Posts tagged “Brene Brown

Blaming Might Be Funny, If It Wasn’t So Darned Destructive

Check out Brene’ Brown’s three minute video on blame and discover why I relate to it on such a personal level.

A few years back, my family decided to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant we liked. Our kids had invited friends over so the group that piled into our van that late afternoon was bigger than the usual four in our family. We lived in Spokane, Washington, at the time and it was cold. No snow on the ground, but definitely chilly. When I learned of the restaurant plan I found a jacket, threw on some boots by the door, and headed to the van myself.

Restaurants in cold-weather places like Spokane often have an alcove or entrance vestibule leading to the actual front door, which serves as a buffer between the dining area and the biting cold outside. After pulling into the parking lot, our group quickly exited the van and headed to the outer vestibule door. About to exit the van myself, I noticed that I hadn’t yet tied my shoelaces. The boots I had jumped into actually had long laces that now formed a willy-nilly pattern on the floor mat under my feet. I thought about tying them, but then felt it would be cool and casual if I left them to drag out behind me, a symbol of my easy going, devil-may-care attitude.

I joined the others in the vestibule, although part of our group had already entered the second door and was now spilling into the dining area. I could see my wife, at the front of the group, talking with the hostess about the size of table we would need. The group, probably because of the cold vestibule and the warmth inside, continued to creep into the dining room as the staff put a couple of smaller tables together and get place settings arranged for us. I ended up almost straddling the second doorway, between the dining area and the vestibule, holding the door ajar as I stood there (worried those dining were swearing under their breath at me for holding the door open).

A Thousand Words Is Worth a Picture

I was relieved when the hostess motioned for our group to come to be seated. Those in line in front of me started to head toward the table and I scrunched into those directly in front of me, which allowed the vestibule door to close finally. Soon, I could head toward the table, too, and began the process that has come to be known as walking.

Walking can be a little bit shaky when you are 10 months old, but soon you get the hang of it and can walk in all kinds of situations without giving it even a second thought. By the time you are 45, for instance, which is how old I was when this happened, you are quite good at it. It is necessary, at this point in the story, though, to dissect this skill which is, for the most part, invisible to us.

“Not a good situation!” the alarms are yelling.

Seeing the person in front of me move toward the table, I started the walking process by leaning forward ever so slightly. Just milliseconds after beginning this leaning forward, in a coordinated effort that plays out hundreds of times every day by countless fellow human beings, my right foot begins to step forward, following the subtle momentum that my upper body has started. My brain quickly notes, though, that my right foot isn’t moving, in fact, cannot move. Not a panic situation yet as the upper body momentum has only just started. I am, to the casual observer (of which, I will note, there were many), a man beginning to walk to his table. My brain now sends a message back to the right foot to try harder, a stronger effort, possibly violent, being in order. The foot obeys, only to discover the same determined fixedness, the same stubborn immobility. I must point out that the upper body has continued its slight forward momentum, fully expecting the feet to follow. Panic has still not set in, but alarms are now going off in the brain. “Not a good situation!” the alarms are yelling. “Get feet moving!” A decidedly firm and urgent message is sent to the left foot to take a step forward and bring the body back into balance, physically, as well as emotionally, since the alarms have now awoken various chemicals throughout the body system to respond to a potential .  .  . well .  .  . disaster. Remarkably, mixed with a fair amount of terror, the left foot responds that it, too, is fixed to the floor. Again, firmer and even violent effort to free the left foot meets with the same non-moving result. We should recall here the inevitable influence of physics on everyday life, for while much attention has been given to my feet, my upper body, obedient to my original directive has continued to lean forward, it’s slight, almost invisible, speed at first now picking up greater momentum. Those dining begin to become aware of something out of the ordinary and shift their gaze from their food to this event taking place right there in front of them. The brain is actually quite pragmatic when push comes to shove or when feet are somehow nailed to the floor. The legs, torso, and head, a one-piece unit, straight as a board, respond to the invitation of gravity and fall with alarmingly increasing speed, the eyes scanning for a landing place. The brain shifts from the feet, which turned out to be a huge disappointment, and now focuses on the arms and hands. The feet could not prevent this event, but arms and hands can soften the blow. The effects of the impending face plant can by minimized.

