Friday, January 06, 2012

Recommended & the Mahiki dance-off

My GFs and I went to Mahiki last night, great fun as usual but made me feel a bit old; it seems that Thursday night is the playground of the just-past-pubescent. Oh well. Good tunes though, so whatever.

In between taking over the dancefloor - the youngsters may have youth on their side but frankly that shrinks to insignificance in the face of two decades of clubbing experience - one of my GFs and I got into a conversation about why so many people are full of bull.

It appears that many people we come across are content to live their lives in a superficial way, skimming the surface of what life has to offer and equating the ownership of stuff (cars, houses, boats, jewelry, designer clothes) with happiness. They converse in terms of status, strut their possessions as a measure of their own self-worth, take themselves far too seriously, are quick to judge others, easily annoyed, complain a lot about very little and their worries seem to far outweigh their joys.

Personally, I think all that status-related stuff is a crock and, while it's fun to drive a cool car and I very much like being surrounded by beautiful things, it's not the essence of life. If all the things I own vanished overnight, I'd survive... so long as I still have the people I love most in my life.

As usual, I digress... anyway...

The conversation went on to discuss what makes a person 'real', the qualities we admire in the people we like most, and what it is that makes someone fully 'human'.

This made me think about one of my favorite therapy textbooks, which I've been re-reading this week; John Powell's 'Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am? Insights into Personal Growth', which was first published in the 1960's. For me, the entire book makes absolute sense and is well worth a read - it's a must-read for anyone interested in the process of becoming 'fully human' through the adoption of self-knowledge, self-acceptance and authenticity.

Here's a few teaser quotes:

"We have been somehow "programmed" not to accept certain emotions as part of us. We are ashamed of them... We might reason that reporting then would disturb a peaceful relationship or evoke an emotionally stormy reaction from the other. But all of our reasons are essentially fraudulent, and our silence can produce only fraudulent relationships. Anyone who builds a relationship on less than openness and honesty is building on sand."

"In fully human people, there is a balance of the senses, emotions, intellect and will. The emotions have to be integrated. Though it is necessary to "report" our emotions, it is not at all necessary that we "act on" them. We must never allow our emotions to control our decisions."

"Most of us feel that others will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. We would rather defend our dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Having rationalized our phoniness into nobility, we settle for superficial relationships."

"To reveal myself openly and honestly takes the rarest kind of courage."

Please feel free to comment, anyone who can relate to this and/ or has a strong (and honest!) opinion.


A dad said...

Glad you enjoyed Mahiki again, Kate :-)

Interesting subject you raise in the rest of your post, and I have to agree with you in that the trappings of "success" are no benchmark for me when it comes my own development as a person. Self-awareness, emotional intelligence and honesty (with myself and others) are for more important than what watch I may have on my wrist. (Although that's likely to be quite nice too, as I have a soft spot for watches :-))

I've always tried to communicate openly and honestly, and have never been scared to express my feelings and/or emotions. In fact, I've been told more than once that I act like a man but think like a woman, which I take as a massive compliment bearing in mind how emotionally stunted so many men appear to be.

Kate Smith Shanahan said...

Thanks A Dad, can't say I'm entirely enjoying the after effect today though. *sigh* Good comment, although personally I think that perhaps I need to learn to think like a man.

Emotionally stunted... perhaps in some cases. I do think that the majority are probably just not adept at expressing or making sense of their feelings - we ladies start talking about emotional stuff from a young age so we have plenty of practice, whilst the vast majority of males are probably raised in the sort of environment where a verbal expression of emotion would deliver nothing more than a thorough kicking.

Sad, really.

A dad said...

Well, perhaps - but only to a point. To express feelings one has to first understand them, and a lifetime of denying their existence is less than helpful in that respect!

Anyway, you think like a man, I'll think like a woman, and we can take it from there :-)

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