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Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Deadly Trap of Demonization

Hey All - believe it or not, it's really spring!

Through my travels through social networking, I've joined a few groups that provide support to people recovering from abusive relationships.  Out of respect for those members, I won't reveal their names, but they are there, and hopefully some of their members will decide to like the Facebook page.

As I read the entries on this new page, I empathize wholeheartedly with what these folks have seen.  My heart goes out to how they have suffered, or continue to suffer.  However, it seems that telling the tales of woe is only one part of what's needed.  The other part is to heal and move forward.

At the beginning of this year, when I found Emotional Maturity and incorporated it into this blog, I started to realize that just bashing, crashing, and demonizing is not enough.  No, we can't pretend this didn't happen.  No, we can't pretend that what they've done is all our fault.  And no, we can't say that it was all our imagination when they've hurt us.

However, we can't just make their fault and misdeeds a crutch for everything.  At some point, we've got to stop the anger, end the grudges, and dispose of our ill will.

Many of those who do us wrong will not be apologetic or own up to their actions.  As Isaiah Hankel says, we cannot expect a confession from such people - all we'll get is an excuse, a denial, a reminder that we're not perfect either, or maybe a half-assed apology.  Accordingly, expecting to squeeze blood from a stone, or resorting to any other type of violence, is a waste.

Once we accept that they will not grow halos and wings, we have to stop cursing them for their horns and pitchforks.  We don't have to call it forgiveness - they may have caused harm that forgiveness won't resolve.  But we can call it dismissal or release.

We can censor them from our thoughts and conversations.  We can leave their scenes on the cutting room floor.  We can remove their likenesses from our internal Hall of Fame, and extend provide them with one of those tiny memorial plaques people screw onto park benches that nobody else notices.

For any of those group members who can read this, I feel you.  I've been done to, done wrong, rejected, dejected, and neglected almost as much as you have, though I won't minimize your pain or make it a competition.  I've also committed the erroneous error of holding onto those past wrongs for longer than necessary.  No matter how wrong they were, or how evil they may still be, believe me when I say that holding grudges against them doesn't cure it.  Instead, it eats away at you!

Even worse than that?  It lets them off the hook.  Yes, I know, that's shocking, but you're making something happen that's the exact opposite of what you want - you are letting them off the hook when you hold grudges against them.  There comes a time when our feelings about them stop being their fault and start becoming ours.  We are assuming liability for their fault!  We are bailing them out!  We are becoming just as bad as they are, because we emulate what we hate!!!!!!

You sure you want to give them that gift?  Or would you rather reduce them to the unpleasantness of a bad dream?

That's what I thought.

For those who prefer spiritual comfort for this effort, rest assured:  There's a Lady Named Karma.  She's not impressed with bad boys, and She's not friendly with mean girls.  She has the authority to pass judgment that we lack, and She has much better tools at Her disposal than we do.

Stop holding on to anger at our tormentors, and seeking revenge against our rivals.  Instead, direct that energy towards continuous life improvement, as expected by Our Father G-D.  Let Our Mother G-S Karma handle what the rest of them deserve.




Questions, comments, concerns?  Feel free to private message me.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Responses and Responsibility

Hey All - Hope we're all staying warm.

Like the title?  Wasn't thinking Jane Austen, but it just sort of happened.

To be honest, it's more than a little bit annoying to think that when someone else does something wrong to us, we still bear even a hint of responsibility.  Many times when people say this, it's because (a) they're the ones who did us wrong and they don't feel like owning it; (b) someone is trying to manipulate you; or (c) "they like to see you squirm."

When they're wrong, they're wrong, there's no denying that.  But that's not the end of the story.  Believe it or not, how we respond or react isn't exactly their fault.  They're not telling us what to say or how to say it - we are.

