Something Fishy




What does ‘something fishy’ mean when you are not in the kitchen cooking fish?

In the Change Matters context it refers to something not being quite right, something that needs to be investigated or uncovered, something that isn’t quite jelling, is out of sync. Just like this illustration of a can.

Would you buy this can if you found it on the shelf of your local supermarket? No, I guess you wouldn’t. Nevertheless if you found this can in a practical joke store then your answer might be yes!

The difference in your responses is informed by the meaning or attribute and the context where the can is being displayed and offered for sale – after all a can is a can, it only has significance when we attribute something to it.

Last month we spoke about coping strategies, how they began and how sometimes when we get older they no longer work for us anymore. They become inappropriate and make our relationships unmanageable (The Monkey Concept – May 2010).

We also looked at some of the roles we play (Risking Exposure – May 2010).

One of the first steps in changing behaviour that is making our lives unmanageable is to name what it is that is doing all of this. At Change Matters we help you to identify and name this no longer useful coping strategy or attribute by using a mapping technique.

The process of uncovering this ‘something fishy’ aspect/attribute of yourself is done because unless you name your deeds and own them, you can’t let them go of them and change your behaviour. You will constantly be experiencing yourself, metaphorically speaking, as having a waft of ‘something fishy’ right under your nose.

What we have found at Change Matters is that not all the roles you play in your life are tainted with ‘something fishy’. You might not use the coping strategy of yelling and screaming to get what you want in your role as a technician at your work. In fact, your work colleagues have no clue that you use this strategy/attribute, but when you come home and slip into your role as boyfriend or girlfriend you become a ‘banshee’ of note towards your partner.

So the first thing you need to find out is in what roles do you ‘go ape’ or whatever else you do that causes strife, chaos and/or unmanageability in your life.

For those of you who live in Cape Town and who want to experience the full process of finding out how you can sort out this challenge, we are offering a brand new One Day Workshop. Go to our Upcoming Events for more details.

To get a taste of our One Day Workshop, try the following:

Get a large piece of paper. Draw a circle using a mug. Write down your coping strategy/attribute (that fishy thing, like yelling) in that circle. Get another large bowl and draw an outer circle. Divide this outer circle into categories such as:

  • Family
  • Social
  • Work
  • Play
  • Other

Write down your roles in each category. Be thorough; for example, under ‘Family’ include such roles as cousin and niece or nephew, under ‘Social’ include your roles as a learner at school as well as at other times of your life. Under ‘Work’ list all the jobs you have ever done and under ‘Play’, list all aspects such as being a musician or a surfer or whatever other hobbies and interests you have been involved in. The category ‘Other’ is for those of us who might already be working on ourselves such as member of a 12 Step group or member of psychotherapy group or member of a spiritual group.

Then using a different colour pen draw a line and link your coping strategy/attribute to whatever role you use this strategy/attribute in – and think about how it affects you and others who are on the receiving end of this.

This is the beginning; you will need to find out how this all comes together and how you can use it effectively by attending our One Day Workshop.