One less constraint

I have always thought that the best way to figure out how to deal with people is to first figure out what makes them the way they are in the first place.

If anything it helps you feel less offended when people say something hurtful.

Because the truth is we struggle with communication so often because of how the interaction makes us feel when it goes wrong and it’s the taking it personal where we lose control of the outcome in almost every interaction.

I have spent my life reverse engineering how people end up the way they do in order to better understand their perspectives.

Understanding other perspectives is a great key in persuasive communication. The act of understanding has done more to allow people to come around and change their mind than any other tactic for negotiation.

Understanding other people’s perspectives isn’t just something that makes you sound like a person who cares about other people. It gives you great power to be able to get what you want in this world without force.

All of what we need will always require us to interact with other people. So why not do get the things you need without having to fight for it.

Life is full of constraints that you can’t control and the last constraint you want to have to overcome is one you place on yourself.

When we are not able to have productive conversations with other people we are killing off opportunities success and happiness at our own hand.

The starting place for understanding other people is always going to be your willingness to listen to listen to their perspectives before you make assumptions about them.

Give people the opportunity to express themselves and you will find that when it is your turn to talk you will get a lot further.

Be less inclined to be defensive and you will automatically become more receptive because you will see that most people’s unwillingness to do things is not about you at all.

It’s about this:

People want to cooperate with people who acknowledge them.

It isn’t what you ask of people that they make a decision on. It’s the way you listen to them before you ask them to cooperate.

I’m starting with the (wo)man in the mirror.

On this planet there is no us species versus a them alien species.

There is no other entity with some whole other set of biological and and sociological needs we have to fight over resources that can’t be shared.

We all want the same basic things from life.

We don’t want to die from viruses.

We don’t want to infect our neighbors, friends and family with viruses that could kill them.

We want to be able to go to work safely.

We want our lives to matter to other people.

We want to be understood.

Here is the issue:

Even though we know all of those things we are still fighting about how to make all of those things happen.

Cooperation requires communication and the missing link seems to be the give and take of the understanding and wanting to be understood part.

There is too much wanting to be understood and not enough wanting to understand.

Not just from this side or that side not trying to understand but from all sides not trying to understand.

When you are the one talking you won’t learn anything new.

When you riot or get angry you for sure won’t be understood in a way that will influence people to care about you.

When we go out and violate rights to gain rights- it won’t work.

Maybe if we stoped violating each other’s rights as an attempt to force being understood we would all be able to peacefully understand.

Your perception (input and what you witness) of the world around you forms your perspective (outlook and what you assume to be true).

But other people are perceiving things that you are not because they are living a different life in different skin and have different home lives etcetera.

This means that their outlook and perspective will be different and it will also mean you may never understand through personal experience what they know to be true.

So once again we come to the conclusion that empathy is what it takes to gain understanding. And empathy will always be understanding from a distance because you can’t live another persons experiences as them. You can only experience your own existence.

Just understand there are different realities of what day to day life is like for other people and you will be seeing through more empathetic and understanding eyes.

Language has everyone confused. Especially lately.

Everyone is just in desperate need of empathy because everyone is saying they want the same thing it just getting camouflaged because everyone is speaking at once and no one is listening.

Empathy has no political party.

Empathy is not gender specific.

Empathy is not racist.

Empathy is human.

Empathy is even logical.

Empathy starts in the mirror and it can heal the world.

Equally unafraid

When did this moment become an appropriate time to form assumptions of each other such as: if you are for the cause Black Lives Matter and want equality then you must also condone the destruction of small businesses, attacking business owners, and verbally/physically attacking all police officers?

All lives actually mattering is something we can only prove is a truth when we provide equal protection of all lives. And yes that means protecting our businesses and businesses owners when a riot takes place. It’s the protection of innocent life and what those lives build that coveys life’s worth and the protection of all should be happening. It doesn’t matter to me who starts an action that is started to harm innocent people. All people should be protected but that is the main issue here. All people have not been protected equally for a long time.

I haven’t spoken to one person who acted violent or thinks they have the right to loot/burn/beat down an innocent small business and business owner physically as a response to feeling that this country’s overdue responsibility to bring about equality has reached a boiling point. I have not heard that rational at all in my conversations.

I have unfortunately spoken to people who think the cause for equality is less important now that some protests have turned into riots.

