4 days ago
IF YOU’RE CONFOUNDED BY EVIL YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN NATURE
I will speak with clients sometimes who seem utterly bemused and confounded by the bad behaviour of others; a distraught wife who is befuddled by the aggression and dishonesty of her husband, a hardworking employee who is dumbfounded by the insensitivity and spite of his employer, a sweet and generous young man who is devastated by the cruelty and malice of his classmates.
The error in locating evil outside of ourselves is twofold; firstly its naïve, secondly its false. Let’s tackle the first one first…the matter of naivety. Believing people to be fundamentally good puts many people at a huge disadvantage. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here, of course people can be lovely (that should go without saying, but I’ve said it now anyhow). Absolutely every single human being, irrespective of their behaviour – ANY behaviour – is valuable and worthwhile in the most basic sense. That’s the fundamental edict of many major religions and most of us agree with that tenet. Here comes the big BUT ….BUT….individual people either choose to be decent and kind and sincere or they don’t. Presuming that people think or act or feel in honourable ways is simple wrong especially when they demonstrate themselves to be ignoble. As Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”
When a husband has been unkind and impatient a few times then it’s prudent to be understanding and gracious, we all have bad days and bad patches right?!. When he has been rude and selfish a few more times, over a few more months then it behooves you to be a little suspicious of what these behaviours may indicate. When this same husband starts to be aggressive and demanding then it’s telling you something about his basic nature. Yes I know, for all the naysayers who’ll pick me up on this overly simplified example….I know…it’s an overly simplified example…yes…but you understand the spirit of what I’m saying here.
It’s NOT that our hapless husband’s basic nature is any worse or different to anybody else’s either - we’ll get to that in a moment. For the time being, it’s suffice to say that this behaviour is showing you something. This person is advertising who they are and probably who they intend to be in the future. Being an astute observer of somebody’s choices is a much more empowered position to hold than making the blanket assumption that all people are basically good. Attributing good intentions to somebody, under the guise of nicety or piety on your part, is actually very foolish and does neither person a service. You can remain impassive and withhold condemnation on somebody’s behaviour while still being honest about what they’re doing and who they seem to be.
To cry foul when this same husband, whose behaviour over an extended period has consistently demonstrated a lack of honour or balance or empathy, then has an affair or becomes physically violent is naïve. And to lament “I just can’t believe that he would do this” is simply untrue because he had been flagging this behaviour for months, maybe even years. To bemoan “I just don’t understand how somebody can be this way” is also untrue because you CAN understand your own darker impulses. Which brings me to my second point.
An individual who has given themselves permission to indulge their more base instincts…impulses such as cruelty or selfishness or disinterest…this person isn’t different to you. As much as we would like to think that all those horrid, nasty, wicked people were at a safe distance over there in that ‘other’ camp. Oh no, no, no, no. The only difference between YOUR little bit of perfectly rational and warranted irritation and THEIR massive rage is a difference in degree not form. Suggesting to yourself that, given the right circumstances, you too couldn’t be susceptible to massive rage is to profoundly misunderstand your own human nature. If you have the capacity for minor irritation then you have the capacity for blind rage. Full stop. End of story. Sorry 'bout that.
You might protest, and rightly so, that you (oh saintly one) would never cheat on a partner or steal from an employer or betray a friend or hit a child. Well, that may well be true, and kudos to you if it is. BUT…that does not mean that your measured frustration with your kids is any different to somebodies unchecked fury at their kids. You DO understand what it’s like to think solely from your own perspective! You DO understand what it’s like to feel justified in your position despite disagreement! You DO understand what it’s like to simply want what you want even if it’s at another’s expense! You DO understand what it’s like to feel pushed to your limit and to not make great choices as a consequence! The fact that you put limits on your behaviour is fantastic. It’s literally what makes this whole society game that we’re all playing together tenable.
You draw your line in the sand and staunchly refuse to cross it. But you also know what it’s like to be tempted to cross that line and wander into dishonesty or unkindness. I would hazard to guess that you’ve actually crossed that line (despite your protestations that you never would) and I would be so bold as to suggest that you've been dishonest or unkind at some point in your life too – shock and horror. Constrained anger is safer for us all. Constrained self-interest is better for us all. Constrained lust or greed is healthier for us all. But that doesn’t mean that it’s natural for humans to inhibit these darker impulses. In actuality, it’s far more natural for individuals to choose NOT to place limits on their dark nature. Goodness is a virtue precisely because it’s a supremely difficult choice to make sometimes and it can take self-discipline to achieve.
