Enlightened Conflict

the false comparison trap

May 30th, 2017

compare-iridescent-person-colorful-special

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“As with events, so it is with thoughts. When I watch that flowing river pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am a pensioner; not a cause, but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water.”

 

—–

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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“The sphinx must solve her own riddle.

If the whole of history is in one man, it is all explained from individual experience.”

 

——

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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“Comparisons are a shit way of evaluating things.”

 

—-

Bruce McTague

 

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So.

 

life explained tat awkward moment birth deathWe LOVE using the past to try and explain shit. Past people, past events, past words and past … well … everything.

When we are faced with something new, or someone new, we immediately start sifting through the scrap heap of the past to start creating some semblance of a jig saw puzzle to explain what we are facing.

 

There are a number of problems with doing this.

 

The biggest is that scraps are scraps. Oh. And the scraps used to reside in a completely different context <which is impossible to recreate>.

 

And, yet, we continue to try.

The problem is that in doing so we elect to not judge the present on the merits of the present. We decline to judge a person as they are, the circumstances as they are and the decisions on the merits of what it is. We do this with everyone and everything … how money is spent, decisions we need to make, new people we have met and even leaders. We do it all partially well intended <we want to make sure we make a fair assessment of hat we are seeing & hearing> and partially because simply examining something and stating “this is good” or “this is bad” <or acceptable or unacceptable> seems … well … flimsy.

 

Comparisons tend to make things look more solid.  And, yet, we tend to absolutely suck at creating the proper comparisons.

 

And, that happens for a variety of reasons – also some well-intended and some not so well intended.

 

I will start with the well intended.

 

As Emerson once wrote: “our being is descending into us from know not whence.” And we struggle with that truth. It makes us uncomfortable … uhm … no … REALLY uncomfortable.

If we don’t know where things descend from then we begin to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find comparisons to do so. this all comes at the expense of judging what is, the beings and such, on the merits of what exists. And this is where the shit hits the fan. We either dip into our own memories or a slew of people start telling us what memories to take a look at <the latter is part of the not so well intended>.

 

Well.

 

Here is an unfortunate fact … our memories, which is how we tend to judge and create mental comparisons, are constructive and reconstructive

 

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“Many people believe that memory works like a recording device.

pico memory key thumb drive

…….. our memory chip ……..

You just record the information, then you call it up and play it back when you want to answer questions or identify images. But decades of work in psychology has shown that this just isn’t true.

Our memories are constructive.

They’re reconstructive.

Memory works a little bit more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people. “

 

Elizabeth Loftus

 

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“You can ask the universe for all the signs you want, but ultimately, we see what we want to see when we’re ready to see it.”

 

——

(via 1112pm)

 

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We desperately want to define things through comparison and continuously ask the universe for signs to show us what we want.

 

We desperately do so because in the absence of some comparison we would then have to judge what is on the merits of what exists — the good, the bad and the indifferent .

 

That doesn’t mean a shitload of people around you aren’t gonna try and affect how you will build your comparisons and encourage you to compare in some fairly creative <sometimes absurd> ways.

 

What do I mean?

 

I go back to the psychologist Ebbinghaus who studied memory construction <his published essay Über das Gedächtness in 1885> where he realized that memory and recall of continuous passages of prose or verse would be affected differentially by people’s experiences and prior knowledge.

Memory is a snare, pure and simple; it alters, it subtly rearranges the past to fit the present.

 

Mario Vargas Llosa

 

 

What that actually means is that the memory you tap into to create the my-worst-enemy-is-my-memory-projectcomparisons you seek are slightly mangled by yourself <in how you remember it> and can be manipulated by devious not so well intended people around you.

 

The Constructive and reconstructive nature of memory:

 

  • Memories are distributed; not unitary

 

  • “remembering” involves retrieving and reassembling

 

  • memories can be revised over time

 

  • Reconstruction is filling in “missing details” on the basis of logic, assumptions, what “must have been the case”

 

  • More common reasons for forgetting: Lack appropriate retrieval cue = something you attach to a memory, can use to recover it>

 

  • Reliable retrieval cues are key to access <and multiple retrieval cues are best>

 

  • Existence of older memories blocks access to newer ones

 

Ah.

