This is the second installment of Sunday’s Question Segment, where you, the reader, write in and ask a question that you would like answered.
I am not a professional psychiatrist or a licensed doctor, these are just my sole opinions. The whole reasoning for this segment is for you to get a question answered, to build a great conversation, and for me to share a bit more of myself… my thoughts, feelings and opinions. I hope you enjoy these magnificent questions and hopefully I can answer them the way they truly deserve to be answered… with honesty, feeling, and insight.
We will continue this segment every week, so please feel free to send in questions in any number of ways that were listed in last week’s post. By all means, the answers in any of these question segments are not intended to offend anyone.
This week we have three questions so let’s get started. Our first post comes from Bornstoryteller and it is one hell of a question. Here’s hoping I don’t screw it up.
Why are we living in a world where we can’t pay attention to what is in front of us? How did we get here?
I think the reason we cannot pay attention to what’s in front of us has to do with short attention spans from technology. When I was a child we watched movies about the future. In these movies, the robots would take over humanity.
I think in some weird way that is what has happened. When you look around you today, you can see how technology has deteriorated what once was; manners, common sense, the ability to think and act on one’s own behalf, and the distortion of the English language.
Don’t get me wrong, technology has been very helpful to humanity but, it has also created a “need” for instant gratification and entitlement. I say “need” when it’s actually a want because of course we think we “need” it therefore, we keep upgrading everything in our lives to bigger, better, faster things.
Patience is becoming as extinct as a home phone. Nobody wants to wait around for something to happen, it needs to happen now or we get bored and just let it go or we don’t even see it in the first place. We have become a society that believes we are entitled to anything and everything that we want when we want it.
For example, not being able to buy groceries for a couple of weeks but, can afford an unlimited data plan on a new I-phone because “I am entitled to nice things.” This type of instant gratification has also made us impatient and reckless in our relationships and in raising children. Instead of working out indifference, lowering our high standards, or compromising in our relationships we go into all of them with the notion we can replace them or divorce them with no real consequences. In other words, we treat fellow human beings as we do material possessions.
I don’t see this getting any better as our children (who walk around with the newest technology by the age of 10) are under the same impression that technology will solve all humanities issues.
There is also a rise in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the world and this I don’t believe comes completely from technology, although God only knows what kind of affects the constant radio waves from cell phones and laptops are doing to our bodies that we are passing on to our children. But, this does in part have to do with what I said about wanting bigger and better things.
And of course, since our kids are tech junkies they don’t get as much of that clean, fresh air and sunshine that we did as children. We have tainted our food and water supplies. It’s nothing new but, our children’s DNA seems to be more polluted than ours is. I think this has to do with their lower abilities to fight off infections, more government mandated vaccinations and the greater accessibility to processed food.
So in my opinion, since we are so “connected” we lose focus on the things right in front of us that use to be as plain as the nose on our faces.
Our next question comes from Martha.
What can help you heal the hurt, my dear?
Before I answer this question I want to give a little insight to it. Martha asked this after reading my post about my sister’s sudden death from Cancer, ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’
I have dealt with death of many close family members since I was a young girl. I don’t know if “dealt” is the proper word because when I think of the word dealt, I think of coming to terms with it by yourself. I don’t feel like I came to terms with any of the deaths on my own. When someone we know and love dies, we are forced to deal with it because there is no way to bring them back and life goes on whether we want it to or not.
Maybe this is the reason I haven’t healed fully from any of the losses in my life. People say, “time heals.” Time heals because after a while of living without someone, we eventually push them out of the front of our minds. Technically, life pushes them out of the front of our minds not necessarily us. Day after day, happy and not-so happy things happen that take the place of those initial thoughts of that person we lost. I don’t think there is a way to ever heal fully from the loss of a loved one; it remains in us like a scar from surgery does.
There will always be a reminder that they were once present in our lives. When someone loses a close friend or loved one we say the best thing to do is hold on to the happy memories of them. How can we ever fully heal if we cling to their memory? We can’t, because we remember them.
