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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Forgiveness - Giving and Receiving

Hey All - had the best weekend, period.  Message me why and I'll give you the low-down.

Every year, Judaism has the Ten Days of Awe.  It begins with Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the religious calendar, and ends with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Custom states that at the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe, a celestial auditing commences, and all the living are evaluated as to their deeds and misdeeds.  At the end of those Ten Days, the auditing is concluded and everyone's fate is sealed.  Therefore, it's a custom to use this week and a half to be more self-aware, more reflective, and definitely more empathetic to others.

When I was a kid, the father of a friend of mine had a note hanging from the refrigerator with a magnet.  It stated that the six most important words in the English language were, "I Admit I Made A Mistake."  It felt good to read that, but I knew that making such a sincere admission wasn't always going to get me a pat on the head.  My experience with the authority figures at the time was that stating that you did something wrong, no matter how regretful or sincere you were about it, would get you very unpleasant consequences.  Not everyone knows this, but when you do this to kids enough times, you end up teaching them to lie - if they know that telling the truth will always mean something bad, then it shouldn't be a surprise when they just tell you what you want to hear.

Honestly, we could do so much better, as a society and as people, if apologies and forgiveness really meant something.  What if we were less willing to condemn, and more willing to understand?  What if we were less willing to deflect the blame, and more willing to accept responsibility?  What if being wrong, or mistaken, wasn't seen as the kiss of death, and was seen as simply being human?  And what if the desire to hold someone else's mistakes over their head permanently simply wasn't there?

If we're talking about criminal wrongdoing or fraudulent activity, that might be somewhat more complicated.  But just about everything else we do in life should be easily resolved with a simple apology and acceptance if those who make mistakes weren't made afraid to own them, and those who felt wronged weren't so adamant about holding grudges.

Of course, this may severely impact the legal community.  Then again, a less litigious society might be a more pleasant society.

(A)  Did you make a mistake?
    (1)  Admit it.
    (2)  Own it.
    (3)  Forgive yourself.
    (4)  After you've finished dealing with it, don't dwell on it.

(B)  Did somebody do you wrong?  And if so, did they accept responsibility?
   (1)  Accept it.
   (2)  Forgive them.
   (3)  Keep moving to the next issue.

This doesn't mean taking the hit for something that you didn't do.  It also doesn't mean that you have to let someone continue to do you wrong all the time.  But it does mean that if you did the wrong, there should be nothing preventing you from owning it, and if you were wrong, there should be no reason to hold grudges or seek retribution.

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

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.  I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Use Your FIlter

Hey All - Sunday night, and you know what that means!

We have always been told not to let others' opinions of us affect us.  But we have also always been told that we should be open to criticism, accepting of new ideas, and not resist anything that contradicts what's "in our bubble."

Great, mixed messages.  Gotta love when they come our way.  How are we really supposed to know which way to go?

That's a trick question - we already do.

(1) In what manner is this opinion or "fact" being expressed?  Is it interrupting something you were already saying?  A catcall as you walk by someone?  Is it from someone hijacking, one-upping, or upstaging something you were already doing?  Shut 'em down.  You're dealing with a textbook example of a narcissist, and the only way to "fight" them is to not engage.

(2) Is it coming from someone who's earned your trust?  Is it in private, out of respect?  Is it focused more on help and/or friendship, and less on "I'm right and I'm smarter than you?"  Give it a listen, and listen good.  You don't really know everything.  So if there's something you can use that's being provided, accept it and say thank you!

As with all things, the key here is respect.  Bashing you in public and forcing an opinion on you is not respect, it's an attempt to subjugate and dominate in order to feed someone's ego.  Explaining things in private, with honesty, but not just for the sake of putting someone down, and explaining why they think it should be considered, then that is respect.

(Caveat - there is such a thing as stealth narcissists, who pretend to be your friend in order to manipulate you.  See, I don't only think in black & white)

We have in our minds a filter.  We can accept knowledge that is verified, solidified, trustworthy, and provided from credible sources, and use it to evolve and update our knowledge.  And we can reject unverified and unsolicited information from questionable sources that is not reliable and does nothing to update our knowledge.