If only we could pull out our brain and use only our own eyes.

But, not surprisingly, this is the exact same issue new ideas, “white space” theories, fresh thinking, true <not made up> disruptive people & things face.

 

All tat said. I will point out that something doesn’t have to be truly new to face false comparison challenges … it can simply be a new person in an existing role or a common problem or question just in a different time.

 

Suffice it to say anything new, or any change, is being asked to be defined by the past. And there will never be a lack of people stepping up and suggesting they can define something through a variety of comparisons <many of which you spend more time trying to fend off than is worth the time>.

explain with rational mind

This is a mistake. This is a fundamental error we make. It assumes what is can somehow be extrapolated by something by what was <the past>. In reality, as I have noted numerous times, I cannot exactly extrapolate the past because I cannot exactly replicate the past … which means <in harsh terms> there is nothing there and nothing from nothing is … uhm … nothing.

Yeah.

Most comparisons end up meaning nothing <although they look like something>.

Yeah.

This means most comparisons we create are just plain and simple false comparisons.

 

Without trying to be flippant with regard to what I believe is a fairly standard operating procedure for people … we need to stop. Stop false comparisons.

It is a trap.

And a dangerous trap.

 

Comparisons normalize that which should not be normalized … just as comparisons can de-normalize that which should be normalized.

False comparisons wielded by the devious can construct almost any “normal” you could desire <even if it is hollow & not really normal>.

 

Anyway.

 

In today’s world there does seem like there is a lot of crazy shit happening. And in our desire to veer away from the “crazy shit” feeling we seek some comparisons to normalize the situation <thereby calming the ‘crazy shit feeling>.

 

Just a couple of notes of warning on that.

 

<a> Finding comparisons, if done well, you can actually be convinced there really isn’t crazy shit happening even though there is truly some crazy shit easter crazy kidshappening.

 

As a corollary to <a>,

 

<b> if there is truly some crazy shit happening there will be no shortage of people ponying up false comparisons trying to convince you that there is no crazy shit happening <and some of them will be quite effective>.

 

The only reason I point out the warning is that there really is some crazy shit happening and we need to stop finding comparisons to make today, and some people, look a little less crazy than it really is.

 

There you go.

 

I will end where I began … “Comparisons are a shit way of evaluating things <and people>.”

We should invest the energy judging what is, people, ideas and things, based on their present merits not some false comparisons from the past.

 

that we contain our own future

March 26th, 2017

 look-to-the-future-principles-telescope-view-past-older

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“Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward.”

 

—-

Abraham Verghese

 

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“It’s the one thing we never quite get over: that we contain our own future.”

 

 

Barbara Kingsolver

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So.

 

Thinking about what legacy you want to leave behind can make you start thinking a little bit about what you may want to stubbornly stand for and demand of Life … and what you may decide to compromise with Life to insure you have something … some progress to show at the end.

 

A significant part of this grand bargain we negotiate with Life is how we decide to compromise with those around us and those who affect the arc of our lives.

 

Ah.

 

That word “compromise.”

 

Therein lies maybe one of the most difficult topics of the current generation.

 

The topic is that the concept of compromise … meeting someone half way … is now a nebulous concept.

death of compromise

Why?

 

Because I am not sure I know where the hell half way is.

 

And I tend to believe a shitload of people are standing with me, on one side or the other, not really sure where the hell half way is.

 

And if you cannot even see the middle ground how the hell can you figure out how to make a stand on it?

 

Now.

 

This gets compounded by a massive online communal world in which we all live side by side where even the marginalized people <real or perceived> who now have a place to gather into likeminded groups, share as much a space as mainstream views.

For good, or for bad, online any group of people can organize & mobilize & challenge the status quo … or pick & choose which status quo fits their view.