It is interesting, and here is where I am right with Brene’, that before I hit the floor I muttered a name loudly enough for many in the dining area to hear me. With frustration and accusation in my voice I muttered the name, RACHEL. Then bam, I hit the floor. Some in the restaurant, my family included, heard the commotion, however had not seen the whole drama play out. Of course, turning in my direction now they saw nothing. How could they? I was flat on the floor.

You may be wondering, What happened? My brain, quickly recovering from the mortification process, asked the same thing. What the *&%$@ just happened? Still laying on the floor, I turned to examine my feet and immediately ascertained the problem. I can be a quick study, to be sure. Mr. Cool and Casual had been bitten by the bug of his earlier decision. My laces, untied, dragging out behind me in a statement against societal norms, had laid neatly across the metal threshold of the vestibule door, which when I let the door close behind me had firmly pinned my shoelaces in a death grip between door and threshold. I looked around as onlookers politely stifled laughter and had to chuckle at the vestibule door’s efficiency.

My family was less polite in terms of the laughter thing. In fact, they seemed oblivious to my feelings and quite frankly laughed a bit harder than necessary. They seemed to be laughing so hard that I thought that some of them might pee, which would serve them right as far as I was concerned. Let them experience their own form of mortification. Eventually, maybe a couple of hours later, everyone stopped laughing and we were able to eat and I was able to relate the unfortunate details that I have shared with you.

How is it possible that I could be so quick to blame?

The thing is, how could I, in less than a second, while my brain is furiously distracted, have blamed someone so quickly. Rachel, I should tell you, is my daughter. She was 17 when this happened and had developed an excellent sense of humor, so excellent, in fact, that I immediately, even before hitting the floor identified her as the culprit. Like so many times when we resort to a deadly habit, the problem is more about us than it is about the person we see as the problem. In this case, Rachel had absolutely nothing to do with my face plant in front of a dining room full of people. It was all about me, about my desire to be cool and casual, and about my standing in an ill-advised location with my laces dragging behind me.

We so often see our blaming as the result of a circumstance or person outside of us, yet stories like these remind us that blaming begins within us and is a spirit waiting to be judgmentally applied to others. It’s hard for some of us, but the habit of blaming is one we need to break. Most of the time it’s nobody’s fault but our own.

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This post first appeared on March 12, 2015. I hope it has put a smile on your face, however more than that I hope it has reminded you how deeply the deadly habits can become a part of our way of being. If you have a deadly habit story you are willing to share I would love to hear from you.

The Ship Is Turning

Connection - Brene Brown

Large ships, like oil supertankers, are not very nimble. Their size (1,200′ and longer) and their weight (some carrying almost two million gallons of crude oil) and their speed (over 20 knots) combine to create momentum that requires serious planning ahead when it comes to stops and turns.  Stopping a loaded supertanker can take five miles or more (even with the gears in full reverse) and turning requires a radius of five to ten miles.

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The education system can be compared to a supertanker in that it seems to take so long for meaningful change to take place. Based on several recent articles, though, it appears the supertanker of education is turning! Of special interest, these significant changes are directly tied to the principles of choice theory.

An article (May, 2015) in Phi Delta Kappan – Relationships: The Fundamental R in Education – is an example of a recurring theme in educational journals for several years now. “Adolescents need to feel cared for,” the article opened, “if they are to succeed in school.” More than warm fuzziness, caring relationships are based on tangible action. Important for young children, certainly, however more and more it is being recognized just how important caring, supportive relationships are for teenagers. The article emphasized points many of us could rattle off without even reading it: 1) establishing a safe, academically-focused culture, 2) helping each student to see their own role as a classroom stakeholder, 3) teaching students how to effectively communicate, both in what and how they say things, as well as the importance of listening, 4) fostering friendships between students, 5) inspiring students to embrace respect and to express respect to one another, and 6) encouraging and expecting responsibility.

