Search This Blog

Live each day as if it were your last. Someday, you'll be right.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guilt "Lite"

I am so conscientious that I feel guilty about every failing, real or perceived. Do you want to move through life guilt free? BE PERFECT!!!
If contrite for our mistakes, everyone should be allowed a second chance.
In the event that you are unable to achieve perfection, try my guilt "lite" recipe for life. If you are doing the best you can, you are absolved of firsthand guilt. You can always shift whatever vestiges of guilt remaining to your upbringing: parents, grandparents, ancestry, genes, etc. Secondhand guilt is much easier to deal with. I coin it, "guilt lite." First of all, much of what I feel guilty for is just basic human error. This side of heaven, it's pretty easy to come into contact with. 
Kidding aside, WHY do I feel so much guilt? Did I get it all from my forebears? I think I may have interpreted what was expected of an exemplary human being in my own way and then created rules for living based on a super-hero image of what my life should look like. 
If I don't cut myself some slack, who will? If I accept that I should be perfect, should I blame everyone else for expecting that of me? 
I'm bringing my best every day. If my conscience is messed up, does that mean my performance suffers? 
It will if you don't allow yourself to be human. In this technological age, it's easy to think everything should be accomplished to perfection. But you've no doubt heard the phrase, "garbage in; garbage out." Even with all our technological advances, we can't ensure perfection.
I have attempted to be perfect. All I have done is imperfect.
I will continue to attempt to be perfect. I will continue to make mistakes.
Is there a mathematical formula for contentment with this situation here? I'm not as good at math as english, so here's my solution:
When you do your best; be satisfied that you have done your best. What more can you do?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bad Apples

Bad Apples

We’ve all heard the saying “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” and have probably seen instances where it does apply to people, but does it actually happen with fruit?

Yes. As they ripen, some fruits, like apples and pears, produce a gaseous hormone called ethylene, which is, among other things, a ripening agent. When you store fruits together, the ethylene each piece emits prods the others around them to ripen further, and vice versa. (Fun tip: Want to quickly ripen an avocado? Stick it in a paper bag with an apple overnight.)

The riper a piece of fruit is, the more ethylene it produces, and overripe fruit gives off even more ethylene, eventually leading to a concentration of the gas that’s enough to overripen all the fruit. Given the right conditions and enough time, one apple can push all the fruit around it to ripen—and eventually rot.

Additionally, an apple that is infested with mold will contaminate other fruit it’s stored with as the mold seeks additional food sources and spreads. In both cases, it actually does take just one single apple to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch.

Read the full text here:  –brought to you by mental_floss!

I usually eat an apple a day. Fuji apples are my favorite. When I buy a nice big bag, I check to make sure none of the apples inside have bruises on them. When I get my nice bag of fragrant, crisp apples home, I open the bag and put the apples into my fruit basket. Once in a while, one apple with a mushy spot will sneak in. The trick is to remove it quickly and wash the rest of the apples that it touched. The longer you leave the bad apple in with the rest, the more likely you will end up with an entire spoiled batch.
The bad apple analogy has spread into psychology and organizational psychology.
How one bad apple can create a toxic team
Even if you have an entire bag of beautiful, crisp, fragrant, ripe apples, if there is one rotten apple in the bunch, it will infect the good apples. It doesn’t matter if you put the bag in a nice environment, like a cool refrigerator. The bad apple is the determiner of how the rest of the apples will end up. I can be the happiest, most productive apple in the bunch, but if that bad apple’s gasses touch me day after day…well, you know the rest. 
Give apples a chance.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


There are things in my life I wish I'd done differently. But then, I couldn't have done them differently without the knowledge that I have now. I need to forgive myself. I need those who were affected by my life choices to forgive me. I need to take my lessons and move on.

"Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future." ~Lewis B. Smedes

There are things that others have done to me that have hurt me deeply. I have borne the pain of their deception, betrayal, evil, oversight, thoughtlessness...

There's not much I can do about the actions of others, but my reactions to them are within my control. Yes, I can feel HURT. Yes, I can feel BETRAYED. Yes, I can cry. But the thing that I most absolutely, positively CANNOT do is STOP living my life and being authentic. If someone else is messed up, that doesn't stop me from growing and evolving.

