There is a tale about three blind men who are holding onto different parts of an elephant. One is holding a leg, saying: “This elephant is like the trunk of a tree.” Another is holding onto the tail, stating: “This elephant is like a snake.” Another is holding onto the trunk, who says: “No, it is like a really thick rope.” Thinking about it, they are all correct in their descriptions. But does it really describe an elephant? Nope.
You see, when one is looking at a situation, probably negative, one only sees it from a personal take on the facts. Other people could see it far differently.
We get so addicted to our own point of view, however, that we think that is all there is. In fact, we do not look outside of our own perceptions to answer a question, respond to a situation (either positive or negative), formulate a plan of action, or even decide to withdraw from the world at large, experiencing depression, angst, or fear.
If one were to suggest that there are other alternatives, most of us do not listen unless it already supports our point of view. The rest just falls away.
If one knows someone who has had such pain in his/her life/heart that withdrawal has become the only answer, how do you show your compassion to that person? As she/he clings madly to the problem, do you get angry? Do you yell at him/her, trying to get through the wall that was placed there on purpose for defense/protection? If you can make no sense of the situation, which keeps deteriorating like a sinking ship, what are you to do if you care about that person? Stand by and watch it go down? That is painful, indeed, to watch.
Try to not forget that personal choice rules here. You cannot save someone who does not really want to be saved. Complaints and suffering aside, the one who is sinking may not want to go quietly, but positive action, no matter how small or doable, is not considered an option by that person because it has already been discarded.
You can always care very much. You can pray. You can try to structure another possibility if you remember the point of reference that person is using. Remember the elephant? Which part does he/she have hold of?
This process is also true in an argument. People tend to defend their own ideas, no matter how strange, and keep holding on to their own version of the elephant, be it leg, tail, or trunk. It is hard to discuss your idea/resolution if you cannot see what idea they are attached to. You have to enter their thought processes, use active listening techniques, recognizing the anger (which is a tool to make the anger dissipate), and keep feeding back to that person what you are hearing. One cannot argue reasonably with an angry person. The anger must first be drawn off in order to have any reasoning heard. Most anger is caused because that person feels like he/she is not being heard, which is why active listening techniques work so well.
How about you? Have you looked at your world lately? Do you have things that make you feel very uncomfortable? Is there an “unreasonable” person — be it a boss, supervisor, coworker, teenager, child — in your life that is “making you crazy?” Join the rest of the world as there will always be someone to “drive you up a wall!” The question is, what part of the elephant are you holding on to? Try to remember that you can decide to go crazy or not as that truly is a decision within your personal power to control. You can even opt out of it entirely by using silence — one of the most ignored, and most successful, tools in the world. It will stop the acceleration.
Sometimes, especially with children, we have to be the needed guide to the “little person,” who thinks whatever action we require is unwelcome and unwanted. If we renege on our duty/responsibility as parents or teachers, the world will be a sadder place for it. That child will grow up without the tools to live his/her life and make better choices. There are so many children we see in stores these days who absolutely are not taught the word “NO means NO!” How many tantrums have you seen lately? It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to try to keep doing what you know you need to do, often with little gratis afforded your efforts. Try to remember the elephant because you are teaching the point of view that is needed to get the child to see the bigger picture and not just about how it is he/she is thinking/attached to.
Have you heard the words, “Team Building?” It is a buzz word to get things done as efficiently as possible. How does one begin? Simple: Teach the elephant idea as each one is holding a part of the overall product in his/her expertise. Each one has to learn what his/her part is and how it relates to the whole. Then you make sure each one does his/her part. There is always a before and after part to each person’s particular piece. It must start somewhere and end someplace else. It is like hooking the pieces of a train together so it can begin to move. Usually, the whole train gets to moving forward, gathering speed as each learns and does what is needed. If one gets uncoupled, the whole train suffers from lack of forward motion and confusion. Then you have to figure out who got uncoupled, which is fairly obvious. The fix becomes clear much more easily.
I worked in the Government for many years. I used this concept successfully on so many needs that it was honed to simplicity itself. I worked with individual field offices, reporting requirements, travel, major household moves, regulations, timekeeping, performance appraisals, etc. This idea works, plain and simple.
