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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.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

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.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

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.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

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!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Emotional Maturity - From The Beginning

Hey All - a real chill in the air, and it's not just the weather.

One reason why we react the way we do to everyday issues and troubles is because we got used to doing it a certain way at an early age.  Childhood and adolescence, those "Wonder Years."  We get stuck in a pattern, our responses get rehearsed so many times they become automatic.  So it's very easy to stop changing and growing at some point.

But believe it or not, this can be altered and upgraded.  Any.  Time.  We.  Feel.  Like.  It.

It's not an on/off switch like our more critical neighbors like to believe.  But it is within our power nonetheless.

(1).  Preparation.
This right here is the most important part.  Our self-talk can keep us stuck in the holding pattern of getting annoyed, argumentative, defensive, or enraged at the same provocation.  We keep thinking, I can't stand this guy, this woman is so stupid, this kid should shut up, so our brains become wired to always think of that person in a negative light.  It's like you see their face and name on a jumbo-tron and your internal capacity crowd starts booing and cursing!  So when you actually see them, Guess What Happens?
To avoid this, flip the script.  Find a way to stop this internal Two-Minute Hate.  Such as:
    (A).  Decide that you will not react that way.  Because they don't make you angry, you get angry.  And you can also not get angry.
    (B).  Prepare responses that will diffuse your reactions, and not manipulate them further.  Those that will repel anything that would otherwise trip a trigger.  Those that will make you, and anyone else, smile, and not fume.
(2).  Execution.
Commit yourself.  Do not show fear, pain, or anger.  As stated above, do not absorb.  Repel.  Block the shots.  Use your stick to deflect it, use your glove to smother it.  Be Bulletproof!

You knew I was going there, ha ha!

(3).  Follow Through.
Don't be that guy.  Don't wait until they leave the room and say, What a nasty woman, what a loud mouth ass, I thought they'd never shut up.  That just undoes everything we already did!  It makes it seem like an act, and that you're not really that mature at all!
After the encounter, exhale.  Breathe a sigh of relief.  Pat yourself on the back for keeping it together, and dismiss them from your thoughts.

Chances are, they won't expect the change.  Shock 'em.  It's very powerful to stay calm when you're expected to fly off the handle.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yes, They Got Away With It. So?

Hey All - It's a Chilly Sunday in December.  Hope everyone's doing well.

One stumbling block to emotional maturity is Resentment, and it's slacker big brother, Grudges.  If there's one thought that can keep people angry and stuck, it's that feeling where someone else gets away with doing something wrong, knowing full well that punishment and consequences would be inevitable had we done the same thing.

Goodness knows I've felt angry seeing that happen.  Sometimes the teacher's pet/boss' favorite/coach's son gets protected when they make mistakes, or even worse, one of us takes the hit for it because it's always our fault, and never theirs, no matter what happens.  Unfortunately, this practice has been around since the dawn of time, and short of transforming the hearts and minds of the perpetrators, it will continue indefinitely.

Let's be honest.  It is frustrating to the extreme to have been raised with values, discipline, and lines we don't cross, and then seeing so many other people do the opposite of that and not suffer consequences for it.  It is disheartening to know that some authority figures consider someone else to be better than you, sometimes for no objective reason, and that nothing you do or say can change that.   And it's also that way when we remember how bullies of yesteryear, how nasty, abrasive, rude, and abusive they were, and yet they were mobbed with fraaaands and followers, instead of being isolated and despised.

It's that frustration with life "not being fair" that most triggers our dissatisfaction with this arrangement.  In a perfect world, there would be automatic consequences for these transgressions, hence no transgressions.  But for now, we do not live in a world where that happens.  Instead, for hopefully a limited time, we must adapt to this misfortune.

(1) Accept the decisions that action cannot be taken against.  If the only thing you can do in response to that which aggrieves you is to just be angry and criticize it, then you're wasting your time.  Yes, you can be angry and dissatisfied with it, but if that anger and dissatisfaction can never change the results, then it must be contained.  If it is not, then you risk harming yourself far more than you can ever impact them.  Our high-conflict neighbors still have no intention of owning their actions or improving their behavior.  Until they are compelled to do so, courtesy of Lady Kharma, we must accept that which we have no control over.

(2) If you are able to do something or say something about it, take the chance while you have it.  In my line of work, you have a 30 day deadline to appeal decisions that aggrieve your client.  In real life, the window of opportunity is sometimes smaller.  But if you have the chance, that's your time to make your arguments.  You may need to have supporting evidence to demonstrate why they're wrong and you're right, so have it ready to produce whenever someone else wants to ask questions designed to make you look stupid.  You may need to erect definitive boundaries against behavior you find objectionable while it is happening.  You may need to politely, but firmly, explain that you do not appreciate certain behaviors.

