Reality Check: Resources and Resourcefulness

Picture yourself stranded on a desert island (or an island off Nova Scotia.) As you are “stranded,” it’s implied that you didn’t intend to be in this situation and it’s definitely not what you want.
Now what do you do? You have choices, of course.
One choice would be to sit on the shore and cry. Some of us might start with that, even if only for a few minutes.
You could choose to be grateful for the positive aspects that you can find in the situation. Perhaps you’ve landed uninjured. The island doesn’t have poisonous snakes, spiders or other predators. Even in this gloomy situation, there can still be plenty to be grateful for when you look for the positive elements.
Taking that further, you could choose to perceive this as an unexpected vacation! At last, solitude! I imagine most of us would view that response as absurd. However, it is a perception that you could choose if you want to. That perspective may even work well for a while. That is, until you get hungry, thirsty, sunburned, cold, hot, or the mosquitos find you. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Our Best Selves

What comes to your mind when I refer to our best selves?
Is our best self when we “put our best foot forward?” Perhaps so. However, if putting our best foot forward is only to make a good impression—essentially, to put on a show for someone—then that doesn’t necessarily correspond to our genuine best self.
From my perspective, our best self emerges when we are the best person we can be. Because we all have different gifts and characteristics, my best self could be quite different from your best self. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Building Purpose

Some building materials are in scarce supply at the moment. Rumour has it that’s because there are a lot of home improvement projects going on. With schedules disrupted during the pandemic, it seems like everyone and their dog is using this time to build. This strikes me as a constructive response, so to speak.
Farther afield, you may have observed that there is a lot of anger and resentment in some groups of society. There are also plenty of smart people talking about why this is, whose fault it is, and what “we” can do about it.
Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory suggests that there are five basic human needs. I return to this idea over and over, as it helps me understand so much about human behaviour. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Off the Rails?

The opportunity to spend time with our thoughts can be marvellous. It’s a chance to examine our lives and our relationships. We can think about what we want and where we want to go. We could look at the choices we’ve been making, and whether they are leading us toward where we want to go or whether we might want to make some changes.
On the other hand, the opportunity to spend time in introspection can also be upsetting. We might spend our time ruminating about past difficulties and resentments. Maybe we are filled with fearful thoughts about the future and we envision our prospects and situations pessimistically.
Life is full of those double-edged swords, isn’t it? Continue reading

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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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