The Effects of Constant Criticism

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I live with two people who are free with their criticism.  Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry.  If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset.  However, it is not.  This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both.  Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing.  It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.

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When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children.   My parents were overly critical.  If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor.  My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.

So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past.  Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people.  However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me.  As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me.  If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it.  However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid.   So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-labermeier/negative-impact-of-criticism-_b_3829346.html

 

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What I Want to be Like when I’m “Old”

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Have you looked into the future and decided what you want your life to be like when you’re 85 or even 90 years old?  I know, not everyone lives to be so old, but have you considered it?  I was in a doctor’s office with a client of mine when a woman walked in the door.  She walked with great difficulty, holding onto her cane for dear life.  Once my client went in to see the doctor this woman began telling me all about her aliments.  It turned out that she too suffered from Fibromyalgia (just like I do), and was on all kinds of medication.  When I told her I had the same ailment, she promised me that when I hit 50 (her age), I’d be unable to walk without medication.  I simply smiled, told her that I was 52 and didn’t take any medications. In fact, I did all the things that her doctor had warned her off.  I exercised, did yoga, lived a vegan lifestyle, and took various herbs for help in coping with the insomnia, pain and “brain fog”.  She got quite huffy and told me that I must have been misdiagnosed, since she’d been told that all people with Fibromyalgia needed medication.  I told her that I’d gone to a specialist to be diagnosed who had told me to inform myself and look into alternative ways to deal with the disease.  He never even offered to medicate me, which suited me just fine.  I’ve had this disease for almost 20 years, and try to keep up with all the new information that comes out, as well as all the new ways of coping.  I have good days and “bad” days, but never once have I been unable to walk.  I often think about this women and wonder how she’s doing.

My point is, that even though we’re not given a choice concerning certain things in our lives, we are usually given a choice on how we deal with it.  So, how do you intend to live out your life? Do you want to be infirm, or do you intend to go into old age as healthy as you can?  Here are a few people to emulate.  Enjoy, and choose well!

 

 

Why is Science Important?

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This past weekend there was a march in Washington, D.C., along with other marches around the world in support of science.  We actually needed a march to support science.  I still can’t wrap my head around that fact.  The marches were in support of evidence, fact-based and peer-reviewed science.  This is needed since the administration in Washington is against both science and peer-viewed research.  Research needs to be peer-reviewed, since anyone could claim to be a scientist, publish a “study” and claim anything.  We already can see that happening, so it needs to be stopped.  Science is actually one subject that can be proved correct.  Just because someone doesn’t like what is scientifically proven doesn’t mean that they have the ability to claim it is false.

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For those people who think that we don’t need science, do you like using your technology?  Phones, laptops, t.v., all are science-based.  Should funding be cut, so will your technology.  How about “cutting-edge” health care?  All those new life-saving surgeries are based on science.  Do you like your new medicines?  Those too come from science. If funds are cut so will your health, since there will be less money spent on keeping you healthy.  Science is life-saving.  It affects all of us in every part of our lives.  Support science, your life may very well depend on it.

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Dreaming of Gardens

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We have two wood stoves at my house, and this is how we heat in winter.  While that’s all well and good, we also have to take some trees down every year, as well as get some logs delivered in order to have enough wood to last a winter.  Luckily, we’re nearing the end of taking our own trees down, and have only a few more to go.  Since we’ve already rented a wood chipper this spring, I know that we’re finished with the trees this year.  Unfortunately, we needed to take down some smaller trees in the backyard due to their being a hazard.  Because of this, we now have some room back there that will be rather bare once we get the trees cut up and the wood stacked.

So, I’ve been dreaming of gardens.  You know, those fantastic English gardens that look so wonderfully peaceful?  Those gardens.  However, as much as I dream of having gardens like that, I know that I just don’t have the ability to create them.  In my head, I’m the most artistic person ever.  In reality, not so much.  I do have a spatial-relation problem (I can’t picture how something is going to look), but I also don’t know much about gardens.  Years ago, I had a large vegetable garden, and I did manage that pretty well.  However, I’ve never planted flowers and have no idea how to go about it.  So, for the moment I’m just dreaming of gardens.

If you have any books for inept beginners that I could read in the subject, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.  Meanwhile, here are some photos of wonderful gardens to enjoy!

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Problem Talk (Complaining)

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Problem talk is something that we all do.  Some of us do it more than others.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the problem talk and completely forget that there is usually a solution.  We are the ones who usually have the solution inside ourselves, if only we spent some time thinking about solutions, and not wasting our time by complaining.  Sound familiar?  I’m guilty of it and almost everyone I know is guilty of it, also.

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While complaining about a problem has its place; there is a lot to be said for venting, after all, frustration is a valid emotion, problem talk is not a solution.  It’s just not going to get the problem solved.  And, at the end of the day isn’t that what we really want?  To get the problem solved.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself caught up in the never-ending problem talk.  Is there something you can do to change this situation?  Can you think of a way to take your focus off this situation and put it into something that is beneficial to you?  I’ve found over the years that when I focus on what I can do to change my reactions or focus, I can manage problems that have no solution much better.

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As a simple example of this, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I immediately thought that there was no solution and nothing that I could do.  I wallowed in my depression for about two weeks, and then I got on the internet and found things that I could do.  Since I’m not a person who likes to take pharmaceuticals I found natural ways of dealing with the pain and managing my problem.  So, yes, I’m aware that not all problems can be “solved”, however, there is usually something that can do done to help deal with a problem (besides problem-talk).  Let me know what it is that you do to either solve a problem, or to deal with it in a more positive manner.

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Finding Serenity

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Life can be pretty nuts.  Not only do we have to worry about what’s going on in our own lives, but there is also the human suffering that we all see every day – and a lot of that is not just somewhere “out there” in the world, but here at home.

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So, what to do?  How can we deal with all of this?  The stress of just daily life can be overwhelming. How can we find some form of serenity?  There is only so much that we can do as individuals.  Yes, there are letters to write and petitions to sign, but how do we find a way to cope with the stresses that need to be dealt with?

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Personally, at the end of the day I realize that there is only so much I can do to influence what’s going on “out there”.  I try to influence people who I come across each day.  If I think that someone who I don’t know looks really nice, I’ll tell them.  Just the look of surprise and happiness that I see on their faces lets me know that even though I may have hesitated to give them a compliment, it was the right decision.  And, although talking to a total stranger is hard for me, it was worthwhile.  So, let me know what you do to throw a little happiness out there in the world.  I’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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Spring

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Even though we had what you could only call a late winter – very little snow until the end of February, then feet of snow in March, I have the feeling that Spring may actually be here at last.  Of course, we broke the temperature records for heat this week, but thankfully that was just one day.   As I’m writing this, it’s a pretty chilly 60° out with quite a breeze.  However, I’m hoping that we’re all done with the snow – I hope.  Connecticut’s been known to suffer blizzards in April.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken in the last few days showing that Spring just may be here.  Enjoy!

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