(3) Handle yourself with emotional intelligence, and not with emotional chaos.  When we're angered, triggered, or just plain annoyed, our heads are not on straight.  In that state, it's very easy to fudge the earlier two steps.  We can still remain calm even when telling someone else that their actions are unacceptable, or explaining why someone else's decision should be changed.  We can still respond to attacks designed to trigger us by not becoming triggered.  We can repel their attempts to get under our skin while still responding appropriately to their actions.

No, it's still not OK that people get away with actions that we, and they, know are wrong.  But simply bemoaning this fact and cursing their improperly-gotten gains does nothing to stop them.  Accepting what cannot be reversed, and reversing that what can be, however, are the best weapons we have.  And handling these weapons at the highest level of emotional maturity will ensure the best results possible.

That's The Jam, Folks.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.  I AM BETA.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY IS THE ONLY WAY.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trump Haters? Aim It That Way.

Hey All.  Well, we know what happened.

Were you mad at him for his tone?  His vulgarity?  His crudeness?  What he said about these people, those people, and damn near everyone?

Good.  I'm honestly glad you were.  It's actually very reassuring that this world does not want to live by the alphaganda after all.  This helps my cause more than you might realize.  Now if people could only prove it by keeping their cool and not rioting.

So what to do now, that he actually won?  Divide that anger to be aimed in these five directions:

(1)  Take 20% of that anger at Trump, and aim it at children who bully.  Remember how horrible you thought Trump sounded at his debates and in his interviews, and aim it at every kid who pushes, shoves, wedgies, and threatens those weaker or less adjusted than him or her.  Pretend that kid is Trump himself, and let that kid have it!  Don't hold back!  Just 20% of Trump Hatred should shake that kid's very foundations enough to check the behavior.

(2) Take another 20%.  Aim it at abusive bosses.  Also aim it at boss-appointed bullies who flaunt authority they don't deserve.  Tell them that you think the way you're treated is unacceptable, and if it doesn't change, you're out the door.  (Caveat - unless you're prepared to be self-employed, get yourself a new job before doing this)

(3) Take another 20%.  Aim it at family members who don't treat you with respect.  I mean parents, children, spouses, partners, uncles, cousins, in-laws - no more free passes.  Just 20% of that Trump rage should put them on notice that their behavior will not be tolerated.  (Further Caveat - there is a risk of schism within the family if this happens, because there will always be enablers who think they've done nothing wrong.  Prepare for this eventuality)

(4) Take another 20%.  Aim it at any laws, rules, ordinances, or regulations are unjust, unethical, unfairly prejudicial, harmful, or contrary to reasonable expectations of fairness.  In other words, get rid of stupid rules.  I'm not saying be a foolish revolutionary, since you only get 20% for this assignment.  But make your voice heard.  Write your Congressperson/Senator/State legislator/local legislator and tell them what's not right.  Go to a school board meeting and tell them why things should change.  Act like there's something that might be bigger than your own immediate space, and that it matters big time!  And I'm not interested in whether it's a conservative or a liberal issue - I'm interested in explaining why a rule should be repealed, and not just violated.  And that means persuasion, and not senseless violence.

(5) Take another 20%.  Aim it at the mirror!  We're far from perfect, you and I, and we can admit to ourselves that there are times we've done and said things that even Trump wouldn't!  If you're grown enough to own that, then you can take it upon yourself the responsibility of ceasing it.  If you're still hating Trump, but excusing your own conduct, you can feel free to refer to this process as DeTrumping Yourself!  Think he's so horrible, he's an ogre, he's no good?  Then make yourselves as much of an opposite of that as you can.  Bashing him every minute of every day is an unprofitable venture - demonstrating that you don't emulate those traits will yield huge dividends.

Nobody said he was a role model.  He was elected to be a leader in spite of his foibles, and not because of them.

Ummm, Daaaaaaave?  Can I ask a question?

You just did, so obviously you can.

How could you support him, of all people?!?  You spent how many years lamenting the evil that these men do, and now you choose him to be our President?!?

I'm glad you asked me that most popular and bandwagon-esque of all questions.  For the answer, however, we'll just have to wait until the Inauguration this January.

Until then, I'm looking towards Thanksgiving - where we can all show gratitude, and not regret.  Towards the phenomenon of Chanukah commencing on Christmas Eve - you can't get much more Judeo-Christian than that!  And of course, the year 2017 - foretold by Billy Joel in one of his best songs.


Night All!

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.  I AM BETA.