Today we looked at what compliments meant to people. We broke the discussion into four key points;
How do you find giving compliments?
How do you find receiving compliments?
What are the rules/beliefs you attach to giving and receiving compliments?
Is there any difference between confidence and arrogance?
Group members did not seem to have too much of a problem in giving others compliments.
What was a big challenge for them was being able to accept compliments. Receiving compliments made them feel slightly awkward and uncomfortable. Some of the examples and beliefs for this were;
“I find compliments hard to believe due to my low sense of self-worth”
“They don’t really mean it and are just being nice”
” They are just sweetening me up as they want something”
” They will find out the real me and not like it”
” They are doing this as a joke at my expense”
“I don’t want people to think I’m a big head”
We then finally discussed whether local culture plays a part in these beliefs. In the U.K. we can tend to be very self-depreciating finding it hard to big ourselves up for fear of ridicule from others. Is it a confidence thing and we don’t wan’t to be seen as arrogant? There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. so where is the fine line? Below is a snippet of an interesting article from Dr Leisha Bailey on this
*Arrogant people build themselves up by putting others down – to “win”. Buddhism asserts that arrogance is to judge one’s self-worth by comparison with others. Arrogant people feel good about themselves only through affirming their superiority to others. Genuinely confident people feel great about themselves without comparing themselves with others. Arrogant people tend to bluff their way to success and often have difficulty listening to others. This person will avoid risks or blame others or circumstances if things do not work out as expected*
*Confidence is not a belief that one is always right or a sense of being unable to fail. True confidence welcomes alternative perspectives and opinions. A confident person rarely will be found lecturing or preaching to others on how they are wrong. Believing you are always right and unable to accept influence from others can make one obnoxious to be around. Confidence is being willing to be wrong and knowing you’ll be OK if you are. A truly self-confident person is able to show vulnerability and admit to past mistakes.*
In this session we decided to have a look at our own unconscious biases and prejudice. It can be very easy to be judgmental of other peoples prejudice (Yes! I know that’s ironic). It can be easy to get self-righteous about the prejudice of others without being aware of our own as per a spectacular piece of graffiti which used to grace a bridge in Edinburgh saying “Go Home Bigots”. And here I am self-righteously judging their prejudice, and so it goes on!
We looked at the ‘Unconscious Prejudice Questionnaire’ which we did notice some of the language maybe had an unconscious prejudice of it’s own. People quietly reflected upon areas where they maybe did have a bias, we noticed that sometimes we are afraid to admit this. But people did share biases and we noticed that often these were connected to personal experience.
Everyone has implicit biases and prejudice, these come from family upbringing, cultural norms, media portrayal of certain groups and about people groups with whom we are not familiar or not educated about-ignorance is not always bliss, nor is it helpful. Businesses, recruitment and community suffer when we discriminate due to unconscious bias, we miss out on skill, diversity and different perspectives. As is often the case in our conclusion, keeping an open mind, being open to be educated and as we did in this session and be honest about the thoughts you are uncomfortable with.
Group members talked about who their favourite movie characters were and why. They agreed that fictional characters provides them a feeling of escapism from their everyday lives. Movie characters can be form part of our public consciousenss in the same way as pieces of music do.
Imagining how your movie character would deal with someone who has bullied you can help inspire you with a little bit more strength. Equally a very anxious child can imagine having superhero powers like Spiderman to keep them safe.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Mental Health
The life worth living group met today where the discussion
surrounded around intrusive thoughts, OCD and mental health concerns more
widely. As always it was a lively, constructive and considered sharing of our
own lived experiences and/or those of others.
The first question posed was:
What is the
definition of Intrusive thoughts and how might they impact on someone?
It was agreed that whilst intrusive thoughts are almost hard
wired into all of us, they are mostly dismissed or filtered out so we don’t
even notice them. However when someone is affected by a Mental Health condition
these can become a major problem, and are chiefly experienced by people with
OCD, Depression, Anxiety, Post Natal
Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Some examples given on intrusive thoughts were:
Over analysing our responsibilities and
exaggerating the impact were we to fail.