Use personal pronouns. “I care enough about you to be involved, to be your friend.” Spend a few seconds throughout the day reinforcing involvement.  William Glasser (1974)

These are the kinds of ideas and behaviors that Dr. Glasser emphasized throughout his life. He started off talking about the need for involvement between therapist and client or between teacher and student. For him, involvement was about a warm, caring regard that therapist or teacher would have toward the client or the child with whom they worked. This caring connection, for him, was vital to success. Only as students felt connected to their teachers and to their fellow students could they thrive in a classroom setting.

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It got my attention even more when I saw some of the headlines in the most recent edition of American Educator. On the cover it proclaimed, “Seeding Change in School Discipline: The Move from Zero Tolerance to Support,” while the first article’s headline read, “From Reaction to Prevention: Turning the Page on School Discipline.” The opening paragraphs describe this change well –

We stand today in the middle of an important debate on the role, function, and practice of school discipline. There can be no question that any approach we implement should strive to create a school climate that is safe, orderly, and civil, and that teaches our children basic values of respect and cooperation. The key question revolves around the best way to accomplish that goal.
For some 20 years, numerous policymakers responded to concerns about school safety and disruption with a “get tough” philosophy relying upon zero-tolerance policies and frequent out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. But research has overwhelmingly shown that such approaches are ineffective and increase the risk for negative social and academic outcomes, especially for children from historically disadvantaged groups. In response to these findings, educational leaders and professional associations have led a shift toward alternative models and practices in school discipline. District, state, and federal policymakers have pressed for more constructive alternatives that foster a productive and healthy instructional climate without depriving large numbers of students the opportunity to learn.

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I have written about this before, but it needs to be said again. When Glasser was working at the Ventura School for Girls (a prison school) he learned from the girls that rather than their troubled homes being the cause of their path to getting into trouble and eventually into prison, they explained that it was getting into trouble at school, and then being suspended or expelled that put them onto the streets and ultimately into prison.

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“From Reaction to Prevention” – written over 50 years later – strongly confirms that suspension and expulsion are “in themselves risk factors for negative long term outcomes,” which affect not only the student but also society as a whole. To put this in clearer terms –

The Council of State Governments’ report Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement found that suspension and expulsion for a discretionary school violation, such as a dress code violation or disrupting class, nearly tripled a student’s likelihood of involvement with the juvenile justice system within the subsequent year.

A get tough approach based on external control rewards and punishments wasn’t the answer 50 years ago and it isn’t the answer today. The article states that three keys are needed toward the creation of effective discipline alternatives: 1) relationship building, 2) social-emotional learning, and 3) structural interventions. Choice theorists can readily embrace relationship building and social-emotional learning, as these are the essence of what choice theory is about. Choice theory, in fact, has much to offer in these two areas. The third key, structural interventions, is not so easily embraced. By structural interventions the article is talking about management models based on a humane, choice-oriented format.

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Glasser’s Ten Step Approach to School Discipline            (circa 1974)

Glasser began to be uncomfortable with school discipline models in 1990 and completely rejected them in 1996, citing his belief that by their very nature discipline models focused on changing the kid, rather than on changing the system that led to the misbehavior in the first place. Additionally, he cited that he didn’t like things that were “cooky-booky.” He even rejected his own 10-Step Plan, though it didn’t contain even a shred of external control. I agree with Glasser’s concerns, as I have witnessed first hand how hard it is for teachers to really shift from external control, with its rewards and punishments, to internal control, with its focus on all individual behavior being purposeful. In spite of this agreement, though, I think it may be time to re-look at what choice theory has to offer when it comes to classroom management.

