Archive for March, 2014

“My Way”: A Life Without Regrets! Your Way?

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Your life, Respected Reader, will end. (insight of the day!) How and when it ends you will not know.  How you choose to live until you die is another matter. I have counseled many people who have been close to death and many have serious regrets as to some of the choices that they have made.  This article has been inspired by a number of people, events, and even the following song’s lyrics.  You will probably recognize them as sung by Sinatra.

“And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain.  My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve travelled each and ev’ry highway; But more, much more than this, I did it my way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few; but then again, too few to mention.  I did what I had to do, And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course; Each careful step along the byway, But more, much more than this, I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, When I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall; and did it my way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.  I’ve had my fill; my share of losing. And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that; And may I say – not in a shy way, ‘No, oh no not me, I did it my way’.

For what is a man, what does he got?  If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows – and did it my way!”

Food for thought, those words!  My focus here is that you, and only you, can choose how you live your life.  A heightened awareness of who you are – strengths and weaknesses, dreams, goals, relationships, etc… all play into a life worth living.

I recently read a blog (please read mine at drstathas.com) by Bonnie Ware that spoke of her work in palliative care.  Do you know what that is? It is a specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. The role involves improving the quality of life of both the patient and the family. The Blog spoke of the “Regrets of the dying”. She writes about her experience and seeing how “people grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.” In working with people at this stage of life/dying she found that there were five common regrets that were expressed most often.

 

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

I am hoping that most of you, Respected Readers, have a significant period of life still remaining.  Are you doing it in a “My Way” style and is that working well for you?  Is it a life that will have few regrets, including the ones listed above? As you know the purpose of my articles is to be Socratic in asking some basic questions in examining your life and, hopefully, providing some insights and guidance to help you have a life worth living with few regrets. And your answers are?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Your Personality: How Do Others See You? Take This Personality Test And Find Out!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Have you ever wondered how other people see you?  Do you even care?  How do you see yourself? Recently I came across an instrument that is very short and yet very insightful. You answer the following ten questions, score them numerically, and “presto”, you have a description of your personality as others see you. Dr. Phil has taken it (55), Oprah has taken it (38).  My mother, wife, and I have all taken it and found it to be amazingly fitting.  Want to give it a shot?

Do this inventory straight through without looking ahead to the descriptors because it will bias your evaluation.  Are you ready?

  1. When do you feel the best … A. In the morning.  B. During the afternoon and early evening. C. late at night.
  2. You usually walk … A. Fairly fast, with long steps. B. Fairly fast, with little steps. C. Less fast, head up, looking the world in the face. D. Less fast, head down. E. Very slowly.
  3. When talking with people you … A. Stand with your arms folded. B. Have your hands clasped. C. Have one or both your hands on your hips. D. Touch or push the person to whom you are talking. E. Play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair.
  4. When relaxing, you sit with … A. Your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side. B. Your legs crossed. C. Your legs stretched out or straight. D.  One leg curled under you.
  5.  When something really amuses you, you react with … A. Big appreciated laugh. B. A laugh, but not a loud one. C. A quiet chuckle. D. A sheepish smile.
  6. When you go to a party or social gathering you … A. Make a loud entrance so everyone notices you. B. Make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know. C. Make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed.
  7. You’re working very hard, concentrating hard, and you’re interrupted … A. Welcome the break. B. Feel extremely irritated. C. Vary between these two extremes.
  8. Which of the following colors do you like most … A. Red or orange. B. Black. C. Yellow or light blue. D. Green. E. Dark blue or purple. F. White. G. Brown or gray.
  9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are … A. Stretched out on your back. B. Stretched out face down on your stomach. C. On your side, slightly curled. D. With your head in one arm. E. With your head under the covers.
  10. You often dream that you are … A. Falling. B. Fighting or struggling. C. Searching for something or somebody. D. Flying or floating. E. You usually have dreamless sleep. F. Your dreams are always pleasant.

Okay, now that you have made your choices, it is time to score them.

  1. A=2, B=4,C=6
  2. A=6, B=4,C=7,D=2,E=1
  3. A=4, B=2,C=5,D=7,E=6
  4. A=4,B=6,C=2,D=1
  5. A=6,B=4,C=3,D=5,E=2
  6. A=6,B=4,C=2
  7. A=6,B=2,C=4
  8. A=6,B=7,C=5,D-4,E=3,F=2,G=1
  9. A=7,B=6,C=4,D=2,E=1
  10. A=4,B=2,C=3,D=5,E=6, F=1

Now, add up your total points and see which of the following descriptors explains you.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should “handle” with care. You’re seen as vain, self-centered, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could become more like you, but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality, a natural leader, who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once, someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting. Someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head.  They also so you as kind, considerate, and understanding, someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.  They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it.  They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive; someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything.  They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist. Some people think you are boring.  Only those who know you well; know that you aren’t.

Well, how did you do? Did your score and its descriptor hit the nail on the head?  Did you like the description?  Anything you want to change in your personality style?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”      Socrates

“Love The One You’re With”: Can’t? Won’t? Why?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

JOHN J. STATHAS, Ph.D., LMFT

I was listening to an “Oldie” station on my way to Atlanta the other morning and heard Stephen Stills sing “Love the one you’re with” and this thought came to my mind, “John, that’s an article”. (You never know where a germ of an idea might come from).

So-o-o, Respected Reader, since a significant part of my practice involves romantic relationships, I am always fascinated by the choices people make for their marriage partners. And, once made, what is the probability that each one will be able to “love the one…” chosen?  Oftentimes, thinking to myself, “What were they thinking when they agreed to this merger?!”

Be that as it may, people make the choice that they do – sometimes a winning choice, sometimes seriously wrong, and occasionally one that has some possibilities but needs some extra help in order to “love the one you’re with”.  Most people are in a relationship, married or not.  You are probably with someone now.  How’s it working for you?

Are you “loving the one you’re with”? Yes?  No?

If “Yes”, why are you loving that person? (Here is a good opportunity to reflect on all the good qualities of your loved one – and tell that person so). Hopefully there are many substantial reasons for the shared love in your life.

If “No”, what are the obstacles to loving that person?  Is this person a wrong choice? Has this person changed from the time you married?  Does your person do something (s) that you don’t like?  Does this partner not do something that is very important to you? Do you really know what you want/need?  Have you communicated with your partner what you are perceiving and feeling?  If not, why not?

If significant obstacles exist that cannot be overcome, even with quality counseling, what are your options?  Do you have kids? How old?  Economics a factor?  Life style? Feel trapped?

Do you feel exhausted with all these questions? The reason for them is that I repeatedly experience in therapy people who are not getting along yet are not asking the deeper questions which will reveal a potential solution and give the direction needed.  Stagnation is boring and kills that lovin’ spirit.

A good relationship is a treasure enabling both of you to feel energized, growthful, secure, valued, touched, and excited to share life’s adventures.  A bad relationship is depressing and demoralizing.  It promotes escape activities which usually are not healthy.

Respected Reader, “Love the one you’re with” or do something productive that will enable you to do so.  Life is too short and lonely without reciprocal love in your life.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates