“We all want the same things, for pretty much the same reasons”

This is a phrase I use from time to time, whenever I feel myself getting caught up in other people’s emotions or annoyed by their behavior.  I read it in an article on the subject, which essentially talked about having compassion for others- even when it might be hard to do so.  In a time marked by a seemingly never-ending stream of anger and hate, and when everyone feels not only entitled- but obligated to share his or her opinions, I find this kind of phrase really useful.

In my work with clients I sometimes refer to this as a grounding phrase.  This concept is nothing new, as I think a lot of people have mottos or mantras that they try to live by.  I call it a grounding phrase because it can do just that- bring us back to Earth, grounding us in the here and now or reminding us of what’s really important.  And I like this one in particular, because I find myself either spending too much time reading about ideas and stances I don’t particularly agree with, and feeling baffled about how anyone can think like that.  And further, I sometimes feel compelled to counter these with my own ideas or something that, in my mind, would prove them wrong.

But, of course, I know three things here: 1) this will never work, because people are invested in their ways of thinking and it would take a lot more than simple logic or even data to change their minds; 2) I have no more right than they do to share my own opinions and spread them wherever; and 3) we all want the same things, we just may have different ideas about how to get them.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes to mind here, which, if you’re not familiar with it, is a model discussing 5 levels of basic human needs.  My point is that as humans we all have these needs, even though our ideas about what they mean and how to achieve them may be vastly different.

This is not to oversimplify some important nuances- for example, some may believe that for them to be happy, they need transgendered people to be legally barred from using certain bathrooms.  Or others assert that you must believe in a certain religion- and only that religion- if you are to be happy or to live a life that is meaningful.  But this post is also not about politics- or religion, or any other hot button issue.  As another example, some people believe that buying things is the key to being happy, while others prefer to save all of the money that they can.  The point is that when we avoid getting swept up in our emotions and can successfully bring ourselves back to the important things about life, we’re much better off.

I understand that people feel differently about “inspirational quotes”.  Some love them, read them all of the time, post about them, or live by them- while others think they’re corny.  Whatever your position, I suggest you find at least one that resonates with you and that can serve as a reminder to you- about who you are, who you want to be, or what is important to you.  Keeping this in mind can help to keep you grounded, which is something we all need.

And as always, if this is something that’s really difficult for you, or if you find yourself often feeling angry, sad, or frustrated by others, you might find it helpful to talk to a professional like a psychologist.  Although this is serious, I actually bought a shirt a while back, seen here:

IfYouCantKeepCalmTalkToAPsychologist

image courtesy of: http://indulgy.com/post/NjHoQE5F3/did-you-want-to-talk-to-the-doctor-in-charg  

Very true statement indeed…  If you would like a referral, you can click here or here.

Take care!

Dr. Matthews

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About Dr. Jesse Matthews

I'm a private practice psychologist in Chester Springs, PA. I provide counseling and coaching services to people ages 12 and up. Specialties include: depression; addiction/substance abuse; relationships; anxiety; ADHD and behavioral issues; and Autism/Asperger's.
This entry was posted in For Professionals, For the Public, Helpful Resources, Psychological Concerns and Treatment, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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