Tag Archives: Psychological Assumptions

Assumptions: Shadows on the Sand

Shadows on the Sand by Frank Sinatra

Things are not always how they seem.

Even when it’s crystal clear.  Even when there’s evidence.

Sometimes, you wake from the dream, and what was real, isn’t…

Sometimes, setting out alone on a diplomatic mission, you find peace elusive…

Sometimes, the shadow moves as you do…https://feelingupindowntimes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/press-this.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F15842528&t=Shadows%20on%20the%20Sand%20on%20Vimeo&s=&v=4

And sand always shifts, doesn’t it?


Copyright © 2010 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.


Sorting Out the Bad Apples:

picture-551Three parts.
Sorting out the bad apples — in love, in friendships, and in business.

What do you do when your heart says one thing but your brain says another?
Which gets veto power?
You know, the whole “checklist syndrome” – What to do, what to do?

At what point do you say to yourself “those last 18 entries on the list of qualities she really has to have are a bit much; maybe I’m asking for too much,” and what items are so fundamental to your happiness that they must stay?

The friendship has been important to both of you, has seen you through some terrific – and some tough – times. But it’s been getting harder and harder to push yourself to make that date to get together, and, when you do, it’s not as much fun as it once was. Time to end things?

Perhaps you can point to a lot of good things about your job, (like you HAVE one these days), but what if it’s been a while since you felt ok about that je ne sais quoi factor, namely “but I’m just not happy?”

Asking for too much, expecting more than you should.
Settling for too little, giving up more than you should.

How can you tell if it’s the situation, the other person, or if it’s you? Well, here’s a start.

Is anything making you happy these days, or are you dissatisfied all around?
If nothing seems to do it for you, if you’re feeling disappointed and dissatisfied by everyone and everything, chances are you should look in the direction of yourself. Are you depressed? Are you suffering from recent loss that’s colored your view of the world? Are you jealous of someone else who seems to have everything you want (and feel entitled to)? If so, you’re looking in the wrong direction if you think the bad apples are all around you. Just maybe it’s time to look inside to find the rot, and root it out (Ok, not the best analogy, but it’s early am…)

Are you dealing with a bad apple?Rotten-apple Any chance you already know the answer to this one? Maybe you know, and just don’t want to know what you know? Don’t want to act on what you know? Think about it. And let me know…

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

You and Your Therapist: Part IV. How to Tell if Your Therapy’s Working.

You begin to question your psychological assumptions – about yourself, your relationships, your world view.

You are learning something – about yourself and about how others perceive you.

You start to think about things in a different way; it may be more than a bit unnerving.

You feel like, finally, the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together, and what seemed impossible is now clear, simple (even if you couldn’t explain it to anyone else!).

You are uncomfortable enough that you know you’re facing something about yourself, but comfortable enough to trust that you can handle it.

You find yourself trying out what you learned in therapy outside of the therapy session.

You start doing things, try new behaviors, you never did before, and notice what happens.

You stop doing things, resist old behaviors you always did before, and notice what happens.

You go home for a family reunion and the same things that have always driven you crazy – amazingly – don’t!

You hear your therapist’s voice in your head – before you do something the way you used to, the way it didn’t work, and you do something, anything different.

You can see the progress you have made on the problems/issues you came into therapy to address.

Your friends or family tell you you’ve changed. You’re not the pushover you used to be, you don’t get as angry as you used to, you seem more comfortable in your own skin.

You can really ask yourself “why in the world did I do that?” Not berate yourself, but ask yourself. And then listen quietly and gently as you try out some possible answers.

You feel hopeful about the future.

You finally understand why in the world you keep doing the same thing and expecting a new result.

Other thoughts? Please… Write in.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

On Glasses Half-Empty or Half-Full. Part I: The Research

glasshalfemptyTough times, right? It’s easy to feel pessimistic. Well, read on. More evidence that an optimistic outlook correlates with better health, both physical and psychological.* After this week’s post on depression, that’s a pretty positive thing!

