therapist in the Aftercare program, I was telling her about a look my infant daughter had given me one time. I told her that even though she was just a baby, I couldn't shake the feeling that my daughter was angry with me. The therapist said to me, "Connie. What do you think she might have been trying to tell you?" I must have remained silent for too long - or she had her answer all ready for me because she jumped right in there and told me: "She was telling you that you were selfish." O-U-C-H!!!!!

It had been true. I was very selfish. I had been living the creed of an active addict: "I want what I want when I want it - and the hell with anybody else." Although I hadn't abandoned my children in the ways I talked about 'those other people' - those bad, selfish people - having abandoned their children (as in leaving them all together) I had abandoned my children... by working too many hours, by using codeine and not being mentally or emotionally available to them, and in many other ways. I had negatively judged others and I was behaving in the same way, but I hadn't been aware of it. 

That's part of the Johari window....

The Johari Window (, named after the first names of its inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is a way of describing human interaction. A four paned "window," divides personal awareness into four different types.

Basically, what the four areas represent are:

1. Things that I know about myself that other people also know (like the fact that I speak my mind)

2. Things that other people know about me that I don't know about myself - or don't recognize in myself (which is what the example I wrote about myself above illustrates).

3. The things I know about myself that other people don't know (such as I like to pick my husband's zits)...

2. The things I don't know about myself and other people don't know either (such as... well, I can't say because I don't what these things are)!

Known to SelfNot Known to Self
Known to Othersopenblind
Not Known to Othershiddenunknown

This blog is about square number 2... what I don't know about myself that other people can clearly see. The things I am BLIND to in myself.

I know a person (I'll call her Silly) who repeatedly complains to another person (I'll call her Playful) about how much money a friend owes her. A number of years ago Silly borrowed a lot of money from Playful and, although it was addressed a number of times, Silly never paid Playful back... she is blind to the fact that she did the same thing she's complaining about.

It happens all the time:

  We criticize people for having a facelift while we are waiting for our botox injection.

  We condemn people for not being able to "just push away from the bar" while we drive around in the
   middle of the night to find a donut shop so we can get a sugar fix.

  We get angry at our girlfriends for spending time with a new boyfriend... until we get our own
  boyfriend and put our best girlfriends on the back burner...

The point is... focus on your own not-so-great behavior and take care of that! Because it may be the case that you are doing the same things you're judging others for.

AND... when we deal with our own issues... we are GETTING HELP AND GETTING HAPPY!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If you're gonna to a social event... try to have some fun, for God's sake!

Last  night I did something extremely out of character. I went out to a social event. In spite of the fact that I "know how" to be extroverted and social, I am actually shy UNLESS I am with people with whom I am comfortable. (I know you thinking I'm fibbing,  but it's true!) Typically, I avoid social events where I know only a few people. I've only been to one large fund raising event (and I was working at that one) - until last night. One of the women who works in my office volunteers for a worthwhile local organization; they were holding a "casino night" fundraiser. It was a formal event, which meant getting all dressed up and mingling with hundreds of people. I decided to go, in spite of Steve being out of town. Normally, at such an event, I would cling to his hand and try to hide behind him. However, because the awesome women who work in my office - and their significant others - were going, and because I love them and am completely comfortable with them, I decided I would be brave and join them. I even volunteered to be the DD, seeing as how I don't drink anyway!

As soon as we walked in the door, I saw two people I knew and who I like very much. That started things off nicely as I chatted with them for a few minutes. Elvis was there and we had many pictures taken with him. Then we sat down to play Texas Hold Em with the fake money they give everyone to play with. Well - we had a riot! We made friends with the dealer who just kept giving me more money - cuz I suck. We laughed and celebrated loudly when one of us would win a hand. It was super fun.