But you have to understand this!  But you have to think like me because I'm right!  But you can't tell me that you still believe that!

Then stop trying to sell it.  Planting seeds is one thing, but anyone who forces their opinion on us needs to be removed.  We decide what to accept to update our knowledge, they don't.

In fact, that's one of the most powerful things we have over others:  Our choice whether to accept or reject their messages.  Some people simply cannot handle rejection, different perspectives, or adverse opinions.  They may or may honestly expect people to ask "how high?" when they say jump.  Merely saying "no" to them sets off alarms.

NARCISSIST SURVIVAL TIP:  When necessary, if they don't understand "no" after the nth time, just let them win.   Pretend they know it all, and they schooled us.  They obviously need the "win" more than we need to argue with them.  Then they'll be quiet and we can leave.

THE BUTT U. MESSAGE:

Sometimes you might have a message that others reject too.  If they're not interested, they're not interested.  Move on and don't beat a dead horse.

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

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

Night all.  Feel free to comment or PM me!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Respect All

Happy Sunday, All.  The temperature is still hot like we want it, but summer is slowly winding down.  For the meteorologists in the audience, we all know that summer does not end until the Autumnal Equinox on September 23, 2017.  However, the rest of us have gotten used to it ending prematurely on Labor Day, thanks to our friends in academia.

A lot of hot-button issues have popped up recently.  Racism.  Free Speech.  The Civil War.  Our President.  There has been non-stop, ad nauseum coverage of these issues on all networks, channels and frequencies.

I say that's enough of that.  Perhaps finding ways to resolve these issues might be better read.

(1)  Respect All.

We are all human.  Flesh and blood.  Heart and soul.  Thoughts and feelings.  On some level, all of us matter.  This includes every faith and stripe.

This does not necessarily mean that we must all love each other, as set forth below.  It does, however, mean that there is never a reason to hate anyone else.  We're all somebody, and we've all had experiences that others haven't.  We must accept that no matter what.

(2) Befriend Few.

Unfortunately, people judge us by the five people we're around the most.  It might not be fair, but it happens because our attitude, behavior, and conduct is heavily influenced by the five people we're around the most.

Some of us seem to be friends with just about everyone.  In one sense, this is a good thing, because you know how to say things people like to hear and do things people like to see.  It's also not the best thing because not everyone likes to see and hear the same things.  And even if we respect each other, that doesn't mean that we should all be friends - once more, it doesn't mean we hate them, it just means that we can't really be friends with everyone, despite appearances to the contrary.  Outside of the undergraduate academic setting, popularity is a ruse.

Moreover, being friends with everyone cheapens the value of a friendship.  Keeping a circle small, on the other hand, means that you might look to only befriend those who you can trust, and who can make you even better than you already are.

(3) Love One.

Not everyone is a fan of marriage, or even monogamy.  When we're young, we're often encouraged to play the field, and when we're single we are encouraged to meet as many potential mates as possible.  But in the end, it's our natural inclination as human beings to find that one person with whom we can share everything about our lives.  Yes, there is such a thing as divorce, since marriages are not always meant to last.  But there is also such a thing as a soul mate.

Once you find that soul mate, you do it right.  You don't violate the trust that's there.  You don't let disagreements become high-conflict sporting events.  You don't put your needs over the other's.  You make it a 50/50 equal partnership.  Nobody is the scrub, and nobody is on the pedestal.  You take the respect you show everyone else, and the friendship you grant to a chosen few, and you make it exponential.  You show that one person what nobody else gets, and you keep on doing it.

(4) HATE NONE.

This just might be the most difficult thing to do.  Believe me, I know.  There are those who are not respectful.  There are bullies.  There are predators.  There are racists.  There are sexists.  There are those who think they're entitled when they aren't.  There are narcissists.  There are criminals.  There are pathological liars.  There are elitists.  There are people who try to minimize us, manipulate us, and fool us.

