Sunday, October 19, 2008

Self-Actualization Within Dual-Career Families and the Healthy Need For Balance Or Stress Management

Dual-career relationships foster couples' abilities to self-actualize within multiple areas of their lives. Higher education, family responsibilities, child care, career, and improved capacity for intimacy are just some of the worthy pursuits that this lifestyle helps to foster. The obvious benefit of the additional income cannot be understated, especially within a society that places increased demands upon "keeping up with the Joneses."

The added stress, however, of organizing demanding schedules and child care can seem daunting. The ease with which one can "lose one's self" is also a potentially dangerous "workaholism" type of escapism. The insidious and consistent detachment of one's feelings through this type of escapism can dull valuable feelings, which can further and ultimately alienate the over-achiever from him or herself and others, leading to confusion, poor direction, and despair.

Balance is crucial, in order for the dual-career relationship to experience long-term success. Achieving a balance between family, work, and educational responsibilities is now becoming less of an ideal and more of a reality, for example, given the innovative learning opportunities that accredited online programs now provide. "Thinking outside the box" in similar, non-traditional ways is vital, in order to strike a healthy balance and mange stress within this multifaceted lifestyle.

Especially within a dual-career relationship, healthy choices, are the keys to striking a balance between one's physical, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual needs.
Numerous online self-help, meditative materials also exist that can afford helpful ways to manage stress and improve sleep. Timeless advise, like getting plenty of sleep, exercise, eating properly, and taking time to de-stress is even more important today than ever before.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Self-Esteem and the "Binocular Trick"

People naturally want their thoughts, feelings, and experiences to be consistent. If someone interviews for a job, for example, that pays them more than they thought that they would ever earn (even though they are capable of and deserving of the job), their thought that they are incapable is inconsistent with their experience of being offered the interview. Ultimately, they will likely feel very nervous about the interview. As a result of this anxiety and worry, they will not likely interview well. Therefore, they will likely be rejected for the job. This rejection can be internalized as "proof" that they are undeserving, thereby added to their lower sense of self and self-esteem.

Immediately after their aforementioned rejection, their initial anxiety will likely ease, because their experience (getting rejected) is now consistent with their untrue thought (that they are not deserving). Nonetheless, they will likely continue to feel inferior and earn less money. The true reality, however, is that they were and are capable. As they understand this truth (no matter the etiology of the original belief) both in how he/she thinks and feels about themself, they will perform much better in the future. This improved performance (based upon this change in perception and healthy understanding) will likely lead to ongoing approval and acceptance. This positive experience will likely lead to an overall improved sense of self, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-image.

Another common "cognitive distortion," as described by Burns, that influences self-esteem is known as the "binocular trick." If one has ever looked into a pair of binoculars the wrong way, everything looks far away. In essence, people sometimes use this phenomenon upon themselves, while comparing themselves with others. One might look at one's own accomplishments as if through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. Conversely, one may examine another's accomplishments as if through the right way through the same binoculars. When looking at one's shortcomings, there may be a tendency to examine these deficits as if looking at them properly though binoculars. On the other hand, others' shortcomings are examined in the opposite way.

Since most publicly embellish personal strengths, while minimizing weaknesses, the etiology of this discrepancy becomes self-evident. When comparing out, it is ultimately vital to remember that our self-knowledge far exceeds our understanding of others. This imbalanced perspective creates an illusion that can be overcome, therefore, by means of an awareness of the role of the binocular trick and the realization that everyone has his or her own set of shortcomings and strengths.

The "Power of Self-Talk" (DOC file)