Archives for November, 2010
While many will sit down on Thursday to share some version of the traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, they may well be thankful, but they may not be happy. John Lennon tells us that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” The holidays may come each year at a predictable time, but loss, illness, hardship and war have a terrible sense of timing. Regardless of what you see in the media, read in the cards or assume is true about others, lots of folks are carrying emotional pain as they step into the Holidays.
Recently someone asked me this question and while the topic may not seem “politically correct” as we usher into the holiday shopping season, it is an important one to consider. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday intensify and legitimize the extremes of shopping for most shoppers, obscuring it in those who actually struggle. The compulsive buying of Shopaholics, however, is not seasonal. How do you know if you are a Shopaholic? Ask yourself these questions: Are you preoccupied with shopping or spending? Is your shopping excessive (200 watches, 400 pairs of shoes)? Is your shopping inappropriate (items that you don’t need)? Is your shopping uncontrolled (spending money you know you don’t have)? Do you typically return, give away, or not use items you have purchased? Has your shopping become so time consuming that it jeopardizes your job, family, or pursuit of other life experiences? Does shopping leave you feeling upset, guilty or ashamed? Has shopping led to serious financial or legal problems? Has shopping caused you to lose a relationship?
Excited at 24 to have arrived in New York to begin her new job, Rose’s welcome was a brutal one. Taking an early morning jog in a nearby park within her first week, she was pushed from behind, slammed against the ground, groped and likely would have been raped had a car not pulled into the empty parking lot, and on approaching begun beeping, scaring off her attacker. As Rose would later describe to me, she could never have stayed in New York had it not been for Murphy, her 3 year old Jack Russell and precious companion. The police, new neighbors and concerned family all stepped up to support her, but it was cuddling with Murphy that would calm her physical shaking and lower her startle response to every sound. Intuitively staying by her side no matter what she did, Murphy was the “familiar network of support” that fosters physical and emotional safety in the acute stage of trauma. Together they would sleep with the lights on those first nights. Going out together in the following weeks, Rose and Murphy would walk past her fears and reclaim her new neighborhood.
A recent study reported in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that young couples are actually better than long-term partners at knowing each other’s preferences. In this study of 38 young couples aged 19 to 32 and 20 older couples aged 62 to 78; the older couples had far more difficulty correctly predicting their partners’ food preferences. Adding to this counterintuitive finding is the fact that the older couples actually expressed more confidence in “knowing” their partners than the younger couples and they actually knew less. Older couples also predicted that their partner’s preferences would be similar to theirs – they were wrong!!