 

The internet amplifies discourses critical of … well … any status quo you can think of.  And, as anyone could expect, all the critical discourse triggers a corresponding equal backlash from those who fear an uprooting of their beliefs the nature of compromise miserable<and the self identities that are inevitably attached to these beliefs>.

 

It just becomes one huge mosh pit of criticism and cocooning of likeminded people.

 

People … all who are angry.

 

Within all of this situation & anger … it seems like no one is civil to one another. And maybe worse is the fact there is this ‘digging in’ aspect where we refuse to see any merit in other people’s opinions.

 

Sadly, I can only conclude that we have lost the ability to converse, discuss, debate and have a dialogue with one another.

 

It seems obvious <at least to me> but if we could figure out how to come together and compromise, that we could go a long way toward not only creating a better version of society in general … but it may give me, and all of us, at least a fighting chance with regard to where we make our own personal stand … and where we compromise … and how we attain the future that we contain.

 

As long as people cling to unbending attitudes & beliefs, the divides between us will not deepen … but will remain an unbridgeable divide.

 

I tend to believe most of us want better that that.

I tend to believe most of us would be willing to work to make this a better and more civil world to live in.

 

And if you do not embrace this thinking?

 

I would remind everyone that America is representative of a great compromise. The U.S. Constitution is possibly the greatest Compromise ever negotiated <it created a nation>.

 

 

But as a first step to bettering this entire situation we need to figure out how to better define Compromise.

 

compromise not an act weaknessFar too many loudmouthed people have ripped the meaning out of the word,  twisted the value of the word making it seem valueless, and ultimately created an environment in which  we demonize the entire process of trying to reach compromise.

Compromise no longer means understanding your differences and working together toward a common goal but now it seems to represent weakness, losing and not being strong enough to get what you want.

 

This unwillingness to work together has wrought havoc to society where the unwavering stance seems to be “don’t compromise, stick to your guns, don’t give in to the other side”.

 

Sigh.

 

Look.

 

I find it hard to believe that the majority of America is really that selfish and that stubborn.

 

Sure. I know the people most passionate about any issue tend to be the ones less willing to compromise on them.

And, yeah, I would guess most of us are fairly passionate about ourselves – what we decide to stand for … as well as what we will decide to sacrifice within compromise to attain some progress.

 

But within this wacky world where no one seems to want to compromise anything on anything … well … shit … some of us are trying to think a little bit about what you may want to stubbornly stand for and demand of Life … and what you may decide to compromise with Life to insure you have something … some progress to show at the end.

 

It seems like the situation we are in has arisen because we have permitted the stubborn voices of the radical marginalized <real and perceived> to drown out the pragmatic voices of realistic positive compromise.

 

If we want society to start working again we need to embrace compromise — and let it retain the positive definition which has served it well through time.

 

To end this I will go back to the beginning.

 

The “I” aspect.

 

I tend to believe all of us, with the intent of finding the best version of ourselves from which our ultimate legacy will be defined, will seek to find the balance of being stubborn and demand that Life bend to us and our principles and compromise where we make a grand bargain with Life in order to continue progressing.

 

Uhm.

 

If we believe this … then why wouldn’t we want this in Life and in business and in politics and in … well … everything.

 

There was a book that discussed this. In The Spirit of Compromise <Amy Gutsman and Dennis Thomson> they note that Americans support general compromise as an idea and like the idea of ‘other people’ working together to get stuff done <statistics support this in a variety of studies & polls>.

 

Oh shit.

 

However.

 

The authors then note that support for compromise breaks down when it addresses specific issues <Americans are much less likely to support a compromise life good want you theycompromise on a specific issue>. As with most things in Life we enthusiastically embrace the conceptual behavior and balk at the actual behavior.

 

Compromise is complex … and simple.

 

What I do know is that we contain our own future and building that future demands that we will have to make some compromises.  That is simple.

Making the specific choices is complex.

And while I am mostly interested in my own future and making my own compromise choices … I tend to believe we would all find the better version of ourself contained within … if the society as a whole were more willing to refind the value in compromise.

 

pushing thru it

September 15th, 2016

pushing-thru-it-exercise

 

 

“It just wasn’t a big deal to me.