If all you have to say to the CAUSE and the reason behind the protesting is that you can’t get behind the principle of it any longer because of the destruction that broke off parallel to the now almost 70 year old constructive tone the civil rights movement has carried- Its like the other side saying they can’t get behind ANY further laws or ANY policemen because of what some of those individuals have caused. But the other side isn’t saying that. The other side is saying let’s make changes the right way through voting, vetting, and exercising the rights we all have as citizens to enact appropriate change. It is a tone of pro-work, pro-follow the rules, do it the right way with a real plan and get real things done. We have to stop jumping to extremes when we make assumptions about what whole groups of people actually want.

The anger may be there from the weight of the oppression endured by inequality but it isn’t being displayed violently by the majority for the cause and it has never been the virtue of the cause for equality to get irrationally violent. For references on the virtues of the cause behind the Black Lives Matter movement google anything ever written or said by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Are you actually against this movement or are you against people having their businesses destroyed? If it is the latter and that means you care less now about equality because you lumped everyone into the “rioter” basket- you are as morally compromised as the rioters destroying innocent businesses. It also means in 7 days you have taken up a new extremely assumptive perspective and dismissed a cause that has been predominantly peaceful for decades when compared to the other “causes” we have undertaken as Americans.

Those of us who want to see the world become a safer place for everyone are already thinking what comes next? What comes after the protests end? Because that’s when the hard work begins. Anyone with a “what do we do next to fix this” mindset is focused on building and cultural creation and not on condoning further brutality and destruction.

Anger and finger pointing about rioting being wrong is loud enough for us all to hear and it deflects momentarily for some who probably don’t spend too much time contemplating the reason people are protesting in the first place.

People wanted to be heard and they should be heard because for most human beings when they feel unheard for a long time the very thing they need is to be HEARD and ACKNOWLEDGED. When we feel validated for feeling upset we tend to feel less inclined to act out physically. There is fulfillment and hope when we acknowledge someone else’s reality as real. But for those of you who can’t see WHY behind everything that is going on and can only see the WHAT (and mostly what has always been filtered for what we are shown) is going on, you are just isolating one part of a very complex issue and weaponizing small parts of a giant greater good to gaslight a reason for keeping things the way they have always been.

But I really don’t think the played out smoke and mirrors tactics will stop the right things from happening this time. Why? Because enough of us with the power to see a change through finally care to the extent that there is no fear holding us back and we are not threatened by equality.

When you no longer have fear then you are actually free.

Free to live and free to fight for the rights of others to live like you do.

No fear= Freedom

So since some still live in fear daily we don’t share and equal experience of “freedom” still in this free country.

How can anyone dismiss people living in daily fear in this country as the most important issue to correct and focus on in all of this?

When everyone is equally protected we can resume saying all lives matter because then it will be true. Right now we seem to be arguing about what lives matter more and it’s not the right argument to have.

Bringing a group up to equality doesn’t mean bringing another down to equalize. It just means the focus is on bringing up the group that is not being treated and protected the same as everyone else.

All lives matter (in theory)

“All lives matter” as a chant or on a poster is claiming my patience and my spirt. When I see those words, all I actually see is “I am white and my life matters too y’all” but we already know you feel that way Karen. Your life has always mattered Karen just like mine. Life (we can all ethically agree) matters.

It’s just that saying “all lives matter” in the middle of this moment is giving- ignorant and insulting to the very specific and undeniable racism at hand in this country. If you actually care about all lives then you will have no problem fighting for and identifying the group of people who are in danger for their lives. The fight is for Black lives. It’s not a hard concept it just requires some emotional intelligence.

African Americans have been singled out and terrorized repeatedly for years by racism. Period. The mistreatment of African Americans in this country has been an abomination for centuries -we just finally have it recorded on camera now.

We clearly don’t live in a world where we have acted like all lives matter or we wouldn’t be having to justify to anyone why you can’t murder and oppress people because you have some whacked emotional response the color of their skin.

Every decent person with a functioning brain and half a heart already knows conceptually that all life matters. However if all lives ACTUALLY mattered to everyone with the power to TAKE life then black lives would not specifically be the ones in danger and being taken would they?

It would be more appropriate to say all lives matter if the world around us actually ACTED like ALL lives matter. But we STILL don’t all act that way.

Until the injustice, oppression and murder stops we have to fight for the lives of the people who have not been treated like they matter equally in society. It’s Black lives that we are talking about right now- not all lives.