We need brevity.  As I've stated before, whatever negative emotion you're feeling about someone else must be felt for a short period of time.  It doesn't have to be only two seconds and then announce to everyone "It Doesn't Bother Meeee-eeeee" - that's just showing off.  But whether it's a few minutes or less than an hour, you must train yourself to stop it.  It's not helping you the longer it's there.  If you can't use it constructively, then you can't keep it around long.
    (1)  Can you do something about it?  Aim it that way, right now!!
    (2)  Can you not do something about it?  Get rid of it, right now!!

We need clarity.  We have to present a basic cost/benefit analysis as to whether the negative emotions are honestly worth it.  If they can't bring about a workable result, then turn them off.

We need faith.  We have to donate our hurt feelings, our grudges, our rage/fury/hatred and dislike of others up to the only One who can really judge them.  I wish I had a scorecard for you, as well as pie-charts and graphs to tell you how often it happens, but I don't.  Nevertheless, I've seen this Lady go to work and go to town on people who've done my wrong, and she's been known to pack a whallop on them.  So remember:

  • There's A Lady Named Karma.  She's not attracted to bad boys and She doesn't hang with mean girls.
  • She seeks justice and consequences in all things, especially when it can't happen due to others' misdeeds.
  • She has much better tools for vengeance at Her disposal, and She won't screw up the job the way you or I might.
That doesn't mean you just let things happen when you do have the opportunity to stop them.  There is a Father G-D above us who will remind us, "This is your job, not Mine."  But there is also a Mother G-SS who can handle everything that we can't.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

Less Blame, More Respect

Hey All!  Once again, the weather is messing with us, running hot and cold.

We live in a world with people who just aren't perfect.  They make mistakes, they don't think things through, they insult (sometimes with every intention of doing so), and sometimes they just give us reasons to dislike them.

Although it doesn't always seem like it, they are still human.  Flesh and blood, heart and soul, faces and names.  We don't have to pretend to like them when we don't, and it's wrong to pretend that they're our friends when they aren't.  We also don't have to turn a blind eye to our boundaries when they are violated.  But hating them is not the answer either.

There are times we have to be honest with them about why what they do is not acceptable to us.  And those times are limited.  There is no need to turn a statement into a rant or a lecture.  Not only would it be an in-your-face attack against them that might not be warranted, but spending more time than necessary disparaging them (a) doesn't change them; and (b) makes us worse.

As one of my influences, Dr. Isaiah Hankel, has said, it doesn't do us any good to pursue a confession from others.  Chances are better than likely that (a) the other folks already know what they did wrong, and don't feel the need to fall on their sword over it; or (b) they think they've done absolutely nothing wrong, and don't owe you anything.  All we're ever going to get out of these folks is (i) a half-assed confession; (ii) an excuse; or (iii) a counter-attack because it's just as easy for them to judge us as it is for us to judge them.  We don't need a confession if we already know what they did, and we don't have to argue for them to find themselves in the wrong if we already think they are.

Instead, it is better for us to simply understand that they either have reasons for what they do, or they're simply misinformed, and simply leave them as they are.  No, that does not mean we give them license to abuse us.  And no, that does not mean that we should give them unlimited free passes without taking actions necessary to protect ourselves.  What it does mean is that it's not our job to forever point fingers at them, demonizing them as undesirables and hating them as untouchables.  It simply doesn't help us to continue doing that.  There is far more strength of character to take only actions that are necessary, without demanding that they become more like us, and without any malice or hatred involved.

If we can remain unflappable around them, without letting them get under or skin, and without allowing them to tempt us into hating, judging, or demonizing them, we win.  Plain and simple.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Limitations and Percentages

Hey All - a rainy Sunday afternoon is about to become a rainy Sunday evening.

Today I finally made it official and retitled this page.  It's not as short and snappy as the last one, but it's more real, more inclusive, and far more constructive.

I feel a little bit like someone who's been "born again" or "saved," but now that I've figured out how to practice emotional maturity, I feel like a new man.  I feel happier, calmer, and more able to accept new thoughts and information.  I can accept criticism or disagreement without getting amped up and raging out.  And most importantly, I can realize that there are people in this life who do not conduct themselves the way I'd prefer, but that instead of becoming enraged and infuriated like some dopey sitcom character, I can either accept them despite these objections, or reject them because of these objections with no second thoughts.