 

This was an ailment that many people just power through and that’s what I thought I would do as well. I didn’t want to stop, I didn’t want to quit campaigning, I certainly didn’t want to miss the 9/11 memorial.

 

It didn’t work out so well.

 

So I got the antibiotics up and going, got the rest that I needed, and we’re going on from there.”

 

Hillary Clinton and her pneumonia

 

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I admit.

 

push-through-bad-daysI am slightly baffled by the huge kerfuffle over Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia.

 

Isn’t what she did … well … basically what you & I and every working person in the world does? We push thru whatever is ailing us until what ails us forces us to stop <or it goes away magically which is what most of us hope for>.

 

Now.

 

Clinton, or how any of us act, <disregarding doctor advice & pushing thru it> must be maddening to doctors.

 

In fact … the numbers I found suggest doctors must live a life of constant frustration.

 

Patient noncompliance is an epidemic, estimated to affect 20% to 30% of short-term therapies, 50% to 60% of long-term medication and 70% to 80% of advice about lifestyle changes. Over 50% of the 3.8 billion prescriptions written annually in the United States are taken incorrectly or not at all.

 

 

I imagine with all the online “doctors” it seems like we have all become given the massive accessibility to medical information online – much of it complex, sometimes contradictory <due to medical nuances> and often downright wrong – many people believe they can diagnose and treat all on our own.

flowers-pushing-through-the-process

And given the absurd online medical conspiracy blathering over Clinton’s health I tend to believe 90% of people somehow believe they are qualified medical professionals due to their online research <despite much of it looks a lot like ‘quackery’>.

 

And while research shows that “pushing thru” or ignoring real advice has serious repercussions – Consumer Reports showed that noncompliance with advice or treatment recommendations is the top complaint that primary care physicians have about patients and most believe it affects their ability to provide optimal care, and one in three says it does so a lot – the reality is that this is just what we people do.

 

Hillary Clinton included.

 

Frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised she didn’t tell anyone nor should we be surprised she failed to follow her doctor’s advice … because we all have done it.

And we all certainly have done it when under the pressure of some deadline we knew we were working against <a big meeting, a project deadline, a promise to a client, an election>.

 

So … that said … the whole kerfuffle baffles me.

 

It makes me scratch my head.

 

Do I believe there is some sexism riddled through this entire absurd dialogue?

Yeah. Maybe a thread.

 

Clinton has always been dogged by ‘ambitious professional versus homemaker’ questions combined with a subtle push back that a woman cannot do this particular man’s job <whatever that job may be>.

And I could argue almost every professional woman is nodding their head in agreement with what I just said as they think about their own situation.

 

But I actually believe it hits at the core of America’s gestalt.

america just do it

Our “just do it” attitude.

 

Our “we are not quitters” attitude.

 

Why do you think Americans take less vacation days and work sick more than any country? An aspect of our behavior is our attitude that we are expected to not succumb to ‘what everyday people do’ and push thru to some aspect of exceptional.

 

Is pushing thru sickness exceptional?

Well. Maybe not.

But it seems like the basic bar for who and what we are culturally.

 

And the bar gets raised even higher for workaholics and people who like what they do.

 

Anyway.

 

She’s had pneumonia, she campaigned and had a security meeting and … well … a bunch of shit before she actually went to the doctor <similar to what we all do> … she kept going despite doctor advice until it floored her <similar to what we all do> and then gets up less than a week later and starts going back to work <similar to what we all do>.

 

I could suggest that this is the sort of determination which sounds fairly presidential to me but instead I will point out that this is what 90% of Americans do when they get sick.

 

And, actually, it sounds like every mother I know … except most mothers don’t get a whole 4 days off when they’re sick.push-thru-can-will-do

 

Most women I know amaze me with their stamina and their general “no quit” attitude when getting shit done.

 

It seems to me that Hillary Clinton just represented what women do day in and day out pretty well. She wasn’t just representative of what we may desire in a presidential candidate but also representative of almost every working mother out there as well as maybe 90% of all the ‘anyones’, male or female, who goes to work every day.