Equality means the bringing up of the marginalized to the fairness and safety the rest of us can peacefully enjoy. To do that we name the movement something that brings into full light the group we are fighting for (Black Lives Matter). If you don’t get that concept RIGHT NOW in the climax of this you probably never will.

It will take all of us who care about African American lives to make sure this becomes a safe world for not just the lives of our African American friends and the African Americans in our families today but also for the next generation of the African American Children of the future. All the other lives in current positions of power are not the ones in danger.

African Americans need to know that their lives matter to more than just each other. They need to know they matter to us. They need to feel loved, heard and protected before all of this separates all of us from people we love. That’s why we are saying Black Lives Matter. That’s why we are taking whatever actions each of us can to ensure that Black Lives Matter.

This is America. I love my country and I believe that we will all come together through this and anything else we are faced with. Let’s not argue over rhetoric and let’s get to work keeping this country great. Doing nothing is never an adult option but sometimes humans make it one and hope other people will do the work.

Except letting other people lead the charge doesn’t work or it would have worked in Rome, Germany, Jerusalem, Africa, Cambodia and so on. It took everyone to fight those battles. It still takes all of us and it will always take all of us.

White people: Pick a side and don’t hide behind fancy words or elaborate tit for tat excuses explaining why you can or can’t get behind equality.

Either stand up as a racist or stand against racism by how you treat people and how you act when you witness someone being mistreated. It’s very simple and it starts at home and in your circle of people you know and care for.

What oppression was overcome totally peacefully in the history of the world?

Answering that question doesn’t justify burning businesses down but it does shed some light on human behavior when people feel powerless.

What war against evil has been won without disruption?

Being a non racist isn’t good enough to help end racism and you may have to come out of your safe place and speak up when you witness something being done wrong.

White people with morals: look at your heritage and see that someone in your family tree also was oppressed at some point in history and fought to be treated fairly. Also realize that the oppressed never get equality with out the help of the people who no longer oppressed.

Jewish people do you understand what it is like to be oppressed? Yes you do.

Italian people do you understand that it hurt your immigrant family to be treated like a second class citizen when they got here?

Cambodian people?

Irish people?

Ask your grandparents who their parent’s parents were and you will find that the blood flowing through your veins is directly related to people who were oppressed somewhere in history.

Have a heart. Have some guts. When did the human race get so weak that all we have is a finger to point instant of two legs to stand on and fight for what is right. Buck up.

What is my point? My point is that not anyone on this planet is unrelated to a group of people who was not prevented from being given the benefit of the doubt at some point.

Not one human being comes from a lineage of people who never once had to struggle. Lucky you if your ancestors fought for you 200 years ago but if you are also now alive during the inequality others are experiencing so then be worthy of what your family tree once fought to gain for you and stand up for someone else.

Educate yourself and realize that if you are breathing you are always in the middle of history and that right now it is our turn to make things better. Black, White, Yellow, and Brown and we have thousands of years of human history with dead ancestors dying to know what in the entire hell is still the problem? It’s not 1890, 1920 or 2019 we have no excuse to think that doing nothing ever helps anything.

What are you going to do?



Figuring it out


You can’t exactly live without it.

And sometimes it’s possible get so upset with it that you feel like you can’t live with it.

What a colossal oxymoron.

But the reality is, you have to keep trying and living with it to keep on the pursuit of happiness.

It sort of goes with the territory of pursuing-figuring it out.

But maybe it’s time to stop trying to be so impatient while figuring it out.

It’s not like there is just one way to do it.

In fact, there are many ways to do and figure out what to do about the things we go through as we go through life.

And even if you feel like you have found a good path to take and that you have figured it all out…

The world can still throw a pandemic or an economic crisis in the way of your plan.

Something out of your control.

That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the possibility of better times and good times with people we love is what we all strive and keep trying for.

Maybe figuring life out is really about figuring out how to find happy moments as we re-adjust and move forward in the stop-and-go parts of life.

There are countless examples that show that figuring out how to be happy is less about the things you chose to do and more about how you adjust to the things that happen.

Because you can be sure things will go wrong.

And you can also be sure that if you keep adjusting and trying-things will go right again.

Since the universal goal we all share is to find happiness we may as well find happiness in the figuring it out.

Until we figure it out.

A conversation about how you feel is not supposed to end in an argument

Voltaire said: “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms”.