Choice theory, while present in some school districts, is not a major player on a national scale when it comes to school leadership and classroom management. It should be. In its absence, other models – like Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) and The Responsive Classroom – are more than happy to fill the void. Teachers need the theory of choice theory, but they also need the key steps in the application of the theory. A model, framework, or structure is needed for those just beginning the journey. There is a danger in adopting a structure, as it can be misunderstood and misapplied, but it seems like there is also a danger in not having one, that being the danger of becoming irrelevant.

Regardless, though, the ship is turning! We can celebrate that school systems are more ready than ever for change when it comes to classroom management. Educators and researchers agree that get-tough approaches based on reward/punishment don’t work. With schools in desperate need of classroom management alternatives, what can choice theory offer them? Certainly a wonderful theory and compelling ideas. A framework? A model? Hmm . . .

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Brene’ Brown and William Glasser are right – we are hardwired to connect with others. Management plans that don’t acknowledge and embrace this truth cannot succeed.

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Don’t become too preoccupied with what is happening around you.
Pay more attention to what is going on within you.
Mary Frances Winters

Blaming Might Be Funny, If It Wasn’t So Darned Destructive

Check out Brene’ Brown’s three minute video on blame and discover why I relate to it on such a personal level.

A few years back, my family decided to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant we liked. Our kids had invited friends over so the group that piled into our van that late afternoon was bigger than the usual four in our family. We lived in Spokane, Washington, at the time and it was cold. No snow on the ground, but definitely chilly. When I learned of the restaurant plan I found a jacket, threw on some boots by the door, and headed to the van myself.

Restaurants in cold-weather places like Spokane often have an alcove or entrance vestibule leading to the actual front door, which serves as a buffer between the dining area and the biting cold outside. After pulling into the parking lot, our group quickly exited the van and headed to the outer vestibule door. About to exit the van myself, I noticed that I hadn’t yet tied my shoelaces. The boots I had jumped into actually had long laces that now formed a willy-nilly pattern on the floor mat under my feet. I thought about tying them, but then felt it would be cool and casual if I left them to drag out behind me, a symbol of my easy going, devil-may-care attitude.

I joined the others in the vestibule, although part of our group had already entered the second door and was now spilling into the dining area. I could see my wife, at the front of the group, talking with the hostess about the size of table we would need. The group, probably because of the cold vestibule and the warmth inside, continued to creep into the dining room as the staff put a couple of smaller tables together and get place settings arranged for us. I ended up almost straddling the second doorway, between the dining area and the vestibule, holding the door ajar as I stood there (worried those dining were swearing under their breath at me for holding the door open).

A Thousand Words Is Worth a Picture

I was relieved when the hostess motioned for our group to come to be seated. Those in line in front of me started to head toward the table and I scrunched into those directly in front of me, which allowed the vestibule door to close finally. Soon, I could head toward the table, too, and began the process that has come to be known as walking.

Walking can be a little bit shaky when you are 10 months old, but soon you get the hang of it and can walk in all kinds of situations without giving it even a second thought. By the time you are 45, for instance, which is how old I was when this happened, you are quite good at it. It is necessary, at this point in the story, though, to dissect this skill which is, for the most part, invisible to us.

“Not a good situation!” the alarms are yelling.