If you are sometimes able to achieve a level of goodness through sheer force of will or by deliberate design…well done! We all thank you for it! But remember, you still grapple with your own demons…just like every single one of us….and….there but for the grace of God. ... See MoreSee Less
There is good and evil in all of us. It is which we choose to shine stronger on the exterior that defines us.
I think being judgemental is sometimes an affirmation about the shortcoming having been overcome by the accuser - surely we all fall short, and in different areas of life. We seek sameness in our relationships, and it is wise not to assume everyone wants to (or can) change, and to what you want them to be. Differences serve to define culture, and in language too. A person (linguist of sorts) who can relate through different cultures will find less opposition - and less compatibility. Interesting is the human soul.
Too many people are blind folded until they are hurt and hurt again.
This makes so much sense.
This should be taught in primary schools and religious lessons.
I feel like a demon sometimes
MANAGING YOUR MENTAL MESS:
YOU CAN’T RELY ON JUST ONE STRATEGY!
Some people seem to labour under the delusion that any given psychological strategy should be a panacea – a cure all, a final solution. Often clients will say to me that some strategy or method or idea just “didn’t work”. Well….no….one single thing won’t work if you are using that word to mean “I’m fixed and healed and whole and new for all time, under all circumstances, and the problem shall never return, so sayeth the Lord, Hallelujah”.
Perhaps there is an expectation that one particular technique will work because, hey, alcohol does the trick pretty well doesn’t it?! And, let’s be honest with each other here, it does do a pretty reasonable job. Yes it works to dull the senses, cloud the memories and lift the mood (temporarily). That’s why people use it, obviously. But it can have some fairly unsavory side effects too can't it? Maybe this is why we often anticipate that a single strategy will “work” because something like alcohol can “work,” medication can “work,” drugs can “work” in the broadest sense of that word.
You get a nice little buzz, a pleasant floaty feeling, a temporary reprieve without putting in much effort. And there's the rub....without much effort. It’s the kind of mentality that I imagine a hammer takes to a nail. We want something easy to just get the damn job done. But psychological strategies don’t “work” like that. We, as humans, are neither hammers nor nails. No single strategy is going to work ad infinitum. You are possibly going to get a 5% benefit to your mood from someting like healthy eating. 5%! It barely touches the sides, the improvement is almost imperceptible….damn and drats and double bummer! But it’s a start isn’t it? It’s something.
They you might decide to try sleeping more and hey presto! Whoop and yipee and by golly there’s a 15% improvement. NOW you’re getting somewhere. Now you actually FEEL a little better. Then….just for the hell of it….you decide to give that meditation stuff a go *excited face*…..for 2 days.... *are-you-serious face*! Well, shock and horror, that tiny foray into the world of meditation didn’t net you much benefit. It didn’t “work” for you supposedly. Maybe it would have “worked” if you’d given it an honest try. Maybe if you’d persisted you would have garnered a benefit….but perhaps not. Maybe it represented a possible 30% improvement, but you didn’t want to stick with it. No heat, no judgement. It just wasn’t your thing. So you start walking (another 5%), you take up a musical instrument (7%), you read a self-help book (10%), you try listening to a podcast (2%).
And then you have an awful day. Stop doing ALL of it. And you’re back to square one!
My point is that there is no single thing that is going to “work” for depression or anxiety or anger or trauma or anything else really. Some things you won’t want to do at all. Some things you won't want to do on some days. Some things will work at some times but, inexplicably, not at other times. Some things will work beautifully then ostensibly stop working entirely. This isn’t because anything is going wrong. This is merely because you’re human and evolving and changing and complex and messy. So, dear friends, the moral of the story is; don’t rely too heavily on any one, single strategy in the hopes that it’s going to see you through dark times. Develop a suite of strategies that suit your style so that you can be the well-equipped, forward-thinking, savvy, badass, psychological master that I know you can be. ... See MoreSee Less
We must realize that we must evolve with the diseases in order to overcome them - whether it is a only mental state or not, it at least thinks it is alive - or we do 🤔. Perpetuating, or putting things in motion is what our brains do... check it out.
Forfeit all strategies Be humbled Be grateful Be joyous Breath in Fresh air Breath out The chicken shit They are trying To sell you
Granny used to say, "wash your face and polish your shoes, then have a cuppa, THEN look at things again". Never did any harm and at least I had clean shoes to show for it!☺
Be greatful just to be alive, unless in terrible pain
'SELF-LOVE' AND ALL THAT GUFF.