Well... you'd have thought most of the people there were at a funeral, given how dull and solemn they were. The other people at our Texas Hold Em table rarely broke a smile, let alone whooped it up if they won a hand. In fact, a few of the people actually got upset if they lost a hand! It was FAKE MONEY! Amanda, our employee who volunteers for this organization and who was working, told us a man purchasing a drink gave her a one dollar bill for a drink and insisted he get change for his 20. He was adamant with her until the male bartender assured him he had given Amanda a one dollar bill; the man then apologized. It was a FUND RAISER! Trying to make money (by conning the gorgeous bartendress) at a fundraiser? Really?

I did see one other group at a roulette table having some fun, cheering when they won. And Elvis looked like he was having a damn good time, having his picture taken with all the chicks who were dressed up and looking H-O-T! I'm telling you, this was not a bunch of people in their 50's and 60's. Not that we weren't there (I'm 50 now, so I guess I have to include myself in that demographic... ouch). There were plenty of 20, 30 and 40-somethings there. I'm certain our little group had the most fun of anybody there.  And we all looked fabulous, I might add!

The point of all of this is LIGHTEN UP AND HAVE SOME FUN! Especially if you're out socializing! Dear God, all I could think was that those stuffy old - and young - people definitely need to GET HELP AND GET HAPPY!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A new decade begins...

My idea for blogging is to share things that will hopefully inspire others to "Get Help and Get Happy" in some way. At times I will talk about myself and my life, although that is not my overall intent. However, this weekend was so incredible for me that I have to share the relevant "get help and get happy" message with you. I turned 50 on Saturday; I had made peace with the idea of "that number" over the past six months, as I would refer to myself as being 50 in conversations when relevant so that I wouldn't die of shock when it actually happened.  My most joyful times are when I'm with my immediate family, and that's exactly what we had planned for the day. My husband, Steve and my mother, who lives with us, went to Atlanta to spend the day with our three kids and their new spouses. I was prepared for a day of game playing and suspected they had made me a video of pictures from the years (since all of my photo albums have been missing since June)...  What I did not expect was to find three of my best friends from around the country waiting with my kids in Atlanta. This is a big deal since they have all been to GA many times in the past year and a half as all three of the kids got married in a ten-month period of time so there was no way I would have suspected they would come here yet again... and here they were. In addition, the kids had other friends and family send video birthday greetings which was super fun! And the Facebook messages from people from all over the country. It genuinely felt like a celebration of my life. I felt so completely loved. 

And here is the message... 22 years ago - as a very young mother of three tiny children, with a husband who loved me and who I loved - but neither of us knew how to do so in healthy ways... we were on the brink of losing it all... I had turned to prescription drugs to deal with the mess I had made of life ... and only by the grace of God was I led to an outpatient treatment program. Our lives changed and myself and my husband GOT HELP AND GOT HAPPY. 

The rewards today are enormous and more joyful than I could ever express in mere words. All I can tell people is that when we made the decision to summon our courage and face our troubles head on - with the help of some incredible therapists and friends - we found out what a genuinely happy relationship is like and we learned to parent in healthy ways. I describe it as going from life in black and white to living life with the most brilliant colors imaginable!

My life at 50 is better than I could have ever dreamed life could be! And that is what I wish for each of you. And I know, from personal experience and from working as a therapist for the past 20 years, that for most people it takes getting HELP. 

So please - Get HELP and Get HAPPY!

Joy to you!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

My technological nightmare...

Well - here I go boldly into the world of BLOGGING on the eve of the eve of my 50th birthday... that means I'll be 50 years old in TWO DAYS! How about that?! Sounds old, I know - but I am totally banking on 50 being the new 40 or 30... (depending on the day, I guess)! To my son, I apologize profusely for making your life a nightmare in having to deal with my technological lunacy! To the rest of you I apologize for my potty mouth, which I promise will be prevalent in my blogs. Therefore - if you are opposed to profanity, if only slight - then you best avoid my blog! And pretty much anything else I write... which, by the way - my book came out on audio today (! TOO FUN!

Please take my quiz - I wanna know if you're getting enough hugs... they're good for ya - so if you're not getting any (HUGS) - then get out there and do it (HUG SOMEONE)!

Hugs to you!