Catastrophizing: always imagining the worst
Unwanted inappropriate sudden thoughts such as
kissing or punching someone when that is entirely against our actual wishes,
but driven by a false anxiety alarm.
Where we recognise how vital our care is such
for a child, we might imagine harmful thoughts when all we are really focused
on is care and protection for them.
Sometimes such thoughts lead to compulsive behaviours which
may initially seem to offer comfort, but end up making things much worse. These
can include excessive checking of locks and appliances to avoid danger or harm
to others, and ideas of magical thinking, where the use or avoidance of certain
numbers or tasks can either prevent or cause damage to loved ones. People who
experience such thoughts know deep down that they are irrational and untrue, but
shame and stigma can make these feel very real.
Depending on the extent of the problems there are a variety
of treatments available such as:
Exposure Therapy: Gradual exposure to
acclimatise to and overcome particular fears, e.g. contamination or social
anxiety in busy public places.
Personal Insight to learn how to diffuse
Shared experiences and humour: There can be much
stigma to any mental health condition but possibly more so with less understood
and frightening conditions like OCD. Whilst sharing these experiences can be
daunting, if able to do so, using humour and openness, it can serve to diffuse
the power of negative thoughts and help affirm how we’re all affected by mental
health and there’s no place for shame or blame.
This group regularly cite music and the arts as an important therapeutic tool for their well-being. Today we wanted to continue this musical theme in a more light-hearted way and look at music and performances which made us chuckle. As musical tastes are totally subjective this can lead to some finding certain songs to be funny that were not necessarily intended to be so.
Today’s group focussed on how people deal with the benefit system and more specifically, ‘Work Capability Assessment’ interviews. At group sessions we often hear of how the current system invokes strong feelings of anxiety and sheer terror. With this in mind we thought it would be good to have a look at the different processes involved and the options people have.
Below is an example of the different stages involved upon receiving assessment letter;
Attend ‘Work Capability Assessment’ interview
You receive a letter from the DWP* informing you that you are not being awarded benefit.
You disagree with their decision so respond by sending a ‘Mandatory consideration letter’ to inform the DWP* of your reasons for disagreeing with their decision to see if they will reconsider.
If the response from the DWP* is that they are upholding their original decision you then have the option to appeal it and have your case taken to at an independent tribunal.
If you are feeling anxious it is so important to seek support.
Group members felt that having someone to help support them in filling in forms was extremely beneficial and relievied some of their anxiety. With no support it can literally feel like a real life or death situation with the looming uncertainty of having no income to survive. That is why it is so useful to have supportive people around you to help provide some hope for your future.
Below is a small snap shot of how we used with Russian dolls to help us develop a better understand the dynamics of our ‘Inner child’
1. Inside the grown-up deep inside is the child just like these Russian dolls. You might feel it a positive when you are playing with children. For example I feel it while playing football with my young nephews.
2. You might feel it in a negative way if you are waiting to go in for formal appointment and you start to feel as if you did when you were called to the headmaster’s office. (Or maybe you were all good kids and were never sent to the headmaster’s office!)
3. (Using an elastic band) Like this band we are all big and stretched out, but certain events, circumstances or people could make us feel small again.
4. (Imagining all our younger selves) Thinking about when you were at primary school what 3 words would you use to describe the wee person you were then?
5. (Pick an age between 5-10 years old) – Thinking about you at the age you have chosen we will ask a few questions if that is OK to that part of you, be it 5 or 7 or 10 years old- whatever age you have picked. – Think about who was your teacher, your favourite toy or who were your friends then. Ok so we are all focused in on an age and who we were then. QUESTIONS- If that child had something to say, to be heard what might it say? What did it need? What would you like to say to it? How might you soothe it? (Note: Demonstrate by putting the little one in the big one.
6. We end by putting all the dolls back inside each other so there is just one big one. It demonstrates we are back in our adult place.