I’m not sure that I completely agree with this “self-worth,” “self-love” malarkey that has recently saturated our Western consciousness. Don’t all pile-on here….I understand the essence of what’s being communicated when somebody says “I need to have more self-worth”…..I get it…. and on one level I completely agree. We would all do well to have a healthy level of self-esteem but, as with most things these days, I think we’ve lost a bit of nuance in this discussion.
Sometimes the idea that people conjure up in their imagination when they think “self-love” is something approximating narcissism. For some people “self-worth” ends up meaning arrogance in drag. Here’s the thing, genuine self-worth doesn’t feel like much of anything really. It’s a very subtle, teeny feeling when it’s compared to all the other feelings on the palate. It’s bland, it’s subdued, it’s like that nude-tanish-peach colour. It’s actually kinda blah as a feeling. And rightly so to my mind.
I would argue that anybody who feels a strong sense of self-love might be caught in an ego trap of their own making. When genuine confidence is interwoven with modesty and generosity of spirit towards other people then it manifests simply as a sense of groundedness and surety within the psyche. It’s just a quiet knowing that you are kinda alright. Not a bad egg. A pretty good chap. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The reason I take issue with pushing the idea of self-love onto unsophisticated and unrefined minds is that it will inevitably become incorporated at an ego level. It runs the risk of being used as fuel for the fires of pride and unkindness. And I think we are seeing some of that playout in our culture right now. “I should love myself” people will say to me. “Why? What do you think that means?” I’ll rebut. We are in the throes of a culture where everybody is an armchair psychiatrist and will quite happily bandy around the word ‘narcissist’ in reference to their ex-partner or their mother-in-law who, in reality, is merely selfish or impolite or (God forbid) thinking of themselves. While we simultaneously encourage every Tom, Dick and Nancy to love themselves. It’s a complete head-fudge! You can’t have it both ways. Should we try to love ourselves or should we avoid narcissism? Pick one!
I think the reason we are in this conundrum (which actually isn’t a conundrum at all) is because we are using these words in a lazy and sloppy way without truly understanding them. For whatever it is worth, I suggest that you DON’T try to love yourself. That is a convoluted, confusing assignment to give to the mind. Don’t go hunting for some fantasmagorical (Best. Word. Eva.) FEELING like self-love as if it’s the Holy Grail because, just like the Grail, it’s a legend! It’s a myth. It’s not an actual-real-tangible thing. It’s the finger that points to the moon – not the moon itself.
Just be who you are at this particular moment in time. Let me say that again because it’s easy to miss the profundity of that one….JUST BE WHO YOU ARE…beautiful, talented, ridiculous, messy, terrible, wonderful person that you are. Just be that! Don’t try to love yourself but don’t hate yourself either. Just honour your humanity. Be where you are right now. Be who you are right now. That is where your value lies.
If you want to give yourself an assignment because, let’s face it, we Seeker-Healer types are inclined to do that, just try to be the best version of yourself that you can be as often as you can be. Not perfect….pfft, perfect would be sooooo boring…just try your best. When you fail – cos you for sure, guaranteed will – don’t sweat it. It’s doesn’t matter. Trust me on this one, it doesn’t. No matter how awful you believe your failings to be, you are still a pretty cool chick. Regardless of what your faults may be you are still a pretty groovy guy. Honestly you are! When you let this sink into your bones and live in your soul then, and only then, when you least expect it, when you’re not looking, will that gentle-unassuming-quiet flower that is self-worth bloom for you. ... See MoreSee Less
Nicely put but self love isnt selfish, being a narcissist has nothing to do with love or confidence, it is built on an entirely different premise. You have confined love to a pin point narrative and it is certainly not that. Self love is a platform to understanding that the love you give others, what you do for those you love, the care that you give them and the compassion that you have for them, should be at least reflected back onto yourself. Without honouring the self and having an awareness of your value, you allow yourself to accept less, be less and expect less. I think of it this way ... think of something that you love.... why do love it ? When you know that... you know it's value, how wonderful it can be and knowing that, what would you do to take care of it, to fix it when its broken to heal it, when its sick. Love isnt ever selfish and neither is love for self , it simply means that you know your value, you give yourself the same care, compassion, kindness that you give other .... because you are worth it.