What do you want to grow up to be?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Do-Over

Today I made mistakes. 

I hurt someone's feelings. 
I wasted time and money. 
I said something I shouldn't have. 
I lost my temper. 

I was impatient. I gained a pound. I overslept. I wished someone ill. I treated someone unfairly. 

I broke a promise. 

I didn't mean to. I wish I were perfect. 

Thankfully,  I get to start over again tomorrow. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
― Ralph Waldo EmersonCollected Poems and Translations


  [mi-steyk]  Show IPA noun, verb, mis·took, 
mis·tak·en, mis·tak·ing.
an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by 
poor reasoning, carelessness,insufficient knowledge, etc.
misunderstanding or misconception.
verb (used with object)
to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else: 
I mistook him for the mayor.
to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; 
misunderstand; misinterpret.
verb (used without object)
to be in error.

It's so easy to make a mistake. If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing anything! You're not trying anything new or taking any risks. 

Humans make mistakes. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to be better, but there isn't any value in beating yourself up for making a mistake. Just admit it, make amends and move on. 

I use the "undo" button on my computer all the time. It's not that way in real life. There is no "undo" button. You can't un-say something or un-hurt someone. There is no do-over button in life, but as long as there is breath, there is a new day. Do the right thing and embrace the

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gray Areas

Unless you squint your eyes, there are no gray areas.

I often feel like this: ‘she suffered from that common affliction of intellectuals: the ability to see all sides of an argument’.

It's black & white.

Is there an absolute answer? Yes? Then it's black or white. 

White or black...non-ambiguous. No argument or agonizing necessary.

Clear cut = unambiguous. The difference is easily understood.

Gray Area: a situation in which the rules are not clear, or in which you are not sure what is right or wrong

Black & white = Cut & dried. No going back. Done!

black and white 
Synonyms and related words:
North Pole, South Pole, antipodal points, antipodes, antipoints, antipoles, arc lighting, brouillon, cartoon, charcoal, charcoal drawing, chiaroscuro, contraposita, contrapositives, contraries, contrast, counterpoles, crayon, decorative lighting, delineation, design, diagram, direct lighting, doodle, draft, drafting, drawing, ebauche, electric lighting, enlightenment, esquisse, festoon lighting, floodlighting, fluorescent lighting, gaslighting, glow lighting, graph, highlights, illumination, incandescent lighting, indirect lighting, irradiation, light and shade, lighting, line drawing, night and day, opposite poles, opposites, overhead lighting, pastel, pen-and-ink, pencil drawing, polar opposites, poles, radiation, rough copy, rough draft, rough outline, silhouette, silver-print drawing, sinopia, sketch, sketching, spot lighting, stage lighting, strip lighting, study, tonality, tracing, vignette, writing, 

Opposites. Black. White. Opposites attract. What good would the black in this doodle be without the white spaces? You wouldn't be able to distinguish one from the other. How artistic is that?

The colors White and Black are widely used to depict opposites. Visually, white and black offer a high contrast. In western culture, white and black traditionally symbolize the dichotomy of good and evil, metaphorically related to light and darkness and day and night. The dichotomy of light and darkness appears already in the Pythagorean Table of Opposites.

Yes & No are Opposites. "Maybe" or "perhaps" don't really mean anything. They really mean that you are not committed to one thing or the other. You could change your mind at any time, depending on how you FEEL.

Some decisions have more white than black background or vice versa. 
gray area
Fig. an area of a subject or question that is difficult to put into a particular category because it is not clearly defined and may have connections or associations with more than one category.

gray area
Indeterminate territory, undefined position, neither here nor there. For example, There's a large gray areabetween what is legal and what is not This term, which uses gray  in the sense of "neither black norwhite" (or halfway between the two), dates only from the mid-1900s.

Main Entry:
opposite [op-uh-zit, -sit]  Show IPA
Part of Speech:noun
Definition:something completely unlike
Synonyms:another adverse, antilogy, antipode, antipole,antithesisantonym
contra, contradiction,contrarycontrastconversecounterpart
foil,inverse, obverse, oppositionother extreme,other side, 
other side of coin, paradoxreverse,vice versa
Notes:contrary  describes something that contradictsa proposition, 
converse  is used when theelements of a proposition are 
reversed ,opposite  pertains to that which is diametrically
opposed to a proposition, and reverse can meaneach of those

Decision making tools: Decision Making Tools from MindTools

Black & White Drawings by Lori Cotten

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Programs Running in the Background

My dad passed away over the holidays. 

