How do your environments affect you?

All things affect. Continuing with the seasonal theme of introspection and reevaluating our lives, it is essential to consider how the environments we expose ourselves to affect us. Environments include our home, neighborhood, workplace, relationship, friendships, and social arenas.

One of the stories that we tell ourselves is that we live in a vacuum and the environments we experience do not affect much. We can handle it. We are tough and resilient. We have good boundaries. The truth is that our environments have a huge effect on us and the quality of our lives. If we understood how much, we would likely be much more selective about what we expose ourselves to.

Environments either uplift us or tear us down. Truly uplifting environments are mutually beneficial in that everyone involved are uplifted. The best gauge is how you feel while you are in the environment. Another much is if you are supported to be yourself- regardless of what you are feeling or what mood you are in. Environments that affect us negatively lead to us becoming hardened, desensitized, cynical, sarcastic, anxious, or depressed.

We also tell ourselves that we are stuck with our existing environments. The reality is that all of our environments are a choice. They may not be immediately changeable. For instance, if we determine that our career exposes us to an environment that does not serve us, it may take a some time to shift that- but it still might be extremely worthwhile.

So it might be useful to consider how your environments are affecting you. Are they uplifting you? Are they serving you? If not, it may be time to make some different choices in 2010. There all kinds of environments and worlds to experience. Which ones do you choose?

8 comments (Add your own)

1. Catman wrote:
her mother's atinetton was so immensely dignifying, her expression so seamlessly encouraging, that you found yourself thinking clearly in her presence solved a problem. You felt good again (p15). Kline goes on to say that her mother achieved this level of listening by simply being there, being present, and by simply giving atinetton. This atinetton, according to Kline, was catalytic . This was reinforced by one of Kline's clients who once stated that the quality of a person's atinetton determines the quality of other people's thinking (p17). I actually took the time to give more focused atinetton to my 5 year old son today. He flipped his lid over something I had asked him to do. He then went off to calm down and bring his lid back down. After he returned he immediately carried out the task I had asked him to do. Once that was completed I immediately sat him down, closed the doors into the kitchen and discussed the incident with him. We both then went back to doing what we had been doing. The whole episode only lasted about 15 minutes but we turned a survive moment into a thrive moment and both learned from the experience. I felt that by giving more focused atinetton to my son, he was able to think about and verbalise how he would handle such an incident in the future. This idea is further supported by a quote on page 20 of Nancy KIine's book: create a particular environment and people will think for themselves. It's that simple .The reference in the introduction to the importance of incisive questions ties in well with our discussion on questions at the last weekend of the course. I like the following quote: of all the impediments to thinking, of which there are many, (these limiting) assumptions seemed to be the most deadly . We've already seen the importance of parking' assumptions in the Koemba model. I'm excited about the way everything from the course, the books and my experiences are tying in together.

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