Seeing the person in front of me move toward the table, I started the walking process by leaning forward ever so slightly. Just milliseconds after beginning this leaning forward, in a coordinated effort that plays out hundreds of times every day by countless fellow human beings, my right foot begins to step forward, following the subtle momentum that my upper body has started. My brain quickly notes, though, that my right foot isn’t moving, in fact, cannot move. Not a panic situation yet as the upper body momentum has only just started. I am, to the casual observer (of which, I will note, there were many), a man beginning to walk to his table. My brain now sends a message back to the right foot to try harder, a stronger effort, possibly violent, being in order. The foot obeys, only to discover the same determined fixedness, the same stubborn immobility. I must point out that the upper body has continued its slight forward momentum, fully expecting the feet to follow. Panic has still not set in, but alarms are now going off in the brain. “Not a good situation!” the alarms are yelling. “Get feet moving!” A decidedly firm and urgent message is sent to the left foot to take a step forward and bring the body back into balance, physically, as well as emotionally, since the alarms have now awoken various chemicals throughout the body system to respond to a potential .  .  . well .  .  . disaster. Remarkably, mixed with a fair amount of terror, the left foot responds that it, too, is fixed to the floor. Again, firmer and even violent effort to free the left foot meets with the same non-moving result. We should recall here the inevitable influence of physics on everyday life, for while much attention has been given to my feet, my upper body, obedient to my original directive has continued to lean forward, it’s slight, almost invisible, speed at first now picking up greater momentum. Those dining begin to become aware of something out of the ordinary and shift their gaze from their food to this event taking place right there in front of them. The brain is actually quite pragmatic when push comes to shove or when feet are somehow nailed to the floor. The legs, torso, and head, a one-piece unit, straight as a board, respond to the invitation of gravity and fall with alarmingly increasing speed, the eyes scanning for a landing place. The brain shifts from the feet, which turned out to be a huge disappointment, and now focuses on the arms and hands. The feet could not prevent this event, but arms and hands can soften the blow. The effects of the impending face plant can by minimized.

It is interesting, and here is where I am right with Brene’, that before I hit the floor I muttered a name loudly enough for many in the dining area to hear me. With frustration and accusation in my voice I muttered the name, RACHEL. Then bam, I hit the floor. Some in the restaurant, my family included, heard the commotion, however had not seen the whole drama play out. Of course, turning in my direction now they saw nothing. How could they? I was flat on the floor.

You may be wondering, What happened? My brain, quickly recovering from the mortification process, asked the same thing. What the *&%$@ just happened? Still laying on the floor, I turned to examine my feet and immediately ascertained the problem. I can be a quick study, to be sure. Mr. Cool and Casual had been bitten by the bug of his earlier decision. My laces, untied, dragging out behind me in a statement against societal norms, had laid neatly across the metal threshold of the vestibule door, which when I let the door close behind me had firmly pinned my shoelaces in a death grip between door and threshold. I looked around as onlookers politely stifled laughter and had to chuckle at the vestibule door’s efficiency.

My family was less polite in terms of the laughter thing. In fact, they seemed oblivious to my feelings and quite frankly laughed a bit harder than necessary. They seemed to be laughing so hard that I thought that some of them might pee, which would serve them right as far as I was concerned. Let them experience their own form of mortification. Eventually, maybe a couple of hours later, everyone stopped laughing and we were able to eat and I was able to relate the unfortunate details that I have shared with you.

How is it possible that I could be so quick to blame?

The thing is, how could I, in less than a second, while my brain is furiously distracted, have blamed someone so quickly. Rachel, I should tell you, is my daughter. She was 17 when this happened and had developed an excellent sense of humor, so excellent, in fact, that I immediately, even before hitting the floor identified her as the culprit. Like so many times when we resort to a deadly habit, the problem is more about us than it is about the person we see as the problem. In this case, Rachel had absolutely nothing to do with my face plant in front of a dining room full of people. It was all about me, about my desire to be cool and casual, and about my standing in an ill-advised location with my laces dragging behind me.

We so often see our blaming as the result of a circumstance or person outside of us, yet stories like these remind us that blaming begins within us and is a spirit waiting to be judgmentally applied to others. It’s hard for some of us, but the habit of blaming is one we need to break. Most of the time it’s nobody’s fault but our own.

Help from the Iceberg

iceberg2

There is something fascinating about icebergs – the way they fall into the sea from their glacial upbringing, their massive size and heft, and the mysteries and stories that surround them. The fateful sinking of the unsinkable Titantic in 1912 is a famous example of iceberg lore.

