Mike started us by saying that he had been having a clear out of “stuff”. He finds that there’s no point in keeping something if he hasn’t been using it for a year. This got us onto the emotional bonds we attach to objects and our strong tendency to store many objects rather than face the fact that we’ll rarely if ever use them. Of course, it’s also good to keep some objects that have sentimental value as reminders of people we care about or important events. There are also principles such as feeling we shouldn’t waste stuff or a certainty that it might be valuable one day. We might get a sense of security from having lots of “stuff” – the stuff we collect varies (e.g., more men accumulate tools and more women go for articles of clothing).
Given that we differ in the factors that influence our attachments to objects, it is hardly surprising that most couples differ on the degree of they hold onto stuff and the type of stuff that they hold onto. So, most couples have differing preferences which can create conflicts. Though these conflicts might be inevitable, the way forward is to find a balance or compromise that feels acceptable enough to each partner.
Resolving the conflict can also be helpful because it helps us review the reasons why we are holding onto things. For example, we might be holding onto something because we’re holding onto the past. That is good sometimes, but holding onto the past can stop us enjoying our future (e.g., holding onto bashed or ugly furniture that frustratingly clutters space – downsizing can be liberating and enjoyable).
Mike also said he’d discovered that he had a negative view of coloured people. He said that he didn’t like having that negative bias, so he has been doing some voluntary work on an ethnic integration project. This seems to be working for him. We all appreciated his honesty and admired his determination to change this particular automatic negative response to people with a different colour. I said that we are subject to many biases and prejudices. We all pick up some biases as we grow up. There’s a body of research looking into these automatic or stereotypic prejudices. In fact, there is a university website that tests some of those biases. Why not check it out? The link to it is: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
Put it into the Google search box and you can test whether you’re biased against men or women, coloured people, gay people etc.
Using this type of test, some studies have found that some coloured people are actually biased against their ethnic group, favouring white people. Some people with a disability have biases or prejudices about disability. I have met people, especially early on after an injury, who are biased against those that have disabilities. If you’re interested find out if you have that bias, the above university website has a test that will allow you to test yourself. Lynne thought that she probably wasn’t biased against disabilities, Rob and Mike didn’t say one way or another.
As Mike’s finding with the colour bias, it’s possible to erode the bias against disabilities. Indeed, I have found that people can learn to do that – and they value themselves more once they have done it.
Rob told us that he had been waking up with blood coming out of his mouth and his GP thought there was a good chance he had cancer. Fortunately, further investigation found no evidence of cancer – what a relief! However, since that scare he’s been having panic reactions. So, after a bit of exploration, Rob and I agreed to meet to work on how he can overcome his anxiety reactions. We have previously worked on his anxiety in the past so I think we’ll probably be reasonably successful in managing/reducing this panic response.
The next meeting will be at 1.15pm on Monday 12th June 2017 in Llewellyn Hall, Swansea Road, SA4 9AQ (Take the Gorseinon exit from Junction 47 of the M4, turn first left at the next roundabout, and Llewellyn Hall is almost on the immediate left, next to the church).