Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are You a Receiver or a Broadcaster?

Cell Phone Tower by danielfoster437, cc license
I read an interesting article last week about happiness versus meaningfulness. At one point, it described the dichotomization of people being Givers (who seek meaningfulness in life) and Takers (who seek happiness). It's unrelated, but this got my wheels turning about the roles we typically take on during challenging conversations. In recent conversations I've noted how I switch between struggling to be understood and struggling to understand. Further, I've found that I tend to default to, and feel more comfortable, when I'm in the role of understanding the other person. It's an interesting dichotomy, and for the purpose of this post I'll call the types Receivers and Broadcasters. This comes only from my own casual observations and experiences, but this is how I would characterize those two types.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The "Reset" Button for Challenging Conversations

Go ahead. Push it. by flattop341, cc license
"...isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

We just put away the last of our Christmas decorations and swept up the last of the pine needles left by our dear tree. As much as I love the glow and warmth they bring to our home during the holidays, I've come to appreciate even more the space and openness they leave when put away. Our house immediately looks less cluttered and it feels like each room gets a bit of a reset as items are returned, or not returned, to their pre-holiday places. It has me thinking about "resets" in general.

Who doesn't love a fresh start? A clean slate? A chance to begin again? Realizing that it's possible to start again and being able to push that reset button is a powerful tool.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When You Feel So Mad That You Wanna Roar...

mister rogers display - pittsburgh by HeyRocker, cc license
...take a deep breath and count to four. So says Daniel Tiger. I've been watching a lot of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the new show on PBS from the Fred Rogers Company. It's safe to say that my munchkin is hooked - and the same may be said of me. Sure, I'll sometimes use the 20 minutes she's glued to the couch to get something done, but more often I end up watching with her.

I think what I love most is the way grown-ups are involved and portrayed. In some ways, it can be seen as a show about parenting. I can't tell you how many tools I've added to my parenting tool belt since the show first aired in September. However, what makes it especially compelling for me is that the adults on the show aren't perfect robots who exist for the sake of an episode plot. They have hobbies and interests, different personalities, and they display a range of emotions - from joy and playfulness to anger and frustration.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What a Year for a New Year

Awaiting Sunrise by MikeBehnken, cc license
I've found myself doing a lot of processing over the past few weeks. At the end of the year I like to take stock of where I've been and then look forward to where I'd like to go. This year, as I think back and look ahead I feel like I'm drowning in questions.

How do I live alongside suffering?