Tuesday, 22 September 2020

A Higher Lesson in Life Levels That Leads to a New Life

The last of these may surprise some, but those with children will know how endemic they are at this stage of life. Not only do the vast majority of us actively compare our parenting abilities with fellow parents but we're acutely aware of how our child(ren) are performing relative to their peers. This tends to be particularly true of the first child where we have no previous experience to fall back on. Dysfunction is a legacy that is easily passed on. If you don't want to hurt your children, get your own issues cleared up. The best gift you can give your children is an emotionally whole mother. The legacy of my family stopped when I decided to get help. I wanted to make sure that I didn't repeat any dysfunctional patterns with my own children. I am proud to say that I raised two emotionally healthy children. Although this takes a conscientious effort, it is fully possible to overcome the legacy of dysfunction. Many daughters of narcissistic mothers have successfully achieved this. Narcissistic Mothers and Sons Tony shares his Close Encounter However, if the world is sending you a very strong message that it won't pay for or does not otherwise need or want your passion, then fine. Accept that. There's a critical need for soccer in the world, but there's no need for me to play soccer. Still, the soccer matches I organized at Accenture were the highlight of my week. If it's not your dharma, it can still give you joy. Quadrant Three: Not Good at, Don't Love Do whatever you can to crawl out of this soul-sucking quadrant.

You will always have unpleasant chores, but they shouldn't be the biggest part of your life. If at all possible, you should work toward outsourcing the chores in this category. Hurt the pocket, save the mind. In the ensuing thirty years, Irma Amy Potter would produce 544 pieces of art, according to a ledger that tracked each piece. The entries are not dated, but they begin with the first wood carving in 1970 and end with the relief wood carving that was commissioned for the Delaware County courthouse in 1996. Anything Mom had crafted before the age of forty-two--the wall hangings, pastel pictures, quilts, or homemade dolls--were not included in this tally. Neither was the body of work she continued to produce between 1996 and her death in 2010. That includes countless pillows; Christmas stockings; I could not begin to guess how many additional pieces of art my mother produced in those last fourteen years of her life, or why she stopped keeping the log, but suffice it to say, my mother was a prolific artist in the second half of her life. Ironically, the valiant attempt to save her brain for that one last creation may have been the very thing that cut Mom's life short. Recuperating at home after completion of radiation treatment, she impatiently waited for her energy to return so she could begin the painting that existed only in her imagination. When my sister Joan stopped to check on her one late October day, she discovered Mom disoriented, confused, and too weak to go to the bathroom by herself. Often these comparisons are extremely valuable. If, for example, we discover that our child is significantly behind others of the same age in reaching key stages of development it may point to problems that are better dealt with sooner rather than later. Also, if our comparisons lead us to conclude that we're considerably stricter or more lenient than our fellow parents this could sensibly lead us to reassess our parenting style. Nevertheless, as with all comparisons, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Given how important our children are, it's very easy to make too many comparisons and worry overly about their outcomes. The comparisons themselves may also be unreasonable, such as comparing our perfectly able son or daughter with a child who is particularly gifted or one experiencing learning difficulties for instance. We might envy peers who appear to have exceptionally well-behaved children, possibly learning the wrong lessons about the `correct' way to parent.

While this area is hugely under-researched, there's no doubt that any of these situations can have profound consequences. In the last section we saw how parental favouritism creates behavioural and psychological problems in siblings and the same must logically apply to children whose caregiver(s) persistently tell them how badly or fantastically they're performing relative to their peers. Inappropriate comparisons may also affect the mental health of the parents themselves, making them feel as though they have `failed', while disagreements over child rearing techniques sometimes lead to relationship difficulties. On the day I was born, my mother didn't go to the hospital to deliver me; My NPD mother had two sons who she never saw as individual people. She saw and treated us only as extensions of herself and a means through which to satisfy her own wants and dreams. She planned our whole lives around that dream--and never bothered to consult the interested parties. It didn't matter how sad or upset it made us. We were here to live up to her illusion. Anything that came from us--true dreams and personalities--was deemed insignificant, made invisible and dismissed. My mother deluded herself into believing she was of high-class status. She often referred to people by some sort of caste classification. She'd often say things like so-and-so is low-class, and Only low-class people wear blue jeans. And remember, just because you don't like it doesn't mean nobody likes it. Can you work out a trade with a friend or colleague, where you take on each other's least favorite tasks? If you can't offload the chore, remember the lesson I learned at the ashram--every task is an essential organ. None is less important than the others, and none of us is too important to do any chore. If you think you're too good for something, you succumb to the worst egotistical impulses, and you devalue anyone who does that chore. When you're satisfied in your dharma, you can, without envy or ego, appreciate others who are good at another skill. I have great respect for people who can do Excel, I just don't want to do it myself.

When I encounter doctors or soldiers or people in any number of other careers, I think, That's extraordinary. It's amazing. But it's not me. She went downhill fast, likely having suffered a stroke. Within days, our beautiful, brave mother was gone. Having lost our father some twenty-five years before, we were thrust into the role of orphans, feeling every bit the part. We lamented the loss collectively and individually, staggered by the enormity of our grief. One sister confessed to rocking back and forth on her couch, sobbing into a pillow Mom had made. Another who'd visited our mother several times a week seemed completely bereft without the regular visits. From my youngest sister in her mid-forties to the oldest in her early sixties and the eight siblings in between, grief adversely affected our thinking patterns, muddling minds we believed were already experiencing glitches attributed to middle age: forgetting names, losing our keys, not being able to think of the right word. I remember talking to my sister Angie on the telephone one morning as I filled the washing machine in the basement. Later that same day, I stumbled around the house searching aimlessly for the ringing phone. I wondered what was wrong with my brain that I could lose a telephone I would later discover still in the basement. Marriage counsellors have estimated that parenting disputes contribute to about 20% of divorces in the West. There's an unusually strong consensus within the research community concerning the direction of the comparisons made by children in school and the effects they have. After reviewing more than a hundred relevant studies, five academics summarised the situation as follows. Such upward comparisons not only lead pupils to perform better but evoke negative affect and lower academic self-concept. Put another way, most students want to improve and attempt to do so by looking to those who have similar characteristics but are marginally `superior' to them in important respects. The evidence strongly indicates that the comparisons work - children generally do improve academically by comparing upward. But there's a catch.

The upward comparisons also lead students to feel worse about themselves, particularly - and ironically - with regard to their academic abilities. An important word in the quote above is `prefer'. The obvious question is what happens if the ideal target for academic comparisons simply doesn't exist or is too time-consuming to find? My mother surrounded herself with friends she considered to be high-class and other wealthy people, usually medical doctors. This extended to her choice of a husband. My father was a medical doctor. As that bolstered my mother's illusion, they married. But it became clear over time that it was a loveless marriage. They slept in different rooms and had separate lives. As for my brother and me, my mother tried to indoctrinate us and her friends into believing her illusion. As children, she would often tell my brother and me that we were royalty. Supposedly there was a distant cousin of an uncle of a grandfather in Spain who was a duke. She would tell us elaborate stories about this duke and his noble sacrifice to the church and crown. TRY THIS: IDENTIFY YOUR QUADRANT OF POTENTIAL You may have been doing this exercise in your head as you read about the Quadrants of Potential. Nonetheless, I want you to go through the exercise of acknowledging how close you are to living your dharma today. Do you like your job? Do you love your job? Are you good at your job? Do other people need and appreciate your work?

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