What areas could you use this elephant idea in? Do you see the elephant, or are you personally hanging onto a leg, tail, or trunk? You will have to learn to shift your paradigm to see the elephant. Are you willing? You life would become so much simpler if you would “get out of your box” and look at the overall picture. Once you know the principle and can use it, you whole life could change because interactions would become easier. You could use it with anyone in your environment. Is it worth your effort? YES!
God’s blessings upon your journey!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: active listening, alternatives, anger, angst, answer, argument, blessings, children, choices, compassion, crazy, defend, depression, efficiently, elephant, fear, God, journey, metaphysics, negative, New Age, New thought, overall picture, pain, paradigm, perceptions, positive, reasoning, simpler, team building, thoughts, Truth, understanding, willing, wisdom, withdraw
Years ago, I was economically challenged, or as some people would say, “Poor as church mice.”
I was pumping gas into my car, and forgot to replace my gas cap as I drove off. I realized it after a few hours. Of course, I went back to the gas station, with negative results as my gas cap was gone.
Well, I prayed, “Lord, you know I don’t have much money. Please help me find a gas cap.”
Please note, I did not specify anything, including whether it would fit or not, work or not.
As the day progressed, I found four gas caps, all crushed beyond recognition.
After the fourth one, I prayed as I laughed, “Lord, help me find a gas cap that will work.”
I was prompted to go to K-Mart, where I did, indeed, find a gas cap that fit my car for only $3.57, which I could afford.
My gas cap story has always reminded me that I need to be more careful with my words as I pray.
It can be open-ended, but you need to be aware that feelings also pray.
One example is a girlfriend of mine who prayed for a relationship, ending up with a not-so-desirable man in the local area and another guy in California who was long distance and a perfect match. So if you pray one way but actually feel like Dr. Dolittle’s Pushmi-Pullyu, you will get mixed results, much to your chagrin. Word to the wise, make certain that your feelings support your prayers.
Another example is praying for more money to come in, yet feeling anxious because it is not happening. Since the feelings drive the engine of your prayers, guess what you get? More need multiplied by the lack feelings that creates a loop, with more angst, etc.
I liken prayers and feelings to a loaded gun: Be careful where you point it.
If you are getting mixed results, examine your words and your feelings: Are they supporting one another, or not?
If not, oooooooops! Not a good thing.
You have to be willing to examine yourself carefully in these situations. Are you?
God’s Blessing upon your journey!
Sometimes, out of the middle of nowhere, a health issue pops up. Sometimes it is serious, sometimes not. But whether it is serious or not, it always messes with your mind, attitudes, and emotions. How do you get through it?
It is not an issue of wimping out, having a pity party, or giving up. As long as you are alive, you have to deal with it. How you do that is up to you and nobody else. What does your mind say? What attitudes do you choose to encourage? What emotions do you endure?
Common attitudes vary from looking on the bright side, taking your courage in hand, and do what you have to do to get better, whatever that consists of…be it physical therapy – doing it with a good effort, knowing that what you put in will determine how well it works – take your prescribed medication as you should – change of diet, either temporarily or permanently – asking for help when needed, even if you are independent-minded and do not want to ask – make a list of questions for your physicians – listening to their answers – in short: Doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal of improving and getting better.
Looking on the other side of attitudes, you see an unwillingness to go through the pain of it all, be it exercises from physical therapists, uncomfortable tests for evaluation, unwillingness to trust your physicians or their advice, inability to cope with it all so you withdraw and do nothing (which is an option, though not a very wise one), just hoping that somebody out there has a magic pill to make it all go away.
So far, I have not found any magic pills. Have you?
I cannot wave a magic wand and make the problems disappear, never to return.
The emotions you deal with can exacerbate an already tough situation, as can your brain. Fear immobilizes – always! Anger is debilitating. (Yes, anger is a component, more than we like to admit.) It can even be a generic anger that this has happened to you. It is all inside of you, bubbling away like a witch’s brew.
Knowing the cause – be it an accident, exposure to a sickness, or just a problem with your body – rarely helps.
