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Monday, May 3, 2010

What a cute white elephant in the corner!


I hope the title of the article made you smile, but also that you understand the idea of a white elephant in the corner. I would explain it here but I would much rather beat around the bush a while. ::laugh::

My writings are usually based on something that has actually happened. A conversation or action by someone around me. Sometimes a small, innocent comment by someone can get my brain spinning and considering unusual possibilities so I will write about those as well.

Recently I had the opportunity for the white elephant in the corner, whom I usually see coming out of the corner of my eye, to walk right up and smack me to the floor with its trunk.
Of course, as is usually the case, I deserved it completely. I had been ignoring him/her so it came over and got my attention. And as is usual when that happens, it causes a paradigm shift. (Maybe a good new term would be a Paradigm Slap?).

Enough fun. What I'm talking about is ignoring the obvious problem.

For example let's say your SO doesn't quite seem to be treating you right lately. They aren't paying attention to you like they have in the past. Maybe they don't thank you for the little things anymore like cooking dinner or mowing the lawn. When you notice this you start paying closer attention and see even more things that just don't feel right. Feeling a bit depressed you call your best friend and lean on their shoulder a bit. As time goes by maybe you feel your relationship is faltering and start to feel like you can't communicate with your SO anymore. Maybe you even start feeling a bit resentful that things aren't going well.

STOP!

Look over in the corner. See the white elephant sitting there? It represents something you have ignored in this situation. Direct communication. Instead of letting your imagination start to run your relationship why not directly approach your SO and ask for a serious conversation to talk about what is going on? Instead of avoiding part of the perceived problem, your SO, approach them and the problem directly.

Not everyone avoids the white elephant. And not everyone avoids it in the same way. Even the above example isn't absolute. White elephants are everywhere. Cleaning up after our kids instead of teaching them to be neater, doing the work of a co-worker instead of confronting them, turning up the TV instead of knocking on the noisy neighbors door and telling them to quiet down.

The point I'm trying to get across here is that there is rarely only one way to approach a problem. And in relationships our avoidance and imagination often make the problem seem much worse. As simple as that sounds, seeing the white elephant in the corner is often quite difficult but in my experience once seen it shows me the path I need to take, or at least alternatives. And sometimes you know the elephant is there, you just can't see it clearly. Here are a few suggestions that may help;

-Talk to that friend whose shoulder I mentioned earlier. But instead tell them you have a situation you would like to resolve and can't seem to find your way. Ask them for alternative approaches to the problem rather than just sympathy.
-If the problem is with another person, approach them and ask for their help solving a problem. Let them know you are open to the possibility that you are the problem, or it isn't even a real problem just a perception.
-If the problem is with yourself, such as avoiding a difficult task, find your motivation. Maybe attach a reward to completion of the task. Something simple like giving yourself 30 minutes of reading a good book after cleaning the kitchen for example.
-Try writing down your feelings. Often if I write about a difficult problem or feeling I'm having I realize the root of the problem isn't where I thought it was at all.
-Ask for help here! Why not? Remain as anonymous as you like and ask for help here or on another forum. Just because you get advice doesn't mean you have to use it. And there are a lot of people online in many different places that have probably been in a situation similar to yours.

Sometimes ignoring the white elephant is a lot less fun than petting it and feeding it peanuts. And trust me, getting smacked by its trunk is never fun.

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