For many of you reading this, it might be old hat to you.  And it should be.  Therefore, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog, because you might have most of it figured out already.

However, I'm pretty darn sure that there are still many of you out there, like me, who did not have such a strong command of these things.  Some of you might be young, still going through school, unsure about what direction to take and a little bit scared, and having trouble coping with life's unpleasantness.  Maybe we can help each other out.

Until recently, I exhorted all the Bold Betas out there to be Bulletproof, and I threw a lot of shame and disapproval at all the alpholes.  In doing so, I made a few errors.
(1) I negated those who might be tough, badass, alpha types who are not seeking to harm those who weren't.  We live in a world where we need police, soldiers, firefighters, rescue squads, sailors, marines, special forces, and heavy physical labor.  I am nobody to say that those men and women who perform those jobs are no good.
(2) I overlooked the truth that simply being a Beta didn't insulate someone from being just as judgmental, just as hurtful, just as arrogant, and just as brutal as any of the alpholes on their worst day.

When we demonize, we obliterate anything good about someone, and when we deify, we place someone on a pedestal that they don't deserve.  To the extent I've been erroneous to do this, it's stopping now.

When we are emotionally mature, we understand that nobody is perfect, but also that nobody is evil.  That doesn't mean we're going to go out of our way to hang out with people we don't like and pretend to be their friends.  But it does mean that we should not think that this person can do no wrong, and that this person can do no right.  That way, we do not respond to people with childlike expressions of wonder and worship, or with infantile forms of name-calling and belittling.

Instead, we acknowledge everyone else has degrees and percentages.  If they score high on what we find acceptable, even leaving a certain amount of "room for error," we welcome them into our lives and bestow friendship and respect on them.  If they score low, we kindly and politely place them on the other side of our boundaries.

In understanding that there is no all-or-nothing situation here, I'm minimizing the use of the labels and concentrating instead on the real way to eliminate bullying, sexism, and racism - good old fashioned Emotional Maturity.  I hope you'll continue to show me support for this along the way.




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Filter

Good Evening, Good Evening, Friends And Neighbors.

With this New Year, we've got a new attitude, a new philosophy, and possibly a new name.  And the best way to have that work is to aim at the political situation that has arisen out of the fact that we have a new President.

Now many of you might have seen posts where I demonstrated what side of the fence I'm on.  That's not changing anytime soon, and since this is America, I have every right to make that choice.  However, sometimes those choices must be tempered by wisdom and respect.

If I see someone else posting about the other side online, or overhear what they believe in real life, that's not my cue.  It's not my time to invite myself into their conversation and dazzle them with my perceived superiority.  The fact that they have a message that is the opposite of yours does not mean a confrontation needs to begin.  To behave otherwise is the reason why we have had racism, rape culture, and bullying - way too many people think having a mouth is more important than having respect for others.

So, while I have my preferences and my allegiance, you won't see me forcing them on other people.  I lack the authority to save or damn any soul in this realm, and I won't pretend I do.  To the extent I ever gave anyone that impression, that's a thing of the past.

I have seen those whose ego dwarfs their empathy, and see the introduction of this issue as a license to start an attack where an attack is not warranted.  Call it what you want, but I'm done engaging them.  As distasteful as I find it, and as much as I condemn that behavior, responding in kind doesn't stop them.  The only way to stop folks like that is to stop them.

In the realm of social media, we have the luxury of ending communications with them.  Our more high-conflict neighbors love to call that cowardice, wimping out, etc.  When they trot out those buzzwords, I hear them say "Wait a minute - you're not supposed to shut down my spewing!  You're supposed to let me have the upper hand, not have the upper hand for yourself!  You're not supposed to operate from a position of strength, only I am!"  It's not that different from a spoiled child not getting their way.