Somehow, you need to find a way that works for you personally. You must seek help to resolve the thoughts, emotions, and attitudes. Books can aid you. Counseling can, too. Venting with a good friend can come to your assistance. Prayers for me are a vital part of it all, requesting them from caring family and friends I know.
When it is a loved one who is ill, it becomes a lot more complicated. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness come unbidden as you watch them suffer. You might be able to paste on that smile while you are in their presence, trying to help where you can, but when you are alone, it can fill your heart with angst and fear. You are not in control of anything. That is when you have to do the same thing as listed above: Get yourself under control. You cannot be of assistance to anybody if you don’t calm yourself first.
I know dear people who are caught in the horns of this dilemma. Denial causes inappropriate reactions, delaying resolution – sometimes permanently – as the condition continues to deteriorate.
It has been said: “The way out is the way through!”
I believe this from the very bottom of my heart. There is no avoiding it. You just have to ask yourself: How am I going to respond to this situation? Examine your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and emotions. They are as important as the symptoms of the illness. You are a whole person, not just an arm, leg, heart, head, or other body part.
With that in mind, perhaps you could start by making a list of them. Then you can look for ways to resolve each one. There is no evading this issue, so deal with it.
The question is: Are you willing? Do you want to look for a resolution? It is within your purview to do it – and you are the only one who can. The problem is well defined. Now look for the answer.
God’s blessings on your journey!
Is there such a thing as a PERFECT WORLD? Somewhere, is there a UTOPIA? Or is it just an IMPOSSIBLE DREAM?
There are people who actually must believe that MISTAKES never happen. I do not think they know that erasers are still put on pencils because they do.
I have had to learn how to deal with my Perfectionism. I have had to modify it so I can live on this planet. I have had to come to peace in my mind that I need to soften my expectations. In my mind’s eye, I have to aim at an area the size of a washtub instead of a little tiny hole, which is the absolutism of Perfectionism, like in playing golf. I have to give myself some “wiggle room.” If one is dealing with a child, one expects a child to wiggle and get off course a bit. Yet we deny ourselves that possibility. Why is that?
Do we have an Authority Figure between our ears who dictates to us and beats us up inside if PERFECTION is not accomplished? Every single time? In every instance?
Yes, Perfect can be a possibility some of the time. But I need to remind myself that my goals need to be adjusted according to the requirements. If one is programming the course of a rocket or a space module, PERFECT is absolutely required with no room for error. However, for most things on this planet, CLOSE can work rather well.
For one thing, PERFECT takes a lot of time and effort. I have to ask myself if the goal is worth it. Sometimes, it is. However, most of the time, it really isn’t. I always try to do the best job I can, using as much effort as I can to do something right the first time. I don’t intentionally make mistakes that require something to be redone. However, as with all humans, sometimes it does happen to all of us.
The question is, do we want to become paranoid because we are less than perfect and may make a mistake?
That translates into fear, which incapacitates the mind and disables the functioning capability which is part of our innate system.
Life is like archery: one learns how to shoot the arrow the best one can, one takes aim, and then one releases the arrow towards the target, win, lose or draw. Once released, its trajectory cannot be altered unless it hits an obstruction, like a branch. The end results tell the tale. Once one releases the arrow, angst about where it will hit will not change the arrow’s trajectory.
Yet, in real life, we add the angst every single moment over every little detail. This angst is bad for our physical health, our mind, and our body. It registers as higher blood pressure, a sense of nervousness, the “fight or flight” message to our adrenal glands, etc. It can cause us to make poor choices of food and other behaviors, eating or smoking to calm ourselves down.
Are you willing to give yourself some “wiggle room?” Can you adjust your expectations so that you can opt for PERFECT or CLOSE, as needed? Can you forgive yourself for MISTAKES and move on?
Just a note in passing: Procrastination ALWAYS has an element of PERFECTIONISM in it, causing you to delay acting at all. That is worth thinking about.
You are the only one who is at the helm of your ship. How will you sail it? Where will you sail it? What is your destination? Are you enjoying your journey? Only you can decide these things.
God’s blessing be upon you!