Sunday, September 11, 2011

Relating to 9/11 in the Future

With the amount of heavy news coverage marking the 10 year anniversary of 9/11/2001, I chatted with The Wifey about how we're going to relate our perceived importance of the date to our children. I came to realize that the new generation of children will see 9/11 completely differently than the previous ones.

My sons will never know a world where terrorism wasn't always being brought up or where there isn't some war going on to combat it.  They will live their lives not completely understanding "the big deal" about 9/11 and probably scoffing at the fact that so much of their precious media is being devoted to it when they could be watch the Real World season 50 online.  All they will probably know is that some buildings fell and think "Man, that sucks" and that their parents were alive and greatly affected by the whole scenario.  They will maybe even write a paper to give an oral presentation about how we act when ever someone brings up 9/11.  It'll take another terrorist attack(s) for them to truly understand the magnitude of what terrorism can do.

I base this prediction on my own thought about Pearl Harbor.  I 've been taught the history behind then event - the sneak attack, the loss of life and military might, the internment camps subsequently enacted, its significance to throw the US into WWII - but it has absolutely no charge for me when its reviewed on The History Channel.  I've seen footage, heard eye witness testimony, and have imagined what that could've been like, but I still have no true understanding of that event and it's emotional impact to the folks of that era.  I can't expect my kids to care as deeply as I do about 9/11; all I can do is what previous generations have done with these things - teach them to our children and hope that they can take away some kind of life lesson that can be used to prevent/avoid these events in the future.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Call Me Gandalf, Baby...

On two different occasions this week I've dispensed some adult-level advice regarding other people's relationships.  It's been forcing me to have to reset myself on a lot of the drama I've been dealing with unnecessarily.  Here's are the life lessons I need to recommit myself to that I shared with others:

  • You are in control of your life and choose to feel the way you feel.  If someones "makes" you angry/sad, it's not their fault; there is something within you left unresolved that is triggering your emotional response.  Figure out what that trigger is and ask yourself, "Why do I feel this way?" when that button is pushed.  Dig deeply into your past and try to remember the first time you've felt like that.  Then work on processing through that unresolved issue.

    This one is very difficult for me because I want to control everybody and everything.  When I get upset with someone over a button they have pushed, I want to lash back and prove to (read that as hurt) them they're wrong and I'm right.  This week I've had to put into practice this very concept.  Someone hit one of the biggest buttons I own (I'm leaving out the details on purpose). I got snippy with them and I was seeing red for hours afterwards.  I couldn't let it go.  I then asked myself, "Why am I so angry?  Why am I acting like such a fool?"  I ended up apologizing to that person for getting angry with them.  It wasn't their fault I was angry -  I chose to be that way.  Fifteen minutes after apologizing, I felt a lot better.

  • The best way to change someone else's behavior is to change your own.  Think about your negative reaction to what someone says/does to you.  Is there a better, more positive way to react to it? Can you forgive them for their trespass on your emotional well-being?  Is there a pattern of button pushing going on?  Identify those buttons and process different ways of reacting to it.  If they continue to push those button, there's an issue the other needs to deal with for which you have no ownership over.

  • Operate out of love not fear.  Keep a bigger picture of in mind of what will make you happy and work with that person to achieve that goal.  Everything that you say and do should be to achieve your goal - not to turn around and hurt that person

    In the anecdote above, I was afraid that I was being ignored by that other person and it was a direct reflection of who I am as a person.  That's why I got so angry with them over something so trivial.  Once I realized that I was projecting my insecurities on them, I realized I was wrong and had to apologize to them.  in fact, I should've called them and thanked them for showing me I had an issue to work on ;-). 
I talk a lot of this but don't live it.  I need to start living these concepts cot damn it!