We had an odd relationship but loved each other as best we could. I thought I was entering this new season of my life without him in a healthy way.

While at Happy Hour the other night with some of my favorite co-workers, I mentioned that I was having trouble concentrating, crying randomly and making lots of little mindless errors. It took the IT Director to put it all in perspective for me.

You have programs running in the background.

That was all I needed to cut myself a little slack.

You hear about the "stages of grief" like there are some neat little steps you go through and then you are finished.

"Relationships are all very unique. We can never really know what two people mean to one another. When we diagnose grieving, we assume some special knowledge about a relationship that we have had no part of. Though diagnosing actual mental illness can provide a benefit to patients, I am dubious of those in psychology and medicine that feel a need to label and categorize grief."

Wherever humans are involved, there is a certain amount of messiness. Our empirical wisdom makes it obvious that each of us is different. We may share some basic similarities but even our points of reference cause these to surface in our lives uniquely.   Another one of my blog entries on empirical wisdom.

" Claiming knowledge based on an external authority distances us from these problems and eliminates the messiness that is part of being   it maintains the illusion of human perfectibility and scientific 'progress.' The time and energy spent debating tools and techniques - the so-called methodism or methods fetishism - keeps researchers from engaging  these other, highly problematic issues. An unyielding procedural 'rigor' that enables claims to 'objective' knowledge keeps researchers from having to relinquish a shop-worn distinction between body and mind that is increasingly blurred; from seeing that the source of research authority is vested in and regulated by communal discourse; and from being accepting of a knowledge whose character is neither absolute nor universal, but deeply, unremittingly human, and therefore potentially flawed. A human science, mired in human infallibility, renders us firmly in our humanity." Interpretation And Method: Empirical Research Methods And the Interpretive Turn  By Dvora Yanow, Peregrine Schwartz-Shea p. 83 

"Perhaps the stage theory of grief caught on so quickly because it made loss sound controllable. The trouble is that it turns out largely to be a fiction, based more on anecdotal observation than empirical evidence. Though Kübler-Ross captured the range of emotions that mourners experience, new research suggests that grief and mourning don’t follow a checklist; they’re complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process—sometimes one that never fully ends. Perhaps the most enduring psychiatric idea about grief, for instance, is the idea that people need to “let go” in order to move on; yet studies have shown that some mourners hold on to a relationship with the deceased with no notable ill effects. (In China, mourners regularly speak to dead ancestors, and one study has shown that the bereaved there suffer less long-term distress than bereaved Americans do.) At the end of her life, Kübler-Ross herself recognized how far astray our understanding of grief had gone. In “On Grief and Grieving,” she insisted that the stages were “never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages.” If her injunction went unheeded, perhaps it is because the messiness of grief is what makes us uncomfortable." Read more:
 I've decided to just let it work itself out. I'm going easy on myself and not expecting to follow any particular pattern of grief.

DadI'm sad that you're gone. I love you. I know you were human and made mistakes. You were a fellow traveler in this life and I do not judge you. As you said in a note to me and my brother, "See y'all in heaven."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Alone does not equal lonely

Embrace your time alone!

One of the many benefits of having several different personalities and voices reside in your psyche is that you are never alone. Someone, always very accepting and understanding is always there to hear you out and commiserate with you on any given topic.

"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." ~ Wayne Dyer

Perhaps you are trudging along trying to make it through the day. When you embrace all of your potentialities, you have the benefit of many forms of pep talk. These can be adhered to according to your specific mind-set at the time of need.

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company." ~ Jean Paul Sartre

According to a popular song, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...Just me, myself, and I..." That's all you can take to the bank with you, really...just YOU


At some point in your life, you will need to decide whether or not you have hard-core beliefs or probable ideas. If you are open, you will be able to embrace relationships with so many others, even if they are only fleeting. You can gain your lessons and move on, or redefine your partnership for further growth. Before we mature, we don't understand this. We think that every relationship makes or breaks us and that each one should last forever in its initial form.