Results of a longitudinal study, published in the May issue of Health Psychology, provide yet more support for the value of learned optimism. Laura D. Kubzansky, PhD and colleagues of the Harvard School of Public Health tracked 569 individuals from age 7 to their mid-30s to see if certain personality traits influenced health later in life. Their findings: Children who were able to react less negatively to situations at age 7 – who viewed the world through the lens of optimism rather than pessimism – reported better general health and fewer illnesses 30 years later.

According to Dr. Kubzansky, “Certain characteristics already evident early in life are likely to spark positive or negative emotions, and also influence biological and behavioral responses to stress. Some traits may contribute to developing healthier behaviors and better social relationships, and ultimately more resilience in mid-life.”

Trained observers rated the 7 year olds’ behaviors, which were then assigned to three personality attributes, one of which was distress-proneness (the tendency to react negatively to situations). To determine adult health, participants rated their health and reported whether they had any of the following illnesses: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, arthritis, stroke, bleeding ulcer, tuberculosis or hepatitis.

For all the participants, having a more positive outlook (along with the ability to pay focused attention) in youth affected health the most. These effects were greater for women, suggesting that women may be more sensitive to interactions among emotion, behavior and biology, perhaps predisposing them more to certain health risks, such as heart disease. No differences in effects were found across race or ethnicity, childhood health or socicoeconomic status.

“Behavior and emotions generally linked to certain temperaments play a crucial role in long-term health,” Says Dr. Kubzansky. “Fortunately, early childhood characteristics can be shaped and guided by social, family and peer interactions. Interventions can focus on altering certain ways of responding and behaviors that frequently accompany particular traits to prevent certain diseases.”

Next up: Part II: How to change that half-empty glass into a half-full one. A slightly tougher task, so give me a few days, please?

*With special thanks to the American Psychological Association Public Affairs Office and DS who inspired this series.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

But Can It Last?

loveluckofthedrawBianca Acevedo, Ph.D. and Arthur Aron, PhD, reviewed 25 studies with 6,070 individuals in short- and long-term relationships. According to research findings in the March issue of Review of General Psychology: More relationship satisfaction = happier, with higher self-esteem. AND:
• Passionate love, which includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, has an obsessive component that helps drive shorter relationships. More passion, more satisfaction. In short-term relationships. But not in long-term relationships.
• Companion-like love? Moderately associated with satisfaction in both short- and long-term relationships.
• Romantic love has the intensity, engagement and sexual chemistry that passionate love has, minus the obsessive component. Greater romantic love, more satisfaction in both short- and long-term relationships. Over the long haul, Romantic relationships don’t have to morph into companionship/friendship.
Romance can last.
What’s this got to do with the recession? It’s a stretch, but: SOME THINGS CAN LAST. And here comes the corny but true part: those are things that matter more over the long haul.
Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

It’s Not Going the Way I Expected…

You went to b school to be a master of the universe. You worked crazy hours and missed Thanksgiving more times than you can remember for eventual f___you money. You bought the apartment and figured bonus = mortgage. And now, everything you counted on, assumed…
sanandreasfault1Well the upheaval’s so enormous, it’s as if you can’t even trust the ground under your feet.
You need to get some perspective. viewofearth1
It’s not going back to the way it used to be. Nothing ever goes back to the way it used to be. The Buddhists talk about impermanence – everything changes, like the shifting sands. shifting-sands1
The only question is, how light on your feet can you be? Because you’ve got to let it go and go on to the next, whatever that is…
Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

The Fallacy

Assumption:  Other people see the world the way I do.

Corollary:  If they don’t, they should.

Oh, people may give lip service, and know that everyone has their own take on things.  But in their heart of hearts, most people assume other people see things the same way they do.  They certainly act as if that’s the case. 

But it ain’t necessarily so.  (And it gets us into lots of trouble to assume it is).  So take a moment.  Get your bearings and your take on things.  And then walk into the world with the expectation that you haven’t a clue where someone else is coming from, so you’ve got to pay close attention, keep an open mind, and really listen.  Just might learn something.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash.  All rights reserved.