Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Day 116 - Tube Test

I've decided being the family member of a soldier is a lot like being a tube of toothpaste. When the squeeze is on, whatever's inside-good or bad-is coming out!

Reading the 155th Family Readiness Group's chat room posts at least provides the comfort of knowing I'm not the only one who's in the grip of growth these days. Thank God, not everybody screams "Get Over It!" at the same time, although that's a pretty common motto.

Here's some great advice from author Alan Weiss for those times when you are legitimately angry-(a promise not kept, a dangerous behavior, a stubborn pet, etc.).

Immediately apply perspective. Is this life-threatening or
career-ending? If it isn't of that magnitude, then put the incident
in the proper light.

Act rapidly only if you can prevent further harm. If the behavior
is already past, then reflect on what action you should take.

Ask for insights. Go to a few people you trust who you know will
provide candid feedback, and see if there is a commonality or pattern to their advice.

Don't beat yourself up. You're probably not to blame and, even if
you could have prevented the problem, it no longer matters. Deal with the present and future, not the past.

Don't generalize a specific. Failure to meet a commitment does
not equate to difficulty dealing with women, and a poorly chosen word doesn't mean that someone else is out to destroy your career. Separate isolated incidents from repetitive patterns of behavior.

Act logically, not emotionally. Cool down. Leave your ego out of
the decision making process. Take some time. Disagreements are usually about objective differences, but feuds comprise blind hatred caused by emotions run amok.

Learn to apologize, accept apologies, and GET OVER IT (emphasis mine),especially within the family. A thrice-divorced man once asked how my wife and I could have avoided arguing through 30+ years of marriage. His assumption was that, once you argue, things are never the same, which might just explain his personal divorce rate.

Create and/or identify your anger relief outlets.They may include
walking the dog, reading some favorite literature, going to the movies, or working on a hobby. The outlet will channel energy and calm you. (Not recommended: driving, performing surgery, contact sports, or running heavy equipment.)

Look for a positive. Can you be seen as a peace-keeper or a problem
solver? Are you now able to raise an issue that heretofore was off-limits? Can you alleviate some stress? There usually is some silver lining.

Learn something. How can you avoid being in the same position of
causing anger and pain? What's the gift you've been given in terms of preventing this from happening to you or someone else again?

A free monthly newsletter about balancing life, work, and relationships based on the books and popular workshops conducted by Alan Weiss, Ph.D. This excerpt from No. 69, May 2005.

Past copies are archived on his web site:

Copyright 2005 Alan Weiss. All rights reserved.
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