Reality Check: The Upsides and Downsides of Filters

Even inanimate objects are not immune to the changes of time. My reminder of that came recently when I tried to listen to an old speech recorded on VHS tape.
Magnetic tapes deteriorate even when not used. Those words from long ago which I’m sure were inspirational are now garbled; barely intelligible.
As I can’t control further deterioration, I decided to write down as much of the speech as I could hear so I would at least preserve the message. I played and replayed the tape, but still could only make out bits and pieces. So I used audio software to try to make it clearer. Continue reading

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Reality Check: What makes a great day?

Do you believe that you can create the life you want to live?
Occasionally throughout the years, I’ve offered a workshop called “Creating the Life You Want to Live.” The title pretty much gives away my opinion on the question, doesn’t it?
It’s not that I believe that everyone has the opportunity to simply “create” a pie-in-the-sky perfect life. However, sometimes we have more choices available than we realize. Small decisions that we make every day ultimately influence whether we live a life that’s largely satisfying for us. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Commencement

It’s graduation season! Congratulations to all of the graduates who are about to embark on a new phase in your lives.
Perhaps this isn’t graduation time for you. Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve felt like you’ve had a significant accomplishment. In fact, just carrying on with regular life right now might seem challenging enough.
Regardless, today is as good a time as any to think about new beginnings; you might call it a commencement. What sentiments come up at commencement ceremonies?
Commencement is a great time to look at where we are, to appreciate the people who have supported and encouraged us along the way, and to focus on where we want to go. Continue reading

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Reality Check: When Kids Get Scared

Choice Theory and Reality Therapy has touched people all around the world. The pandemic has also touched people all over the world, mentally as well as physically. Understanding Choice Theory could be more helpful now than ever.
In Australia some years ago, psychologist and author Ivan Honey developed a helpful kit called Cars ‘R Us. Based on Choice Theory, it helps parents, teachers, and kids better understand themselves and others. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Tension

In his book, Counseling with Choice Theory, Dr. Wm. Glasser describes his first meeting with a guy he calls Jerry. When Jerry walked into Glasser’s office for their first session, he avoided walking on the lines in the carpet. Then Jerry straightened the pictures on Glasser’s office walls, and chose a more uncomfortable chair than the one that was obviously meant for him.
People use various labels to describe those types of actions. Labels aside, at the least, we’d likely see that behaviour as unusual and probably unhelpful for Jerry. This isn’t bringing joy to Jerry, nor is it helping him make and keep friends. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Doing the Hard Thing

“I don’t even know why I am doing this.”
My friend, who we’ll call Julie for this little story, had hit a rough spot on her way toward a goal that’s important to her.
Because I’m a loyal friend with a pretty good memory, I was able to remind Julie of why she was doing this. Julie had taken on this task because it is a step toward achieving a bigger goal. I just helped refresh her memory—to see that big picture again.
Then, it was ok. Julie regained perspective. She could see how small this current challenge is when put in the context of the big picture. She got a little help with the task and now she’s back on track; once again enthusiastic, reinvigorated, and closer to her goal. It’s all good.
Whenever we do something difficult, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll run into a rough patch along the way. To maintain perspective, it helps to keep our big goal in mind. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Goals and the Posts That Define Them

The Reality Therapy approach, as structured by Dr. Robert Wubbolding, starts with a fundamental question: “What do you want?”
For many, those wants include benefits for others. For example, I want career success for people I’ve worked with. There’s a troubled relationship that I’d like to see positively resolved for the kids. And I really want to see my friend’s cancer cured too, thank you.
Unfortunately, that list is of things over which I have no control. We do, however, have control over many of our wants, even when it’s not obvious to us. One helpful step toward figuring out our scope of control is to clearly define our wants.
For example, someone may say, “I want to be happy,” or “I want to be safe.” Those are understandable wants. However, what do they mean? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Connecting with others

Have you noticed changes in your relationships over these past few weeks? With the requirements and warnings to stay away from people—to literally isolate ourselves—we’re no longer getting together for in-person gatherings.
Perhaps you’re accustomed to dropping in for a quick visit with friends or family. Maybe you like to attend community events. That’s all off the table for now, and it could be for some time to come.
We also traditionally gather to mark significant changes in people’s lives: births, deaths, birthdays, graduations, weddings and more. All those gatherings signify turning points in people’s lives.
What do we do when we gather at those events? Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Value of Work

Work and workplaces have changed over the past weeks. Some changes are dramatic, with workplaces completely shut down. Other workplaces carry on with relatively minor changes. Whether it’s your work that’s affected, or it’s your experience as a consumer, I’m sure you’ve noticed the changes. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Adaptability and Optimism

A commentator on morning radio recently said, “The world needs a dose of optimism now.” Maybe that’s true. Optimism can help us turn around, look up, and find hope again.
Are you a natural optimist? Some people seem to be. They can respond to almost any event from a “glass half full” perspective and extract any possible positives from it.
For others, optimism doesn’t come so naturally. We have to really work at it to find an upside, especially for difficult events. We immediately see potential downsides—everything that can possibly go wrong. Risks just speak to us.
There are benefits, of course, to both outlooks. The cheerful optimists might forget to guard against dangers, while the pessimists can’t even see the sun shine without remembering that soon it will be nightfall. Continue reading

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