Saturday, January 28, 2012

The positive side of anger

I've never thought of anger as a positive emotion. Angry behaviour evokes fear in most people, including me. Road rage, violent outbursts, yelling matches, NO THANK YOU. I try hard to suppress my anger. But now I am reading that anger is a positive emotion. Apparently getting angry is what prompts us to change, to seek justice, to stand up for ourselves. In fact anger can help you focus on what's important to you and make decisions that will meet your needs. Unbelievable.

The other thing I've read is that venting does not relieve anger. It makes you angrier. Unless, there is a empathetic listener at the other end who cares to know about what is making you angry and has your best interest at heart. In other words, my Mom ♥. It's not easy to be empathetic when anger is directed at you though. Which is why my partner simply gives me space when I am really upset. Do I express my anger in a non-violent and non-threatening way? This is a akin to complaining without criticizing. So difficult.

I'm not sure where I stand on anger. When my partner gets angry, I turtle. I do not in any way show empathy and in fact I lose a little respect for him . But if I try to be that empathetic listener perhaps it will diffuse his anger? It will help him realize what he needs to do to get his expectations met. I want to be able to do this for him.

Wow, how great is it when you start to shift your perceptions a little. I'm really grateful for learning about the positive side of anger. It can be a catalyst for change.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We have to be nible

Finally I'm working in a job that allows me to get things done with minimal bureaucracy. No briefing notes, committees, scope documents or frameworks required. It's liberating. This doesn't mean we are cowboys who write nothing down. Process, communication and recordkeeping are still key. But the 50 page strategic reports and detailed project plans get in the way of productivity and I am so grateful that my boss shares this view. Today he told me that we have to be nimble. Hallelujah!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hot buttons

Another rant, have to get it off my chest:  when we were discussing dinner arrangements for my dad's b-day this weekend, I reminded my partner that we would be having cake at my sister's place after the restaurant. He proceeded to ask me if my sister was picking up the cake because "you need to make it clear when you are organizing these type of things who is doing what." "We are not fucking idiots" was my reply. He was of course offended that I swore and when he tried to explain his point further, I lost it. It's been tense ever since.

Gawd, I want to be NICER. And yet it's this kind of bullshit that pisses me off the most. Does my partner not know me? I LOVE to plan events. I dream of becoming an event planner one day. I am VERY GOOD at planning the details. I think of EVERYTHING. I was really insulted that he doesn't know this about me! Plus, I hate being spoken to like I am a child. I hate it. Everything I'm learning about complaining without criticising, without blaming or without flipping out for that matter, stating my needs and being more forgiving -- THESE DON'T WORK WHEN YOU ARE UPSET. I revert to my old ways.

So what can I do? I could bring this up now, but it'll likely end in another fight. I'll be accused of being too emotional. He'll tell me that it doesn't hurt to be reminded and that he meant no malice. And then he'll remind me how harmful it is to swear in front of the kids. I sound really defeatist tonight. But if I don't bring this up, it will happen AGIAN.

K, maybe I can change how I react. Instead of "We are not fucking idiots", how about "Yes, everything's been arranged. My sister and I are quite good at this sort of thing you know. When you remind me of something I already know I feel like I'm being spoken to like a child". Am I being condescending? Slightly. Am I stating my feelings? Somewhat. Am I asking him for what I need? Not really. Do I sound loving? No. I'm still ticked off about the whole thing. Grrrr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Intuitive Eating

Unfortunately I rushed through this book because it was overdue, but I think I caught the just of it. In order to return to your inborn instincts to eat only what your body needs, you have to de-program all of your learned eating habits. You know the ones -- depriving our bodies, feeling unnecessary guilt over food choices and binge eating to avoid the guilt. Some of the principles were helpful:

1. Respect your hunger - don't eat a PB&J sandwich on the way to a nice restaurant meal. Let food satisfy your hunger. I do this -- stuff my face with crappy snacks so that by the time I eat dinner I'm already full and the food doesn't taste good because I am not hungry.

2. Respect your body. My body houses my spirit and mind. It's here for the long term to carry me through life. Rather than focus on imperfections, respect what my body has done for me. For example, take my feet -- they are dry and calloused and tired looking. But look at how many kilometers I've run!

3. Separate exercise from diet. Moving my body is good for my health. I've got to stop thinking of exercise as punishment for poor eating. I also have to realize that exercise can still be enjoyable even when I'm in poor shape. I'm improving my strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and cardio. Weight loss should not be my motivation to exercise.

4. Don't make food my enemy. When we make certain foods 'forbidden' we end up craving them more. We satiate our desire with something else, but it never satisfies because we still crave what is forbidden. So we cave, binge and then hate ourselves afterwards. This example was memorable -- if you offer free pizza to some college kids everyday they'll initially be excited but by the 20th day they won't want to ever look at pizza again. If I allow myself to be habituated to 'forbidden' foods I might find that I don't want them as much as I think I do.

5. Satisfy your desires. Think about what you really want to eat -- sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, chewy, crispy, saucy, etc. Don't just eat because you have to, but eat what you really want to eat. This one is tough. I tried it yesterday -- one donut and two brownies is what happened. It's going to take some de-programming, but the idea here is that if you allow yourself to eat what you want, you will end up choosing what your body needs. You will make healthy choices.

6. Feel your fullness. In an ideal world we would not eat for emotional reasons, we would not eat to avoid wasting food, we would not eat out of bordem. As with anything, taking a few minutes to be aware will guide your behaviour.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


A good friend of mine is taking a hiatus from the news -- or at least discussing it. At first I thought he was bored of the same old headlines and was starting to become apathetic like the rest of the non-voting populous. But as I listened to him explain his disdain for politics and the insularity that results from being emotional vested in your parties dogma, I too started to ask myself "why am I choosing to get worked up about politics?" I tell myself that I am staying informed of the issues. But really I'm looking for evidence to support my own views. I automatically find fault with new ideas that come from 'the other side' and have even started to lose respect for those with opposing views.

My friend suggesting removing the ideology and judging new programs on their own merits instead of looking for hidden agendas and categorizing them into divisive camps -- "Liberals Good" "Cons Bad? Can I do that? Do I want to? How do I even start?

The other thing I realized is that I am getting way too worked up over things I cannot change, some of which include:
politicians lie
politics is funded by big business
everyone has an agenda
people are motivated by their own self-interest
money is power and power corrupts
there's very little if anything politicians can do to prevent people from behaving badly -- there will always be bad apples
men want sex all the time (just had to throw that last one in :-))

I know myself and I don't think I'll be able to take a neutral point of view when examining an issue, but I'd like to be able to practice acceptance and consider that I could very well be wrong. Why not listen to the other side? I might learn a thing or two.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Is Marriage Relevant?

Just listened to an interesting debate on Q on the relevancy of marriage. On one hand marriage is a false promise that we make to stay together, because it can be easily broken. Yet we crave the certainty and want lasting love. It's definitely more romantic to be together because you want to rather than have to. But there's also something to be said for making something last -- for working through adversity and having a refuge to come home to. Another author suggested that we set term limits for marriage. Let's get rid of the notion that happily ever after needs to be a part of marriage and instead stay married for the time that's required to raise kids and re-evaluate after that. Now THAT makes a lot of sense!