When we can embrace life and rejoice in its lessons, we can be comfortable with the transient nature of experiences and relationships.

Perhaps it (your relationship) will blossom one night per year. Perhaps it will encompass many generations. Put in the energy you wish to get out of it and you will continue spreading new perspectives and experiences that will come back to further enrich you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Who Wants to be a SUCKER???

We all want to believe that the people in our lives whom we love are always honest and above-board with us. We would be appalled to believe that they might "lie" to us in order to gain our sympathy or help, or take advantage of us for their own personal gain, no matter what the cost to us (sometimes, in these instances we are referred to as "sucker"s).

Two Basic Types of Aggression

There are two basic types of aggression: overt-aggression and covert-aggression. When you're determined to have something and you're open, direct and obvious in your manner of fighting, your behavior is best labeled overtly aggressive. When you're out to "win," dominate or control, but are subtle, underhanded or deceptive enough to hide your true intentions, your behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive. Now, avoiding any overt display of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into giving you what you want is a powerfully manipulative maneuver. That's why covert-aggression is most often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation.   ~

Be mindful of those who would try to manipulate you. Unfortunately, it’s those who are closest to us who have the greatest edge when it comes to “yanking our chains” or “gaining our sympathy.”

Manipulation is a mind game used for the purpose of controlling others. SOMETIMES, it can be an unintentional thing. But oftentimes, the manipulation is diabolically intentional.  


What are the techniques
these manipulative people use in their interactions with us?

Scaring The Hell Out of You: The Fear-Then-Relief Procedure

What it is: Arguably the most evil manipulative technique is what psychologists call the "fear-then-relief technique." The technique preys on a person's emotions. Here, the manipulator causes someone a great deal of stress or anxiety and then abruptly relieves that stress. After this sudden mood swing, the person is disarmed, less likely to make mindful or rational decisions, and more likely to respond positively to various requests.
Examples: The book The Science of Social Influence details a few experiments that showed this in action. In one, shoppers in a mall were scared by a stranger touching their shoulder from behind. When they turned around, the shoppers found that their assailant was a (supposed) blind man who just wanted to ask the time. After that deflection and relief, someone else—the fake blind man's confederate—asked the targets if they would buy and sign postcards for a political charitable cause. Those who had met the blind man and experienced the fear-then-relief rollercoaster were more likely to do so than the control group which wasn't manipulated.
This fear-then-relief manipulation technique is most popularly portrayed in the classic bad cop/good cop routine: one person scares the hell out of you, another saves you, and then you're more willing to talk. You see this in everyday life, too—from the fear tactics of insurance agents to bad managers who suggest your job is on the line, backtrack, and then ask you to work overtime. Photo byjabneyhastings

Making You Feel Guilty: Social Exchange

What it is: One strategy con artists and unethical marketers use is simply called "social exchange." The book The Dynamics of Persuasion describes it as:
an interpersonal persuasion strategy in which Person A provides Person B with a tangible or psychological reward; in exchange, when Person A approaches B with a request for compliance, B feels pressure to comply.
Exchanging favors and doing things for others is a basic part of human society, but this can be manipulated by aggressive people.
Examples: A co-worker could remind you about that time they bailed you out big time in the past, then use that as leverage every time he/she needs something. Or someone who loaned you money or knows a secret of yours could continually blackmail you into doing what they want (a subject we've covered extensively). Photo by Jhayne

Priming You With a Small Request: The Foot-in-the-Door Technique

What it is: This manipulation technique is evil because it's so tricky, subtle, and simple. With the foot-in-the-door method, someone asks you to do a very small and easy request and then follows up with the real request.
Three of The Easiest Ways to Manipulate People into Doing What You WantExamplesNPR gives an example of a panhandler who asks you for the time, then asks you to spare a buck. By getting you to say yes to one request, you're more likely to say yes to a second one. Photo by clarity

