You Can Beat the Odds
Quoting Abraham Maslow
If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. (128)
Living fully, regardless of test results, often reflects an inner state of congruence of harmony, a reflection of how in tune we are with our deepest nature. To do this requires that we know ourselves in more than a superficial way. (130)
"In more than a superficial way." I realize that most people choose not to look deeply into their own lives, the things that motivate them. Living unconsciously, choices are made that are deeply rooted in myths from the past that no longer hold true. We do what we do because that is how we have always done it or how our family said we should do it or how society expects us to do it. It takes work, often difficult and always challenging, to questions these things and even when we are aware that something we held true no longer fits, it isn't always simple to make the necessary changes. Replacing habitual myth with relevant truth is complicated but the only way to live above and beyond the superficial.
Keeping a diary or reflecting on your day in the evening is a way to systematically take stock of the various influences on your moods, energy, or symptoms. Rate the effect of every endeavor, encounter, energy or experience on a scale of one to ten, with one being the least rewarding and ten being the most. (Watch your associates: some clinicians speak of emotional contagion–negativity can be contagious!) (134)
It is not always easy to do this and it can be scary, to consciously choose to not allow negative people into your life. It is, of course, especially challenging when the person is family, a loved one who simply cannot be avoided altogether. But there are things we choose to do or not do that either support our emotional well-being or compromise it and, where possible, it is not an act of selfishness so much as an act of self-preservation to create boundaries.
[M]ore often than not, time stress is an excuse for not taking control of one’s life. (143-144)
[W]e’re only as healthy as the secrets we share. (162)
For writing to be truly therapeutic, it must be free from censure. (169)
Feelings just are; they’re not right or wrong, they just exist. (169)
Dealing with what is–even if it’s unpleasant–and then moving on to appreciate and express gratitude for all the good things in life keeps us moving forward in a positive direction. (178)
Stockdale leaves no room for denial here. You don't move forward or express gratitude without first dealing with, fully facing, the unpleasant. Avoiding the unpleasant is tempting but unproductive.
You are always the expert on your symbols! (182)
This statement is one of the reasons why I resist interpreting people's dreams. I get asked to do so often. I don't think it is useful ever. I can only interpret the symbolism in a dream based on my own experience with those symbols. My unique visceral response to specific things is based on my experiences and puts the symbolic meaning in a context that is relevant only to me. In other words, your symbols don't mean the same thing to me as they do to you so my interpretation of your dream is really the interpretation I would suggest if the dream were my own. But it's not. It's not my own and to reap the full benefit of what a dream means then the dreamer has to do the work of interpretation.
Since feelings often follow thoughts and behavior, a short-cut to practicing commitment to yourself is to imagine someone else in your shoes. Some you care deeply about. If your best friend or daughter were in your situation, how would you want them to consider themselves? Would you want them to push, prod, and berate themselves? Exhaust their mind and body? Deprive themselves of good things? (203)
Commitment to one’s personal well-being are essential ingredients for a lifetime of self-care. (203)
It's strange I only have quotes from the one book. I'm reading several but this is the only one that proved quote-worthy this past week. Oh well.