An argument is defined as: an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.

In a conversation about how you feel there can be no other feeler of your feelings because only you can discern and speak on how you feel.

No opposite view is applicable.

What is your’s is not someone else’s to give you and the best example of something that is your’s are your feelings.

No one else can tell you how you feel.

You are the only owner of your feelings because only you can experience your emotions.

Any argumentative response to you expressing how you feel isn’t appropriate in a conversation.

Other people can have an opinion (and their own feelings) on why you may feel the way you do but no one can argue that you are feeling that way.

Also, no one should ever tell you how you should feel and expect you to want to talk about your feelings to them again.

It’s a vulnerable thing to talk about feelings and if someone doesn’t have enough respect to acknowledge your feelings for what they are-end the discussion.

Another person can wish or desire that you didn’t feel a way but in terms of challenging your reality of what you feel, no.

No one ever has the right to tell you what to feel because it’s rude and it’s oppressive.

Typically if an argument happens during a conversation where you are sharing what you feel it is because the person you are talking to is taking it personally that you feel the way you are expressing.

That means they are making your feelings about them and that is never appropriate or helpful.

Feelings are not up for debate and sharing them is not supposed to end in a fight.

When someone reacts argumentatively to you telling them how you feel it’s really their own personal problem they are experiencing.

They can get argumentative out of frustration because they do not want you to feel the way you do (especially if it is something they did to cause you to feel this way) or it’s because they feel they should be the one receiving attention and understanding for something they are feeling instead of you.

In this second case it is often that they want you to care more about how your feelings are impacting their feelings than you do about your own feelings and they want you to turn your attention back to them.

Note in the second scenario you may be talking to a narcissist because narcissists tend to get emotionally frustrated anytime you make things about anyone other than them.

And in either case an argumentative response from them is still not appropriate because the purpose of the conversation you started was an attempt to gain some understanding from the person you are talking to so they can understand how you feel, not argue about it right?

When you express your feelings it isn’t up for debate how you feel and it’s not opinion based because the topic (you) is also the only one who can feel first hand how you feel.

Only the person experiencing themselves can have the feeling. Nothing to argue about.

A feeling belongs to one person and it can only be shared in terms of expressing it and describing it.

Nothing has been presented to argue about.

When someone tells us how they feel the appropriate response is to listen, say something that indicates we have understood what was said, and then ask how we can help them feel differently moving forward.

Once we have listened and worked through the conversation then we have the opportunity to also talk about anything we are feeling.

An argument arises when a person expressing how they feel is interrupted by someone who is trying to debate them or blame them for how they feel instead of acknowledging the validity of how they feel.

Getting offended by how someone feels is emotionally unintelligent and it needs to be understood that when someone is expressing themselves it is about them talking and it is for the other person to do the listening and not change the topic to themselves by arguing. otherwise it becomes two people talking at each other and that isn’t a conversation.

Truth without compassion is brutal and blunt.

We have all withnessed someone who disclosed an important sensitive message without compassion and it was just a brutal and blunt.

The virtue that comes along with being transparent is only a virtuous thing to do when it is done through good intention and in good taste.

Your Intention is felt with the words you choose and the way you present what you are saying.

The truth can be morally correct to tell someone or it can be evil and hurtful. The difference will be felt in your delivery which will always reveal the reasons why you felt the truth should be told.

Telling the truth is not what makes someone respectable. The truth is the truth and telling it flat does not carry respect by default.

The when, where, how, why and the way it is done- it all matters.

Compassion and virtue can only be claimed as the purpose for telling the truth when you deliver it with empathy.

When you deliver a message that will hurt someone or disrupt something and you don’t go about it empathetically then you are just weaponizing the truth and you are kidding yourself if you do that and call yourself moral.

And some people even blurt out things on purpose to inflict pain.

Either way it’s wrong to do it without compassion and everybody will know it’s wrong because of the way it was done.

If you use the truth as an excuse to hurt somebody else be it personal or business because your feelings got hurt along your path and you decide to use that as an excuse to be compassionless- that’s called revenge.

It is reckless and inappropriate and it will end up hurting people.

That makes the truth behind the intent worse than a lier who lies for the sake of compassion.

If you ever chose to not take special care when delivering important messages you can’t expect your message to be respected.

There are consequences to everything.

Even (and especially) when telling the truth.

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