Self love is the precurser to loving others ...for Narcissists self love is the overwhelming reason for manipulating others ..love has no positive role to.play here only maloevolent 😥😥😥
I’m far too busy being responsible for making ends meet for myself and my family. Fact of the matter is, self loving is filled with narcissism and arrogance. I won’t have time for that nonsense!
Self Love should be standing by your beliefs or standing up for one's self!👍 Many times you should put Self first!💯 I hope you agree & I like that you put forward there is difference between Selfishness & Manipulation!🙏
"I think we’ve lost a bit of nuance in this discussion" I've lost track of the times i've said this over the last ten years in every aspect of human discourse.
When your heart is open yet you remain detached from expectaion your light shines ..and that is enough
Thank you for helping me bring my subconscious feelings into my conscious mind! I have also fallen victim to the ''love yourself'' trend ,thanks to society!!!! I've always known it's enough just toa ccept and like yourself (your relationship with yourself is different to your relationshipo with others, )I have struggled so hard to love myself, but after a while it felt narcissistic! it's like living in abubble where you're separated fom others. You love others, help them ,etc. not be absorbed in yourself, and you just have to accept yourself, to be confident and practical1!!!!!
I cannot like this enough. Beautifully said.
A very good read. Thanks.
An interesting read because he says it like it really is....simples!
Love it. Spot on.
In our day we were to busy getting on with our lives to bother with bullshit
Of course walking away from an angry person makes them angrier! That doesn't mean you shouldn't protect yourself and walk away. ... See MoreSee Less
HOW ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF ADVICE FOR MEN
There is a plethora, a myriad, a mass, a cornucopia, a googolplex (ok ok I’m being silly, I’ll stop) of relationship advice available to women; for women, from women. Much of this advice is incredibly helpful, timely and accurate. This is, without a doubt, a very good thing indeed because – let’s face it – women, within the context of a relationship, can be utterly and completely diabolical (picture Cruella de Ville meets that murderous woman from Fatal Attraction). Women have the potential to be maniacal and malevolent and this can be especially true within intimate relationships. So sure! Thank you world! Pelt us with relationship advice. Let us marinate in the wisdom of Layla Martin, Iyanla Vanzant, Ester Perel (and many dozens more). Lavish the female of the species, who can be prone to bouts of insanity, with all the self-actualising-enlightenment-happily-ever-after information that she can handle. Bring it on baby.
BUT!!!!! I kinda take issue with the way that the conversation can be somewhat lopsided. Even within a space where women are counselling and mentoring other women about their relationship etiquette there is a decidedly masculine bent to the advice. Women should speak clearly and calmly to “their man” says one. Women would do well to “give him space when he needs it and be nothing but chill about it sista” twitters another. If you want a husband “speak to him when he’s ready for it and not stressed from work” says another. I understand the spirit of this advice. Remember, I’m not arguing with the basic fact that some women can be a red-hot mess in relationships. This rhetoric, while actually completely and utterly helpful on the surface, leaves me a little unnerved because that’s not the full and complete story – the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.
As I’ve said…of course women can use all the help they can get within their intimate partnerships. And many women, by the way, seek out this information voluntarily. Yay the sisterhood! But our current relationship ills surely aren’t helped by intimating that women should be a little bit more Stepford-wife-ish:
“Just settle down there darling and he will hear what you’re saying better”
“Speak his language my dear”
Well ok. Yes. But….Isn’t there a danger in this overly simplified prescription that women simply be more rational, measured and calm. Be more like a man essentially, so that the man can understand you. If women would do well to practice their masculine traits; such as stoicism and logic and stiff-upper-lip-edness how about we encourage our MEN to at least do the same. Be stronger and more stoic when dealing with their female partners? If she is emotionally overwhelmed and unable to articulate her feelings rationally in any given moment which – I’m sorry to be very politically incorrect here – can be what women are like sometimes, how about our men step-up and exercise their patience and fortitude? Heaven forbid that he read a relationship book or he attend a relationship seminar. Guys, explain how you feel lovingly and empathetically without needing her to remind you or encourage you or hold your hand. Nurture her soul and tend to her heart without her prompting you. Don’t let her do the lion’s (or should I say lionesses) share of the relationship work. Lead in your relationship fellas!
