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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.




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.