Being “logical” isn’t always rational

Being “logical” isn’t always rational

blogs, Communication, Relationships, Self-awareness
Do you try hard to stay “logical” or “rational” when talking or disagreeing with someone?  On the surface this looks like a good idea – we want decisions made on factual information, not just emotions.  But, as fans of Star Trek will know, this is a doomed enterprise (pun fully intended, with apologies). What we usually acheive is the exact opposite of being rational.   When I talk in an “unemotional” way, what I actually do is disown and deny the feelings that are the motivation for my opinion.  Emotion researcher Karla Mclaren (https://karlamclaren.com) stresses that emotions are a fundamental part of our cognitive system.  In other words, emotions are another way our brain sends us messages just like our senses do. We can’t think without feeling. When we present our…
Read More
Boundaries and Intimacy

Boundaries and Intimacy

Communication, Intimacy, Relationships, Self-awareness
This image encapsulates a really important lesson that many of us struggle to learn. If we want intimacy then we have to risk the vulnerability of authenticity, of being really honest. Among other things, being authentic means saying what is and isn't OK for you. That's what us therapist types mean when we talk about "setting boundaries" The right-hand column in this picture is a good summary of what happens if we don't do this. If we are not looking after ourselves by setting good boundaries we are likely to end up resentful and lonely. So why is it so difficult for many of us to set boundaries? Typically it is because (perhaps unconsciously) we don't believe we are good enough, important enough, loveable enough or safe enough to get…
Read More
How can I change what I’m not aware of?

How can I change what I’m not aware of?

Self-awareness
Some people are really practiced at noticing what's going on inside themselves, how they really feel, what they really want, owning how they behave and being able to explain why. For the rest of us, there's therapy. Whether it's couples or individual therapy a big part of the process is recognising and accepting that quite a lot of what we do is outside our conscious awareness. Our mind is like an iceberg where the bit that we can see above the water (the bit we are conscious of) is only a fraction of all that is going on for us. Conscious thought consists of anything we can notice if we direct our attention towards it. We may not be aware of, say, a memory or a feeling until we focus…
Read More
Selfishness and Self-sacrifice by Nic Beets

Selfishness and Self-sacrifice by Nic Beets

Communication, Relationships, Self-awareness
Lots of couples have one person who is more self-centred and one who is more self-sacrificing. It can be very hard to acknowledge the unhelpfulness of these tendancies as there is a lot of judgment about these ways of being.   Further more we have usually learned these ways of operating as a self-protection in our formative years and, as a result, just think these ways of being are “normal” and that being “selfish” or “selfless” must be more extreme than what I’m doing.  To make matters even harder, if this is a long standing way of protecting yourself, it can be hard for us to imagine what the alternative is.  Typically we fear that we will become like our partner (whose behaviour hurts and frustrates us).  We fear that "If I’m not self-sacrificing then I’m…
Read More