Browsed by
Month: November 2014

It’s not me, it’s you: Why blaming does not help

It’s not me, it’s you: Why blaming does not help


It is a basic human craving to be accepted and loved by the tribe. The journey of finding our place in the universe and our lives being honored just the way we are is lifelong. And yet even the most open minded humans still lash out and pin our expectations upon other people, asking them to change their belief or behavior because it does not suit us. Why do we demand that other people change?

A few days ago while browsing social media I came across a post which elicited a strong reaction from me. This post was about 500 words worth of straight up blame, name calling, accusatory ranting. The post covered every topic, from the injustice of government assistance “continually helping people who have more kids than they can afford” to the rage felt at a recently deceased family member who left them no material possessions, to the unfairness of having a broken window in the apartment, to running out of cigs in the winter. What an array of scandalous resentment.

Many thoughts came to mind as I read this. Parts of me felt sorry this person had such a sad outlook, part of me felt that some adults should have their social media privileges revoked. Clearly I had some judgement surrounding this behavior and that is not the type of mindspace I seek to cultivate. I perceived this behavior as victim types thinking, as though life is something that just happens around them and nothing is within their control. But the problem is not what other people are saying or doing, the problem is my reaction to it. So I began to try and shift the nature of my questions. Rather than asking “Why does this attention seeking trite bother me?” I asked myself “What could I do to make this better?” So often in our daily routine we get into a mindset that once other peoples behavior changes then we will be happy and that simply is not true. When your partner behaves exactly the way you want, and your boss stops putting the pressure on you and when there are no more people posting silly things on the internet, you will not suddenly become happy. You will be exactly who you are right now. If we do not learn to chill the response to blame other people we will always find someone to hang the blame on.

As we examine our judgement we see all kinds of things within the self. These things say quite a bit about us, and truly have nothing to do with the people we attach our judgement to. In my case I got on my high horse and believed I knew what was “best” for an individual. The reality of the situation is if you are feeling boxed in and frustrated by other peoples behaviors it is simply a reflection of our discomfort and dissatisfaction toward the relationship with them. It is a result of being incompatible. Rather than pushing others to obey a vague social contract you have in your mind or being resentful, what if you spent your time finding people with whom you fit?  I challenge you to find the things inside you that are of paramount importance, those values which are non negotiable, and then venture out to find people who also value similar ideas. And what about the folks you feel like a stranger with, or find yourself angry or resentful toward? Drop it like it’s hot. Move forward.

It is vitally important to ask yourself the hard hitting questions.(You will know when you have touched upon those questions when they begin to make you bit uncomfortable.) And if you find you let yourself off of the proverbial hook, it is worth it to hire a professional to assist. The people we surround ourselves with are a reflection of us. Does your social group reflect the kind of person you are striving to be? What sort of person do you want to be in a year? In five? What are you doing today to become that person? No, really i am curious. I want you to roll that around in your head. What did you do TODAY that is moving you toward your goals? If you answer is “Nothing” then right after you finish this article I challenge you to go out and put energy toward your goals. Not by thinking about them, not by complaining that you are not there yet, but real action. Go write, go paint, go study, go build. Whatever it is you need to do, stop putting it off. Stop writing sad posts on facebook, stop blaming. Go now. Run fast.

Resentment in Relationships: Prevention and Resolution

Resentment in Relationships: Prevention and Resolution


There is something very interesting which begins to occur in close relationships: resentment. You have heard the phrase that familiarity breeds contempt, well I think it is more along the lines of sweeping emotional responses under the proverbial rug breeds resentment. Resentment shows up when we hold onto emotional pain either through inability to forgive or through gaining something pleasurable through holding onto the issue. This can happen in many ways. Represented in a behavior all humans have; the avoidance of pain and turning toward pleasure.  Perhaps communication between you and your partner is not strong, so instead of approaching a conversation that is potentially painful at the moment people will bury emotional responses. Now this causes suffering later, and eventually you will have that conversation. And it is probably going to be painful and much more exaggerated than it would have been had it been addressed initially. That scenario is something I have seen countless times in all sort of relationships. It is something that should be taught in classes, or perhaps in pre-marriage counseling. So in light of this situation being so prevalent I present to you this weeks article: Prevention and Resolution of resentment in your relationships.

Think for a moment of something left unsaid between you and a partner, something that left a bad taste in your mouth. Perhaps it is something you decided for the sake of the relationships to swallow. This is incredibly common. When asked most people have no trouble bringing forth something they have left smoldering inside their mind. Resentment resides inside the mind and the longer it lives there the more our memories and inner balance become warped by that perspective. Our memories change and shift, especially when we recall them with a negative lens. What may have been a simple concern or a moment of disagreement can soon be perceived as an intentional dig at our person. And if this is left alone it become fuel for us, something that burns within us always, just waiting for a moment of weakness or wrongdoing in the other party so that we can finally fling our hurt upon them. So then they will feel as bad as we did. Hopefully worse.