There are truly evil people in this world.  And when we hate them, we join them.

Unfortunately, we have triggers, and we have thresholds.  We still have that fight-or-flight reflex downloaded into our programming from the days of the Neanderthals.  We still feel compelled to fight fire with fire, and we still get a rush from our lizard brains when there seems to be a reason to engage in conflict.

We can acknowledge this.  And we can still, notwithstanding, control it.

We can romanticize "fighting fire with fire."  And we can also watch both sides burn to a crisp.
We can get our backs up, become militant, and smear everything the others stand for.  And we can also step back for a second, review our reactions, and realize that nothing we've done or said has made us any better than them.

We can also realize that we run the risk of letting them get under our skin when we react that way.  They want us to react.  They want to be the bad guy, because they think it actually makes them look good.  If we react in violence, we run the risk that they are better prepared for what we might use against them.  And even if we somehow overpower them with our kung-fu/UFC/smash-mouth moves we may have, we've really let them overpower us.  We have allowed them to dictate our responses to everything, permitted them to infect our well-being, and interfere with our logical reasoning.  We have accepted their way of might makes right, and we have allowed them to be our masters in that regard.

Contrary to popular opinion, we are a thousand times better off when we don't let that happen.  It's far better than you might think.

We may feel that American society is at a crossroads.  If that's true, there's actually a pretty good path to take instead of the others.

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

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

Feel free to react, comment, follow, or re-Tweet, within the bounds of respect.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Heart of Armor, Revisited

Hey All, it's about that time.

This weekend, I advanced my technology just a bit.  Well, more like I renewed a part of my technology that I hadn't discussed in a while.

Part of being emotionally mature means finding a way to deal with any and all negative thoughts.  Can we experience fear, pain, anxiety, anger, frustration, etc.?  Absolutely.  But we need to experience them without being ruled by them.

Years ago, I talked about a Heart of Armor.  That means there is a part of your mind/heart/soul that is completely, protected, insulated, and secure from the above negative emotions.  That means you don't think about that project at work when you're at the beach.  That also means you don't start immediately showing a mental rerun of bad stuff that happened just because you see or hear something that reminds you of it (that crap might work on Family Guy, but it doesn't work in your mind).

You might be aware of troubles and challenges - you kinda need to be - but there is a protected part of you that you never, ever, let those troubles and challenges affect.  If it's not in front of you that minute, you keep any thought of it in check.  If it is in front of you that minute, then handle it.  Regardless, you must keep those stress-causing, agita-inducing thoughts way out of your zone.

This way, you don't personalize or internalize the problems.  You don't make it all about you when it isn't.  And when it is all about you, you still don't let it immobilize, paralyze, or hurt you.

There is a difference between accepting responsibility for something, when you must, and hurting yourself.  When people know your weaknesses, they will try to make you feel like hurting yourself with no remorse and no regret.  It is our job, and only our job, to prevent this from happening at all costs.  Not just to protect us from them.  But also from ourselves.

When we can be aware of what is around us, good or bad, without being distracted or emotionally triggered by it, half the battle is won.  Our tormentors will realize that they're not getting the out-of-control reaction they wanted.  Our supporters will respect us more than otherwise.

"But I'm so passionate!"  "But I'm so outgoing!"  "But I'm just so badass I can't be contained!"

You may or may not be reading the wrong blog, friend.  Or more likely, you can use that passion with discipline and control.  That way you bring about positive results, and not just more and more debates and arguments.

More importantly, that way you don't get your buttons pushed.  You control your emotions, they don't control you.

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

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Of Pride And Celebration

Hey All.  Hope you're enjoying this first weekend of summer.  Kids out of school, teachers on vacation, both houses of Congress and many state and local legislatures ready to take a break.

This weekend is also being celebrated in many cities to acknowledge what we know as Pride - the celebration of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

For generations, members of this community have faced discrimination, contempt, and bullying of extreme proportions.  It is encouraging to know that society has essentially opened its armed and accepted those with different sexual orientations than what was traditionally expected as the one and only way.  Laws are now in place that prevent discrimination against members of this community in all areas, including application for a marriage license.