So, Friends and Neighbors, I invite you to elevate yourselves.  Respect the differences of opinions.  It may or may not be an opportunity to understand, if you're so inclined.  There is no reason to start more conflict, more drama, or more disrespect.  And if they try to do likewise to you, simply shut them down.  They want you to escalate it, they want your reactions, and they want to have more and more excuses to remind us that not everyone was raised like we were.

Thing is, they're proud of that.  We're not.




Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Year of Emotional Maturity

Good Afternoon, Friends and Neighbors!

A nice little run sweated the alcohol out of my system, and the NFL has the last regular-season games of the season.  So where does that leave you and me?

(1) Constantly Seeking Improvement.
Yes, it's a day off from most jobs, but that doesn't mean from all work.  Every day we have is an opportunity to learn from our earlier choices, to improve from our earlier state, and to do things we've never done before.

(2) Reserving Alone Time.
Our high-conflict neighbors simply cannot function unless they are active, around people, and "on" as much as possible.  Our secret weapon is in avoiding this trap.  Every single day, we are to spend some time alone.  To write/journal, meditate, relax, or just be there.  That doesn't mean you stop moving forward, do nothing, and get lazy.  It does mean you take a period of time, not to long and not to short, to clear your mind, stabilize your thoughts, and keep your emotions in check and in order.

(3) Looking For Reasons To Be Happy.
Always find something, every day, that makes you smile.  A joke, a quick word with a friend, anything that gives you a reason to appreciate everything that is right about this world.  Even if you're having a bad day, people are being challenging or difficult to you, or unfortunate consequences have happened, do this.

The Big 1-7 is going to be a year of changes for you all and for me.  I'm looking to become even more successful in my career, get my message out through this blog and other means, and to start a life of happiness with somebody special.




Monday, December 26, 2016

So What's In A Name?

Hey All - It's Christmukkah!  A rare and welcome event when the first night of Chanukah is also Christmas Eve, and the rest of Chanukah runs right into New Year's.  A great opportunity for caring and sharing.

In keeping with that opportunity, I've come to realize that I need to give more emphasis to the true theme of this blog.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter have noticed that I have used the hashtags "emotional maturity" and "respect" more often than "Bold Betas" and "alpholes."  This has happened due to what I consider a natural evolution in my writing, and how things are developing in my life and the world around me.

When I started using the original hashtags, I was at a slightly different place in life than I am now.  Since a lot of blessings have been heading my way, the need to have a "bad guy" to throw things at has somewhat lessened, and the need to focus on how to handle life's challenges with intelligence and not with reactions has increased.

There really are people who are high-conflict, unnecessarily aggressive, threatening, narcissistic, and sociopathic.  They do exist.  And there really are people who've been hurt, put down, done to, held back, and underdeveloped.  They do exist too.  However, as I face the end of this year, I've started to realize that the way to address these problems is by not necessarily demonizing or deifying anyone, but not demonstrating how Emotional Maturity and Respect would change both extremes.

That being said, I'm just not sure about retitling this blog, or doing away with the original hashtags.  I think they still matter.

However, in the coming year, I would like to increase traffic, gain more exposure, expand into speaking engagements, and make a contribution to the world around me other than working and paying taxes.  In order to do that effectively, I have to ask the advice of other people who can see these messages from an outsider's perspective.

So, my readers, I address the following queries to you:

(1) Should I, or should I not, retire the terms "Bold Betas" and "alpholes?"

(2) If so, should I, or should I not, retitle this blog?

(3) If so, do I, or do I not, risk losing the audience I seek?

Only serious responses requested, of course.  And if you're on Facebook, and your comment is likely to exceed one paragraph, please direct-message me instead.

DISCLAIMER:  While I'm not yet sure whether to make Emotional Maturity a title of this blog, I am very sure to let it govern how we address each other.  If your statements to me reveal a lack of emotional maturity, they're getting deleted.  Your subsequent accusations of cowardice will not negate my boundaries.

Happy Holidays, everybody!