It does neither sex any good to let the relationship conversation become unbalanced and lacking nuance. It’s not as simple as blunting women’s femininity, dampening her emotional nature in favour of logic and intellect. Of course women bring their personal brand of crazy into romantic unions and any human, male or female, would do well to be reasonable and balanced. But let’s not throw this particular sensitive, emotion-centered baby out with the bathwater. Women can be encouraged to be women without giving her licence to be a screeching harpy. The sacred goddess, the divine mother, Aphrodite, Athena, Cinderella – these are our myths ladies. My question is why can’t we encourage and/or teach men to hold space for this messy, sassy, sexy, delicate, irrational, sensitive creature. Are you men or are you mice?
Men could help their beloved to grow and heal and relax by creating a safe space for her to be a WOMAN. I think that some relationship experts can unwittingly and subtly imply that women become more masculine in order to relate to their male counterparts better - not that that’s not sound advice to an extent, because it is –there is just another side to that story which isn’t being told very often. The crux of that chapter is for men to step up. Don’t be the guy who needs his woman to be contained. Don’t be the dude who shrinks and shrivels from deep conversation or hard emotions. Be strong enough to bear witness to feminine pain and anguish sometimes. Be bold and brave enough to handle all of her. She will do her part – ladies, are you listening to me? She will do her part - by making every effort to not go scary Single White Female on you. But in return….you do your part! ... See MoreSee Less
You know why they don't give advice to men... because they don't listen to advice! They don't listen full stop! Even if they listened they'd still do what they were going to do or not going to do. Most of them only read instructions after they've already tried to do something and have done it wrong. Before you tear me to pieces... I'm not a man hater, but it is true. 🤣😁😅😜
Taken me 6 days to read this shit. Forgot what to say
Women are evil. You don't need to look to hard to see that.
The best thing a woman can say to her guy: "You look stressed/tired/great. Can I get you a beer sweetie?"
If you are making stupid choices and want things to change merely try to stop. If you’re not ready, don’t try right now. That’s it. There is no need to judge yourself beyond that. ... See MoreSee Less
LOVE SHOULD BE HARD CORE, NOT FACILE AND IMPOTENT!
Love is one of those words that gets thrown around so much that it can be hard to even know what any given individual means when those four little letters pass through their lips. Some people seem to mean lust. Some people apparently mean devotion. Some people ostensibly mean friendship. Some people even appear to mean obsession. Some people may mean infatuation. Maybe love can be all of these things. Perhaps it should mean none of them. I don’t know.
What I do know is that it’s one of those gummy words that you can roll around in your mind…stretching it and chewing on it…and end up with no more clarity that when you first started. It’s a loaded, confusing, multi-faceted word, just like the word God or forgiveness or truth. Poets, artists, novelists, sculptors, playwrights and lyricists have been encountering this quandry since time immemorial.
There’s one thing that seems to be painfully obvious about our modern culture. I think we have trivialised and maybe even traumatised this delicate little word to the point that she’s battered and bruised. We betray and squander her. We weaponise and devalue her.
In this fast-paced-low-stakes age of pop-up shops, uber eats, ONS, ghosting and cancel culture we’ve lost something important. Something intangible and ineffable. Something significant and potent. Not that I’m against pop-up shops, uber eats or even ONS (they’re all fine and dandy). Love just doesn’t seem to me to be very hard core anymore. We profess to love one another and tap out anyway. We profess to love one other another and hit anyway. We profess to love one another and betray anyway.
Ostensibly the gravitas of this word isn’t much pondered. This beatific, darling of a word is desecrated when it is used to reference or excuse weak and facile behaviour. Love is supposedly patient and kind….yes…but it is absolutely not weak. Love should be strong. Love is sticking in when the fit hits the shan. Love doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble. Love signs up for trouble, without naivety, without rose-coloured glasses, love says “yes” even when her eyes are wide open.
“I think that is what you do when you love someone deeply, you decide at the deepest level of your being that for all the fragility, inadequacy and error of that particular person it’s spectacularly wonderful that they exist” – Jordan Peterson ... See MoreSee Less
A shock this is from Jordan Peterson. His attitudes to sex-based psychology, and by that I mean gender determinism, are Neanderthal. But it's good to reminded that nobody is all one colour. I enjoyed the quote. Still wouldn't trust the alt-right darling as far as I could throw him, but.
Definitely. It is bandied about far too much.
Thank you for sharing this. It deserves to be read.
Love note change but our lifetimes have changed one minute we are born and next minute we in love and next minute we are in heaven thinks yours
So sad so many did not return
May as well just read 1 Corinthians 13...