.

not being owned

April 17th, 2016

world of my own

 

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“I am the sea and nobody owns me.”

 

 

Pippi Longstocking

 

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i would fight myself if i could

(letthechipsfallwheretheymay)

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So.

 

Not being owned sounds like a simple thing.

 

Yet.

 

Over and over <and over> again we permit something … or someones … to own void swallows self strength own you lifea part of you.

It can be direct or it can be indirect.

It can be consciously or subconsciously.

 

 

To be clear.

 

This is not a society thing <albeit society is a nasty twit on occasion> … this is a self thing.

 

And this is not a corruption thing <albeit money is a nasty twit on occasion> … this is a self thing.

 

So what do I mean by a self thing?

 

One of the very very few things you can actually control in life is “self ownership.”

 

Owning who you are as a person. Owning your integrity. Owning your character, dignity and moral compass. And, I imagine, owning your behavior & attitudes.

 

 

Now.

 

This ownership isn’t easy. It isn’t because … well … what you own a shitload of people and things are constantly seeking ways to steal it.

 

And owning a good security system will not do shit for you.

You need to learn self-defense.

 

And by self defense I actually mean defending against your self <and not someone or something else>.

 

You have to choose to fight yourself.

 

Fight against some nasty instincts <which more often than not head you in the wrong direction>.

Fight against temptation <of which the world has an endless array it constantly parades in front of you>.

Fight against some internal mind games <think doubt, fear, acceptance, etc.>.

 

 

Regardless.

 

Many of us flippantly state “I am my own person and nothing owns me” and, yet, under the glaring spotlight of truth & reality we will find that more of us is owned by someone or something than we would like.

 

Many of us shrug our shoulders when faced with this harsh truth and say “those are not the important things” or “that’s just Life.”

created my own world

Well.

 

It is not ‘just Life’ and they are not just ‘little unimportant things.’

 

More of us should stop, take a moment, and think about whether we want to react to external ownership efforts or proactively “fight myself” over the right to own myself.

 

Each of us is the sea and no one owns a sea.

 

Do not be owned.

 

 

capacity

December 29th, 2015

capacity threshold2

—-

“Circumstances don’t define you, they reveal you.”

=

Epictetus

—-

 

 

So.

 

The holiday season often seems to challenge our capacity … time, energy, emotional and physical. Let’s just call it the ‘personal capacity challenge.”

 

Personal capacity is a tricky topic.

 

 

Tricky in that there is no standard measure of ‘capacity’ from which to measure oneself against.

 

 

capacity survive In addition … capacity expands and contracts depending on who and what is filling the capacity space … in addition … you can add in the variable of the circumstances with which capacity is dealing with which affects whatever space capacity maintains in oneself.

 

Oh.

 

 

And I am speaking of emotional capacity to “deal.” As in deal with life … not only the mind numbing blows life can deliver but also the everyday stuff life stabbing you day in and day out.

 

 

And then there are the times when Life gives you any and all at the same time.

 

Regardless.

 

 

Life demands that each and everyone of us maintain some sense of capacity.

 

 

Well.

 

I imagine this is what I am writing about.
Because we all have capacity. And we all have capacity enough to handle and manage the typical everyday shit.

 

However.

 

 

It is ‘those times’ I am speaking of … when you look at someone and look at the crappy cards Life has dealt them during some finite period of time.

success burden pixshark

This finite time represents a small space in which you feel no one should have to bear that much of a burden. And despite the fact I wish I were referring to some theoretical aspect of Life … I am not.

Unfortunately Life has a habit of asking some people to carry some fairly burdensome burdens within finite period as of time.

 

 

 

It is … well … one of the inherent duties of Life.

 

 

“Life is not theory.

It is reality, with inherent duties to everything and everyone.”

=

Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka

 

Now.

 

 

Despite the fact each of us assumes this duty differently … every one of us has a different emotional capacity.

It’s kind of like walking into the Container Store with aisle after aisle of different shaped, different sized and different ‘strength’ material in its makeup.