For that, I congratulate this community.  You have come a long way, and you've earned it all.

However, with freedom, also comes responsibility.

When individuals are groups are discriminated against, marginalized, or hated in some way, it's very easy to play tit-for-tat.  It's very easy to demand that the pendulum be swung the other way hard.  It's very easy to demand revenge, very easy to demonize, and very easy to point a finger at someone else who seems "privileged" because they did not suffer the same adversity.  That's where we have a small problem.

The vast majority of those of us who are heterosexual have absolutely nothing against the LGBTQ community.  Speaking for myself, I know how amazing it feels to be in love with someone and be ready to marry them.  I am nobody to say that someone doesn't have that right simply because that love is aimed towards someone of the same gender.

Still, there is a minority that still has trouble accepting it.  They should accept it, as we have.  But forcing them to do so, or face civil or criminal penalties, is not the right way to solve that problem.

Part of Emotional Maturity means understanding that universal acceptance of who you are and what you say simply cannot happen.  Even if you achieve mass acclaim and overall acceptance, there will always be people who will not accept you, and nothing you, or I, or anyone else says will change that.

PERFECT EXAMPLE:  When I began this blog, and I wrote about the virtues of being a Bold Beta Male, and rejecting the idea that every man always be aggressive and abrasive, a particularly unfriendly critic told me that "the only people who are going to listen to you are gays."  I stayed silent.

As mean-spirited and below-the-belt as those judgments and comments can surely be, it is not our place to become triggered by them, to overreact to them, or to demonize those who deliver such statements, even if they most obviously deserve it.  It is also not our place to demand that they unscrew the top of their heads, remove their brains, and allow us to rewire them so they won't behave that way.  It's sometimes our problem that they act and think this way, but it's certainly not our fault.  Therefore, there is no reason for us to become offended, enraged, or outraged by this mentality - because it doesn't hurt us.

I could say the same about racism, sexism, or plain old bullying.  As long as there is something for you to be proud of, there will always be someone who opposes it.  It's simply there.

But the presence of a negative opinion in no way takes away anyone's right to Pride.  It doesn't invalidate you, or what you believe, or what you love.  It doesn't reduce you to dust.  And even if someone else's opinion of you is that unfavorable, it is only their perspective - which should never be yours.

So without rambling on too long, understand that not every single person in this world will accept that Pride.  But the vast, overwhelming majority of it does.  And that majority often includes the people who matter to us the most.  Be grateful for those who accept your Pride, and simply dismiss those who cannot, or will not.

And when I say dismiss, that's different from demonizing.  And it's also not the same as enabling them, or giving tacit approval.  It means remaining calm, unruffled, and not-triggered.  It also means erecting boundaries and removing those who are unable to respect them.  Leave the consequences to Our Mother Lady Karma, and keep your self-respect intact.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

HAPPY PRIDE WEEK!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Our Father

Hey All.  Hope all celebrating had a Happy Father's Day.

I know that I appreciate my dad immensely.  He'd be pretty humble about it, but much of what I post in the blog is an outgrowth of the life lessons he taught me.

But even more than my appreciation of him, is my appreciation of Him:  G-D the Father.

Now this isn't based on any religion in particular.  It's just an understanding that there is a supernatural being who has a completely rational expectation of us to recognize and fulfill our personal responsibilities.  Our Mother Lady Karma is the One who handles things we can't control, executes judgment against those who wrong us, and pardons us for our errors.  G-D the Father, however, has a very different role to play.

What He does is remind us of what we CAN control, and that we'd better handle it to the best of our abilities.  His message is, "I'm not going to do your job for you."  Should we get started and keep moving, He is very likely to provide assistance, and quite possibly rewards, along the way.  But if we don't work for it, He won't provide it.

Our Father G-D doesn't want us to give up trying after only a few attempts.  He wants us to get our hands dirty and fail again and again until there has to be some sort of success, great or small.  He wants us to rise above critics and nay-sayers, disable our triggers when they are not needed, and to be as disciplined as possible in our thoughts and actions.