Partly because the fresh water from which icebergs are formed is less dense that the salt water in which they float, only about 10% of the iceberg is visible above the water line. This is where the phrase “tip of the iceberg” comes from. The part of the iceberg you can see may look huge, but it is only a small fraction of its total size. It’s the 90% underneath the water that really forms the mass of the iceberg.

iceberg

The science of an iceberg has actually helped me to understand some elements of choice theory a little better. Two of choice theory’s key elements include 1) the basic needs, and 2) the quality world. For me, the basic needs include –

Purpose and Meaning
Love and Belonging
Power and Achievement
Freedom and Autonomy
Fun and Joy
Survival and Safety

As a review –

Every human being has a unique set of basic needs that were passed on from his/her biological parents.
While every person arrives with a set of basic needs, no one arrives with instructions on how to meet them. From birth to death we are involved with learning to effectively meet our needs.
Our basic needs vary. A person can have a low need for fun and a high need for power. Many different combinations of need strengths can exist.
The needs want to be met. The stronger the need, the greater the urgency to fulfill it.
The need strengths do not change over time.

Glasser described the quality world as a special picture book in our head in which we collect pictures of the people, things, places, ideas, and activities that help us meet one or more of our basic needs. We begin to create this picture album from the moment we are born. We place people and things in our personal picture album; no one can force their way in uninvited. We can also take people and things out of our quality world, although that can be a very painful process. Our quality world represents the people, things, and ideas that are the most need-satisfying to us. As a result we put a lot of energy and effort into creating circumstances that match the pictures we have created. Problems can arise when we try to force others to match the pictures in our quality world. Choice theory reminds us, though, that the only person we can control is ourselves.

Screenshot 2014-11-05 21.11.15

The iceberg represents a helpful picture at this point. The part of the iceberg that is under the water, the huge 90% part of the iceberg, is similar to the basic needs. The basic needs are of huge importance in our lives. They exert an influence that is hard to overstate. Yet, like the invisible underwater portion of the iceberg, our basic needs are not easily seen or identified. There is no blood test, no x-ray, no brain scan that reveals what our need strengths are.

brain-scan

We get good clues about our basic needs, though, from the part of the iceberg we can see, that 10% above the water line that is comparable to our quality world picture books. How we behave in different life settings – with our families, at work, at play, when we have spare time, when things are going well, and when things are going not so well – provides us with good clues as to our basic need strengths. Understanding our personal basic needs and being aware of our own quality world pictures that help us meet those needs will go a long way toward us achieving happiness and mental health.

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I mentioned Dr. Brene Brown, the author of Daring Greatly, in the last blog and I want to close with a couple of things she said that reminded me of the iceberg principle. She writes –

When we feel shame, we are most likely to protect ourselves by blaming something or someone, rationalizing our lapse, offering a disingenuous apology, or hiding out.

Shame seems to come from that invisible, immense underwater region of the iceberg that we can’t see and probably don’t want to see. She goes on to write –

When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends, or change a behavior that doesn’t align with our values, guilt—not shame—is most often the driving force.

Guilt isn’t something that I want or feel comfortable with, but it is a part of the iceberg I can see, and therefore I can deal with it and make things right.

==========

Now priced at $18.51 on Amazon; 21 reviews have been submitted.

Now priced at $18.51 on Amazon; 21 reviews have been submitted.

The eBook version can be accessed at –

https://www.zeigtucker.com/product/william-glasser-champion-of-choice-ebook/

The paperback version can be accessed at –

http://wglasserbooks.com

or from Amazon at –

http://www.amazon.com/William-Glasser-Champion-Jim-Roy/dp/193444247X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410617000&sr=1-1&keywords=champion+of+choice

Signed copies of Champion of Choice can be accessed through me at –

jimroyglasserbio@gmail.com

Good News About Guilt

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During one of our interviews for the biography, Glasser said something that caught my ear. Maybe it was my religious upbringing that acted like Velcro to his comments on guilt, but whatever it was the comments have stuck with me ever since.