 

 

 

I say that because I believe we often judge others by either:

 

(a)

ourselves, or

(b)

what we believe someone’s capacity should be

<which is driven by culture, media, societal expectations>.

 

 

 

Uhm.

 

We shouldn’t.

 

 

And, frankly, we really cannot judge … unless you can place yourself in someone else’s shoes.

 

 

Why?

 

Capacity is multidimensional.

 

It is driven by experience and … well … just your own make up.

 

 

Some people just deal with all the various stuff well … and some don’t … and some get better as time goes on <although I would actually argue that everyone gets better at ‘dealing’ the more practice they get> … and some just have no, or little, capacity.

capacity 1

 

And Life tests personal capacity all the time.

 

 

We currently live in a Life culture, personal & work, that places ever more stress on the individual to achieve and to do more with less, to work longer hours, to make a greater change to the world <and to themselves>, people often find themselves pushed beyond the limits of what they can endure.

 

And that is just the common everyday stuff.

 

 

The ‘unexpected’ Life test isn’t even included.

 

 

Inevitably this all leads to personal stress … which is actually a physical response to situations.

 

 

It’s your body trying to find a way through a challenging time. Obviously … ongoing stress actually has an effect on the way you think.

 

 

But here is the deal with capacity.

 

Conceptually it is infinite <although we know it is finite>.

 

 

This concept versus reality issue comes crashing to Life only when we get to the point that we can’t cope with … well … the fact we know we can’t cope anymore.

 

 

It’s not hard to see in many cases of a meltdown what you’re looking at is someone who maxed out on their capacity … they got so far in the hole … that there was no way of getting out.

 

 

 

Now.

 

capacity expand-personal-capacity

This doesn’t mean you cannot program yourself <or cultivate> to better utilize your capacity.

 

This means acknowledging and/or containing emotional levels <anger, fear, despair> that are too high or too low <apathy, low motivation> as well as emotional things that interfere with effective change <hostility, anxiety, excessive anger, avoidance>.

 

 

“Sometimes we don’t know our own strength.

It can be hard to tell just how much weight you can safely bear, or how much will crush you.

I’d like to think you can shoulder as big a burden as you believe you can, that it’s all a matter of will.

Certainly a comforting thought.

Other times it’s hard to remember you had any strength at all.

Then you can only hope to have someone to remind you … you were once fierce and able.”

=

Everwood

 

 

There has been some well done research studies on his topic.

 

 

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In the 1980s, Howard Gardner outlined the presence of seven domains of intelligence; two of them were interpersonal and intrapersonal – these combined were the forerunner of what we now know as emotional intelligence.

The term was first coined by Peter Salovey, professor and psychologist at Yale University, and John Mayer, professor and psychologist at the University of New Hampshire.

In 1995 Daniel Goleman, the leading expert in this field, reported “IQ is only a minor predictor of success in life, while emotional and social skills are far better predictors of success and well-being than academic intelligence.”

Daniel Goleman’s research on social and emotional competencies in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, brought this concept into a much needed focus.

Goleman’s work teaches us that children’s emotional and social skills can be cultivated, so that the child will accrue both short-term and long-term advantages in regard to well-being, performance and success in life.

He outlines crucial emotional competencies basic to social and emotional learning:

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–        Self and other awareness:

Understanding and identifying feelings; knowing when one’s feelings shift; understanding the difference between thinking, feeling and acting; and understanding that one’s actions have consequences in terms of others’ feelings.

=

–       Mood management:

handling and managing difficult feelings; controlling impulses; and handling anger constructively

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–       Self-motivation:

Being able to set goals and persevere towards them with optimism and hope, even in the face of setbacks

=

–         Empathy:

Being able to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” both cognitively and affectively; being able to take someone’s perspective; being able to show that you care

=

– Management of relationships:

Making friends, handling friendships; resolving conflicts; cooperating; collaborative learning and other social skills

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dignity uncertainty conflict empathy

 

Mastering, or managing, these things results in something called ‘enhanced emotional intelligence.’