He knows that we'll make mistakes.  Honestly, He expects them to happen.  And He also expects us to keep our emotional reactions to a minimum because they'll only get in the way.  Our Mother can kiss our skinned egos to make them better.  But Our Father wants us to heal them ourselves, because we can!

That doesn't mean He's mean or unforgiving.  If He were, He'd be convincing us all to jump off bridges and end it all.  Instead, He wants us to live, and live right.  He wants us to understand that every new day is another chance to get it right, and not to eternally punish ourselves for when we get it wrong.  He wants us to own The Four Pillars, and own them hard!

So, Friends & Neighbors, today I hope you told your fathers how much you appreciate them.  And every day going forward, I suggest we show appreciation to Our Father G-D by making ourselves even better.

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

I AM BOLD.  I AM BULLETPROOF.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Speaking Their Language

Hey All.  It's another relaxing Sunday, and that means it's time for another post.

In our challenge to obtain Emotional Maturity, we are often confronted with manipulators, beyess artists, and posers who have developed talents that don't deserve respect.  Instead of owning up to their misdeeds, (or not even doing them in the first place - what a concept), they do everything they can to excuse, confuse, distract, or just babble incessantly in hopes of avoiding consequences.

It's very easy to become angry at them for being this way - and their apologists will not hesitate to remind us that it's a talent we lack - until we remember that this is their only talent.

However, when we are able to easily decipher what they say, we can avoid being manipulated by them.  Some prime examples:

(1)  "No offense, but . . ."  - I'm going to bash you, but instead of admitting that, I'm going to add this disclaimer so I end up looking like the good guy.

(2) "I have no idea what you're talking about."  You're right, but I'm too full of myself to admit it.

(3) "I see the good in all people" - I know my friends are assholes, but if they do/say things wrong to you, I'm going to defend them, because I need popularity more than respect.

(4) "You might learn something/Be open minded" - I'm better than you, so you have to let me interrupt and talk all over you.

(5) "I'm not putting one over on you" - Now that I disarmed you, you're going to fall for my BS just like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

This by no means an endorsement of the brutally honest - there is such a thing as respect - but there are way too many bullies, abusers, and narcissists who victimize people by beyessing them so hard it comes out their ears!

There are way too many people who get bullied and disrespected when young, used and abused by employers when grown, and made mincemeat out of by spouses and significant others with no morals to speak of.  Contrary to popular opinion, the answer to that problem is not a left hook or a leg sweep.  It's preparation and maturity.

Once you know their language, you can provide responses that clearly indicate that we're not getting fooled.  Here are some examples.

(1) "No offense, but -" Why would I get offended if I wasn't even listening?

(2) "I have no idea what you're talking about."  That's OK, your six-year-old nephew will explain it to you.

(3) "I see the good in all people" - I'm impressed.  I didn't know they made microscopes for that.

(4) "You might learn something."  Mission accomplished.  Bye.

(5) "I'm not putting one over on you."  I didn't say you were.

Don't get it twisted, we're not looking to find the best comebacks, or to have the Hollywood ending.  We're also not looking to get the most hoots and hollers from the spectators and bystanders.  What we are looking to do is set boundaries, and let our egocentric cousins understand that they don't own us, that we are not their followers, and that if they want more tools, they can go to Home Depot.  One of the best ways to do this is to learn their language, instead of being misled by it.  Aside from this, we can leave people like this behind, and (if we choose) replace them with less predatory and more empathetic counterparts.

And even if you don't have a ready response to these meritless, untruthful, and deceptive statements, don't worry.  Our Mother Lady Karma has even better ones.  Maybe She thinks a good comeback might be a ride in handcuffs, an unexpected pregnancy test, or having those very words proven false.  Let Her handle that.  We'll handle our own development, our own happiness, and our own choices of whom we choose to include in our lives.

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

G-D THE FATHER PROPELS ME.  G--SS THE MOTHER PROTECTS ME.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.