Quick Thought #21 – Stark Differences in How I Talk To Myself

Quick Thought #21 – Stark Differences in How I Talk To Myself

I failed to notice that the restaurant only offered pickup orders until we sat around, wondering why I hadn’t gotten any notification about our food being on the way. It had been sitting there, getting cold, waiting for us to pick it up for at least 20-25 minutes. We quickly hopped in the car to get it; all the while, I apologized over and over to my wife, berated myself internally for not noticing and screwing up our dinner, etc.

When we got there, I ran inside only to discover that the restaurant only had one meal, not two. Part of the order had gotten cut off, and no one caught it until I got there and asked about the second meal. The manager made things right very quickly, apologizing over and over.

My response?

“No worries, it’s all good. We’ve got our food, and that’s all that matters.”

And then I got back in the car, telling myself that this whole mess could have been avoided if I had handled ordering correctly in the first place.

What is wrong with me?

On Martin Luther King Day

On Martin Luther King Day

When I think of the famous speeches of Dr. King, I am always reminded of this fact. We have always seen certain groups of people as less deserving of the rights we willingly claim for ourselves. Be it blacks, immigrants, prisoners, those with mental health struggles or disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, or addicts, it is far too easy to look at them with judgment and disdain. Maybe even fear. They’re different than me. What happens to them is not my concern. They probably brought it on themselves anyway.

Those are all too easy to say. The hard work is in looking at people who are different from us, who live different lives, make different choices, and recognize our common humanity. That’s what Dr. King was talking about. Not being blind to our differences but being aware that we are all human and deserve respect based on that. So when a black man is lynched, or a prisoner dies from a lack of medical care, or someone struggling dies from suicide without access to mental healthcare, or because their own family won’t accept them for who they are, we fail as a society. We fail to see human life as human life.

We Still Have to Talk about Why Sexual Assault Victims, Including Kids, Don’t Come Forward

We Still Have to Talk about Why Sexual Assault Victims, Including Kids, Don’t Come Forward

Never mind the fact that they might have tried to tell someone and got shut down.

Never mind the fact that they might have told someone who didn’t believe them

Never mind the fact that telling someone is going to create a massive conflict within their own family.

Never mind the fact that it’s extremely unlikely that any sort of conviction will occur if they tell the police.

Never mind the fact that they will now, and maybe forever, be seen as damaged goods by a large segment of society.

Never mind that no matter how heinous the crime, they’ll have to answer question after question about what they did to provoke it.

When Trauma Response are Helpful – And When They Aren’t.

When Trauma Response are Helpful – And When They Aren’t.

In the big picture, the thing I know that I need to do is to be aware of when I’m in that mode and act accordingly. There can be some great benefits to hypervigilance and there can be some real downsides. If I’m aware of it, I can scan the environment as necessary without ignoring other important, but not dangerous, bits of information, and watch out for my own overreactions. I can consciously use the skill that I learned as a trauma survivor for my own good without it wrecking my day-to-day life or causing more anxiety.

It’s a tricky line to walk, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always do it so well.

Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them
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Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them

It’s worth thinking about your friends and recognizing that we need all kinds of friends. We need loose connections, and we need tight connections. We need long-term friends, and we need friends for a season of our lives.

In short, we need each other. I’m afraid this is something that has gotten lost in our culture. It’s certainly gotten lost in our priorities, and I consider myself as guilty as anyone.

I also know that being guilty of not prioritizing friendships has hurt me. It’s likely hurting you. It is hurting all of society. It’s time we started valuing close friendships again.