 

 

 

And, once again, emotional intelligence directly affects your emotional capacity.

 

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Emotional Capacity is the facility of our personality and feelings and how they engage with our mental processes and the reality of the world around us.

The various aspects of our emotional capacity is the level of emotional stress we can endure, our ability to monitor our emotions and our skill at modifying our emotions – meaning our ability to eradicate emotions that are dangerous, counter-productive or illogical to have and our ability to foster positive emotions and joy when it is logical or appropriate to do so.

And a person’s emotional capacity is actually a function of their emotional intelligence.

===

 

 

 

I say all this because many people are quite content to feel what they feel … and perhaps as an afterthought to think about what they had felt.

 

<whew … I had to reread that a couple of times>

 

 

Let me try to say it this way.

 

 

Few people consciously cultivate their emotional capacity … consciously developing the power of their rational mind on what is appropriate to feel and at what intensity.

 

 

Honestly I can see why people don’t.

i do not know list
You don’t know what you don’t know.

 

=

A soldier doesn’t know how he/she will act & perform in battle.

A mother doesn’t know how she will feel if her child dies.

A pet owner doesn’t know how he/she will feel when their long time companion dies.

=

 

 

It is the actual experience that tests the boundary of capacity.

 

 

That said … all this personal experience means that you can control your capacity …. as long as you can control … well … ‘self’ … and I imagine that begins with understanding ‘self.’ What I mean by that is something called ‘understanding your emotional triggers’ … or by increasing your awareness of them.

 

 

 

An emotional trigger is an experience that draws us back into the past and causes old feelings and behaviors to arise.

 

<For example, an ice cream sandwich may remind you of your childhood summer vacations, or gossiping coworkers could bring back images of high school cliques.>

 

 

 

Some triggers are situational and some are social.

 

 

Some people smoke more when they are out for drinks with friends.

Most people tend to eat more at holiday or family gatherings.

 

 

And then there are internal triggers.

 

 

Anyway. Bottom line?

 

Just recognize the fact that we all have triggers.

 

 

And triggers are individual <often>.

I added this because we tend to try and help people we care for based on our own experiences. That leads to using our own ‘triggers’ as guide posts for what we say, suggest and support our beliefs with.

 

 

That can be a mistake.

 

 

People can react differently to the exact same stimulus.

 

Taking such variety into account improves communications and relationships.

 

 

I share all of this because if you recognize your emotional triggers you are better able to manage <or at least know> your capacity … but not necessarily others.

 

 

It helps if you learn to proceed thru life at your own pace. Life is not a sprint … it is really more of a marathon.

 

 

Lastly.

 

Help.

 

 

No matter how strong someone is … how resilient … how whatever … sometimes capacity is stretched to a bursting point. Or at least close to your capacity’s … well … capacity.

 

 

First.

 

 

Therapy is not a swear word.

Nor is it any sign of weakness. It is simply a sign that you want to get to a better place … by any and all means necessary.

The right professional help may make a big difference.

 

 

 

Second.

 

A strong support network.

Close family and friends are absolutely vital to feeling validated and nurtured.

When you’re dealing with stubborn issues, it’s always a comfort to know that you have people who care about you and want to help you.

 

 

Ok.

 

 

All that research and professional thinking aside.

 

 

As noted earlier … capacity is multi-dimensional. There is capacity within a moment … and capacity within the accumulation of moments.

 

And your personal capacity can often be defined <managed> by pushing through and not dwelling.

 

 

 

Sure.

 

 

Someone could suggest pushing through <or not dwelling> is simply a defense mechanism … a way of not dealing … a process of ignoring.

 

 

Ok.

 

 

But not dwelling is not the same as not reflecting. Not dwelling simply suggests not lingering too long in that ‘capacity moment.’

 

 

Therefore I simply suggest that it is all about pushing through the moment.

 

 

And you know why you push through these moments and choices?

 

 

Because while certain choices define the future direction of your life … choices do not end then & there.

 

 

Choices beget choices.