Take a moment now and put that feeling of resentment out of your mind. It is not my intention for you to work yourself into a frenzy while reading my article. I want you to take a deep breath, and think about something really awesome. Like puppies. Now listen up: Becoming a martyr in your relationships(or anywhere really) will destroy them. Period. We tell ourselves stories in which we are always the hero, and often our resentment and hurts carry us along. We live for the times when a situation is emotionally charged enough so that we may finally unearth the apparatus that is our ire. And doing that makes you a jerk. Really, no two ways about it. If you hold on to emotional pay dirt waiting for a time in which it will have the most emotional effect on another person, that is a manipulative as shit. There is no judgement about this, we all act this way on occasion. I am here to challenge you to change this pattern of behavior. I challenge you to change the nature of your relationships, to stop the cycle of resentment.

The solution to prevent as well as resolve is simple on phrasing but tricky in practice. Communicate. Find a way to express yourself and communicate with the involved party. Now perhaps you have an anxiety reaction surrounding confrontation? I personally was raised in an environment which frowned upon expression of negative emotions. This is turn led to me perfecting the art of internalizing everything. And it has been quite a journey out of quiet burning anger and eventual freakouts to a much more healthy perspective. But for years anger lived in me, and fueled most of what I thought and did. What this turned into was a mess. I realized I resented anyone who stirred up anything remotely negative as far as emotions, and pretty soon all emotional responses got relegated to the “sort it out later” place in my head. The only way to free yourself from mental captivity is to express. Even if it is painful, or terrifying, or world shattering. I challenge you to begin the adventure of self expression in small ways and see where it takes you. Today when someone asks you what you prefer, tell them. If you normally default to the “I don’t know” or the “I don’t care”, I challenge you to eradicate those today. Take an interest in knowing what you want, in what you care about, and begin to chip away the apathy.
Emotions are not good or bad. They are just sensations. If you set your intention to a calm state of understanding there is so much to be learned from the introspection.

It takes bravery to communicate honesty. The world is filled with people who are experts at concealing their intentions and who pride themselves on being able to manipulate or move unseen through a series of circumstances. I am here to challenge you to take the scary route, to reach inside yourself and begin to have the intense conversations with those who are important to you. When we work in the realm of emotions we step outside the comfort zone and make ourselves vulnerable. That takes some incredible fortitude and I want to congratulate you on your journey so far. The next time someone says something that stings, or their actions injure you, I challenge you to express what you feel to them. Operate from a space of compassion, and practice the use of “I” statements. These are especially helpful in emotionally charged situations. For example: “When you do *insert action* then I feel *insert feeling*. This sort of languages takes the blaming aspect out of the conversation. Statements such as “You make me feel..” etc, only serve to intensify the conversation and does not operate from a goal oriented perspective. The purpose of expression and the resolution of resentment is not to blame others, it is not to get them to apologize, it is simply to express the hurt or anger before it is internalized. When you express yourself each time something like this happens, with the intention of simply communicating and not trying to change the other person, I promise the very nature of your relationships will change. Be brave and venture forth!

Find the Opportunities

Find the Opportunities


We spend an incredible amount of time planning for the perfect moment. Vast amounts of energy go waiting for the perfect lighting so we can say the perfect line so everyone will see how rad we are. Maybe you are waiting for that chick you like to drop a hint, or maybe you keep putting off getting back into dating until you lose twenty pounds.Or perhaps you are waiting for that jerk-wad at the office to take credit for your project again so you can feel totally okay with telling them off. How often do you say things like:

I will do it when

I don’t have time to

When I have done *insert task or life event here* then I will risk it.

I postulate there are no perfect moments. But there are some awesome opportunities. 

Perhaps in applying a shift in perspective you can begin to thrive in all of your moments. And in utilizing the opportunities, the moments become perfect. This week I challenge you to observe one situation you feel a bit stuck or you feel you have been putting off. And instead of approaching this situation as though it is something to be dealt with I want you to spend some time considering this as an opportunity. What would happen if you approached it this way? Would you feel less anxious in approaching other areas in this way? So for this week I would like you to find one opportunity. I want you to find one “problem” in your life currently and brainstorm how you can approach it as an opportunity. It all depends on how you perceive. I encourage you to take a small risk and change your perception a little bit.