Avoiding These Manipulations

Just knowing about manipulative techniques can help you avoid falling victim to them. For the fear-then-relief technique, for example, be on the lookout whenever you feel a surge in negative and then positive emotions. You're more vulnerable at that time to do things mindlessly and at the suggestion of others. Watch out for statements that follow this general formula:[Something terrible] could have happened to you, but it [didn't/won't]. [Now do this]. These aren't the only ways someone could trick you into saying yes, of course, but they are some of the more common—just keep an eye out, stay on your toes, and you should be able to spot when someone's trying to pull a fast one.
Here are some other tried-and-true ways to get people who trust you to do what you want:
OUCH, it hurts to be manipulated by the people you thought loved and/or cared about you!
How to Tell if Someone is Manipulating You

Manipulative Techniques
by Anita Anand

How do you tell if someone is a manipulator? Or if you yourself have manipulative tendencies? Simon identified the following manipulative techniques:

• Lying: It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time, although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimise the chances of being lied to, is to understand that some 
personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways.

• Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda.

• Denial: The manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.

• Rationalisation: An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behaviour. 

• Minimisation: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalisation. The manipulator asserts that his or her behaviour is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting – for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.

• Selective inattention or selective attention: The manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like “I don't want to hear it.”

• Diversion: The manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.

• Evasion: Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague, and weak responses.

• Covert intimidation: The manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect, or implied) threats.

• Guilt tripping: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.

• Shaming: The manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, and subtle sarcasm.

Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.

• Playing the victim role (“poor me”): The manipulator portrays himself or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke 
compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.

• Blaming the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.

• Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause. For example saying, he is acting in a certain way for ‘obedience’ and ‘service’ to 
God or a similar authority figure.

• Seduction: The manipulator uses charm, praise, flattery or overtly supports others, in order to get them to lower their defenses, and give their trust and loyalty to him or her.

• Projecting the blame (blaming others): The manipulator often finds scapegoats, in subtle, hard-to-detect ways.

• Pretending innocence: The manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or did not do something that they were accused of. The manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment, and possibly his own sanity.

• Pretending confusion: The manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what you are talking about, or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention.

• Brandishing anger: The manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets angry when denied.

Anand, A., (2012) Personal Growth - The Manipulation Trap: Are you a victim? Retrieved on October 18, 2012 from

It is embarrassing for an intelligent person to admit they have fallen prey to another's manipulative behavior. 

It is difficult to comprehend that someone who is loved or in an inner circle of confidentiality would disregard another's feelings or dignity, which makes me wonder if those who manipulate in this way aren't SOCIOPATHS:

People suffering from sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, may display a wide range of behaviors associated with the disorder, which generally causes them to have an overall disregard for the needs and rights of others. One of the primary symptoms of sociopathy is chronic lying, which is often used to manipulate others. Sociopaths do not feel guilt or remorse for hurting other people, though they are often superficially charming and likable. They typically see themselves as superior to other people, and have a general disregard for societal norms and rules. They also tend to be impulsive, making irresponsible decisions and engaging in behaviors that hurt other people.
Pathological lying is one of the symptoms of sociopathy that most patients display. Sociopaths are highly manipulative and will do anything to get others to do what they want. This often includes lying, either directly or by pretending to think or feel things they really do not. In most cases, they are extremely convincing and able to fool others into believing them.
A lack of feeling of regret or shame is another of the symptoms of sociopathy. People with the condition often use or hurt other people for their own benefit and have no concern for how this makes them feel. They themselves typically only feel very shallow emotions, and are not really capable of loving others; they are also not usually capable of empathy and in fact show scorn for emotion in others. They are often good at pretending to be pleasant and likable, however, and can typically mask their true nature when interacting with people.
Most people with sociopathy are highly egocentric, with an inflated sense of superiority. They consider themselves to be better than everyone else, which typically means they have little regard for the rules and ethics of society. Their behavior often reflects an overall scorn for societal norms, and an overall sense of entitlement due to their idea that they are superior to others.
Another of the symptoms of sociopathy is impulsivity and irresponsibility. Many sociopaths will make decisions quickly, with little or no regard to the consequences, as long as they get what they want at the time. This can lead them to engage in dangerous or damaging behaviors such as doing drugs, being sexually promiscuous, or physically abusing others. In many cases, sociopaths have a history of juvenile delinquency associated with engaging in these types of reckless behaviors.