 

 

You will then get even more choices … maybe littler ones … but little nudge choices to course correct or make sure the original choice gets aligned optimally for whatever you really decided.

 

 

But that is part of capacity.

 

 

Despite all this ‘pushing thru’ … all these choices and decisions stored away in your head. And sometimes that doesn’t leave a lot of room for other stuff … grief … happiness … sadness … whatever … it is just all tangled up.

 

 

And all his choosing shit I am talking about inevitably creates stress … stress on the system <you overall> and stress mentally.

 

 

And stress does funny things to us <and our capacity>.

 

 

But so do circumstances beyond our control <which I imagine is linked to stress in some way>.

 

 

We all have a limit as to how far events can push us before something within us pushes back.

But.

The thing is … most of us never know that limit until we reach it.

 

—-

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”

=

Vernon Sanders Law

—-

 

 

This Life capacity test is a hard and brutal teacher.

 

 

life place and time

I imagine anyone’s capacity would be challenged if you spent too much time trying to untangle all the stuff stored in your head. But I honestly am not sure it is worth the energy to try and untangle shit. You should maybe just look at the highlights, maybe invest some energy untangling any knots that are truly restrictive, and move on.

 

 

 

Now.

 

 

There are certainly moments in time when Life truly tests your capacity – grief, sadness, unhappiness in combination with typical Life demands – and it fills you up to overflowing if not exploding.

 

 

 

I have seen people deal in moments like this and frankly, I am often in awe. I am not sure I would have the capacity. But what I do know is that I see these people take on the capacity tests … and those who succeed <not fail the tests> just don’t dwell too long <and too long is defined person by person> and just push through before the burdens of the moment become so heavy they cannot move to push through.

 

 

 

Moving from those moments shifts you as a person.

 

 

Call it ‘a passage in life.’

 

 

You see the world and yourself differently after you’ve gone through the events and emotional states that define each passage … these passages are emotionally and cognitively intense … as a result you fundamentally change as a person.

 

I am not saying better or worse … you just change.

 

 

All that said.

 

 

Maybe that is what I should have said upfront … personal capacity is often defined by dwelling versus pushing through.

 

 

Because in the end, if you dwell, you get squeezed.

 

 

In America’s ‘just do it’ mentality we tend to squeeze our capacity almost irresponsibly <despite the fact we believe we are being quite responsible & selfless with our capacity>. I recognize irresponsible is a tough word … but … for a group of people who like planning, milestones and objectives … we seem to leave no space for the unforeseen.

 

 

We just fill it all up to capacity.

 

 

Fill up everything … this includes time, emotion and mental space.

 

 

This creates emotional capacity challenges <because trying to do everything on our physical list also puts demands on our mental capacity … it is sometimes called ‘stress’>.

 

 

And by emotional capacity challenges I mean things like grief & unhappiness … the sudden demands that Life puts on you mentally that create capacity challenges. These individual things stress an already ‘filled to the brim’ capacity creating chaos <by overloading the already 24/7 planned and mentally filled> life>.

 

 

What this means is that you either “don’t have time” to deal or have to “make time’ to deal … all of which exponentially stretches an already maxed out capacity <or what you assume is maxed out>. All of this happening at a time when some focus would most likely help diffuse or diminish the challenges.

 

 

I mention all that to say we are often our own worst enemy with regard to capacity. We have immense capacity. More often than not more than what we believe.

 

 

However.

 

 

That doesn’t mean it is limitless. It is finite. Why test the limits?

 

 

In the end?

 

 

“Lacking even paper

I write on my heartdemons inside

turned inside out.

That is why it squeaks

at night like the earth’s axis

that turns me face to face

with the impossible.” –

=

Regina Derieva

—-

 

 

Our world squeaks as it constantly turns us toward being face to face with the impossible.

 

And, yet, face it we do.

 

And in doing so we constantly embrace our capacity.

 

 

Just don’t enjoy the embrace too much.

 

 

Because personal capacity is often defined by dwelling versus pushing through.

 

And dwelling is bad.

Enlightened Conflict