So, I suppose in time I can heal because I will not focus so much on her being gone but, I will never fully heal from losing my sister.
Our final question this week comes from Jan.
I have been in an unintended competition with my sister for years, all of our lives really. She is 6 years my senior, my favorite saying of us is that if we hadn’t been born sisters we would have never met. We are completely different. She lives a life of I can’t(s), I live with tell me I can’t I will show you I can. “I can’t” are her two favorite words. Anyway, when something serious happens, such as I had a crisis in my life, as a result had my blood pressure checked ended up on 4 different meds for it. The doctor was astounded that I hadn’t stroked out. 2 weeks later my sister calls and says, “Um, I don’t mean to steal your thunder, but my blood pressure was higher than yours.” Seriously? Does she truly think I Want to be ill? This is the kind of competitiveness I mean. What can I do? Continue to ignore her or heaven forbid confront her. I don’t feel confrontation would work either because she has no idea of what she is doing, and would deny, deny, deny, also how she lives.
A little bit of competition in life is not a bad thing, in fact it can make us push ourselves to do better than what we thought we could do. Sibling rivalry is nothing new, it’s been around forever. It’s ok to be different, we should be different from others or how boring life would be if we were all the same. Being of the same bloodline does not mean we will be alike. Those aspects of your relationship with your sister are perfectly normal.
Now let me address this issue about being ill. I am sorry to hear of your illness and hope that you get better soon. As far as your sister’s reaction, some people believe that they are the center of everything and should always be treated as such. Sickness should never be a competition, EVER! I find it disconcerting that your own sister would try to make that a competition. What’s the prize when you win in this type of competition? Death… I don’t know about you but, I wouldn’t want to brag about winning that prize.
I don’t want to say ignore it but, I also don’t believe you should confront her. People get set in their ways; all a confrontation does is add more stress for the person who truly cares more, in this case that would be you. More stress equals more illness which is not what you need in your life. I am a firm believer in just accepting people for who and what they are. Nothing you say is going to make her realize what she is doing is in bad taste. I have firsthand knowledge in this and I handled it this way.
When the person called, I let them do the talking, complaining, and /or pity-party conversation. I would occasionally try to throw in an “uh-huh, ok, or wow that’s something isn’t it.” Then from there I would change the subject and if they were hell-bent on staying on their “poor me” topic, well then it was time for me to go.
It’s not that you have to give into their apprehensive behavior and lack of common courtesy it’s just there are benefits of doing this. As a caring and loving person the biggest issue I have found is… what if my loved one passed away and I didn’t do all I could to be understanding.
I can’t begin to tell you why your sister acts the way she does. I can tell you though, that if you cut her off completely it would only bring a moments worth of relief. Eventually, your conscience will eat away at you because you turned your back on someone who is obviously in great need of help.
The best thing you can do to help her is to listen and cut it short if she doesn’t want to move on to something more positive or be a caring, loving sister in return. Not everyone realizes they are being selfish when they act the way your sister has. But, seeing as she purposely said to you, “ I don’t mean to steal your thunder” indicates that not only does she know she is doing it but, that she thinks that being ill is a game. When people do that it makes me wonder are they even sick or are they playing games.
My advice to you is… to do what you feel is right. If you don’t feel like dealing with her nonsense then ignore the phone call until you feel you are strong enough to speak to her. It doesn’t matter if you ignore her or confront her she is going to keep doing this because it makes her “feel” better. Good people know that everyone matters and we must do our best to be tolerant and understanding, even if the person they are dealing with is a conceited jerk who will never be a nice person. If she truly is ill or more ill than you are and she doesn’t take it seriously than it is on her.
Don’t let anyone; including your family make you feel bad for them, especially when they aren’t taking their own life seriously. Anyone who loves you would never force you into feeling guilty for them. You don’t need her to confirm you in any way, just treat her as you would an acquaintance and in the end all things work themselves out. In the meantime, you can feel good knowing that you tried and were the best tolerant and forgiving person that you could be. Good luck to you!
“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”
By Dalai Lama XIV