One of the girls Glasser worked with at the Ventura School seemed to have a breakthrough, and upon realizing she needed to start being truthful with those trying to help her, began revealing the details of her destructive past. She felt a lot of guilt and hoped to be forgiven.

The Ventura School for Girls, before it was moved to Ojai.

The Ventura School for Girls, before it was moved to Ojai.

Recalling this later, Glasser wrote in Reality Therapy (1965) that, “Instead of forgiving her, which used to be my natural impulse before I discovered how wrong it is therapeutically, I told her she was right to feel miserable and probably would continue to feel bad for the next few weeks. In reality therapy,” he continued, “it is important not to minimize guilt when it is deserved.”

From my own upbringing the idea of guilt had been a kind of bad word, something you needed to stay away from, and even to be cleansed from, so considering it from this matter of fact perspective was ear-catching. The following excerpt from Champion of Choice (2014) further explains his perspective.

When I questioned Glasser on that stance, he replied, “Yeh, yeh, I think guilt is a perfectly good emotion. I have nothing against guilt.” He added: “Well, the girls used to ask me this question, ‘Dr. Glasser, will you forgive me for the things I’ve done?’ You know they have a little religious background, some of them, and I said, ‘That’s not up to me to forgive you. I won’t hold what you’ve done against you, but in terms of forgiving that’s something you have to work out with your own self. I can’t forgive you. You did something wrong. You did it. The best way, if you’ve done something wrong, is to stop doing it, and maybe even treat the people you wronged, if you treated people wrong, better. That’s my advice, but that again up to you.’”

But if someone, like a person may come into my private office and say, ‘I feel so guilty, and I don’t know why.’ I said, ‘What have you done wrong?’ And that came as a new concept. Guilt without sin is a very common concept among people. It’s like you carry around the sin of the world or something like that. I said, ‘Well, if you can tell me something you’ve done really wrong, then I could certainly appreciate that you feel guilty about it, and I think that’s good. The guilt will prevent you from doing it again. But if you’re all upset and worked up and you’ve done nothing wrong, then I have no interest in it. It’s up to you.’”   pg. 111

Guilt is a huge factor when it comes to mental health. Not dealing with guilt effectively leads to a poor self-concept, broken relationships, and often a series of trips to a counselor or therapist. Religion is supposed to help us deal with guilt, but unfortunately, religion often does the opposite.

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Thanks to a tip from a friend I was alerted to the work of Dr. Brene Brown, who does research on shame and guilt. In her book, Daring Greatly (2012), Brown states that “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists—it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither.”

Shame is a foreboding sense of unworthiness that is powered by the belief that, at the core of who I am as a person, “I am bad.” Guilt, on the other hand, has to do with a specific behavior or mistake. Instead of thinking I am bad, our self-talk would say that “I did something bad.” Interestingly, while shame leads toward self-protection, blaming others, and rationalizing our imperfections, guilt can prod us toward apologizing and changing a behavior.

Glasser alerted me to the idea that guilt can be useful and serves a purpose when it 1) causes us to stay aligned with our deeply held values, and 2) helps us stay connected to others. Brown seems to view guilt in the same way, that it can be a healthy part of our lives, but emphasizes how shame is different altogether from guilt. Shame causes us to isolate rather than reach out, to become silent rather than communicate openly, and to wrap ourselves in aloneness rather than foster intimacy with those who are important to us.

It might be hard to believe there is good news in guilt, but apparently there is.

===============

Now priced at $18.51 on Amazon; 21 reviews have been submitted.

Now priced at $18.51 on Amazon; 21 reviews have been submitted.

The eBook version can be accessed at –

https://www.zeigtucker.com/product/william-glasser-champion-of-choice-ebook/

The paperback version can be accessed at –

http://wglasserbooks.com

or from Amazon at –

http://www.amazon.com/William-Glasser-Champion-Jim-Roy/dp/193444247X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410617000&sr=1-1&keywords=champion+of+choice

Signed copies of Champion of Choice can be accessed through me at –

jimroyglasserbio@gmail.com

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