Enlightened Conflict

ragged claws across the universe

December 31st, 2013

 

“I should have been a pair of ragged clawsragged claws brains

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” – TS Eliot

 

 

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” – TS Eliot

 

 

Well.

Both lines above come from TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

 

In the 130 line poem Eliot explores Life from the depths of the ocean floor where one scrabbles out a living on ragged claws to the heights of the universe … and the immensity of Life that resides in between.

Uhm.

Okay.

At least that is what I see and think when I read it.

 

And unfortunately <or fortunately> I am no literary expert and therefore do not have the ability to tear his writing apart evaluating what they call ‘literary allusion’ <… pulling from Donne, Dante, Shakespeare and Marvel to Chaucer, Hesiod and the Bible. A reader has to take these allusions on board to get the most out of his poems, though on the surface they are fairly accessible>.

 

Therefore.

I can only tell you what I think after I read it. That must mean ‘what is on the surface’ is what I imagine the experts would suggest I am doing.

So take what I share with a grain of salt <but read the poem>.

 

Ok.

I admit that TS Eliot poems tend to make me think … stark language steeped with cynicism and a hint of urgency driven by desperation but always with an introspective look at Life.

 

ragged claws sense of ourselvesThis poem is about a person’s desperation that time in Life is running out and he hasn’t made his mark on the world.

 

I believe most of us have an ongoing thread of ‘am I being meaningful’ in Life. It is ongoing from the time we begin wondering what we will do in Life through the moment we step out of school and into the real world and continues as we do what we need to do day in and day out to survive and be the best we can within the circumstances we exist in.

But.

I do tend to believe with age … we begin to obsess a little more over the whole idea of ‘being meaningful.’

That is what the poem makes me think about.

A man looking back on his Life, and at his life, and desperately assessing what could have been.

 

in my pea like brain the whole idea centers on adequacy.

Ah.

Adequacy.

Equal to what is required ior expected but not exceeding it by much. Adequate is suitable to the case or occasion. Nothing to rave about but meets what is needed.

 

I purposefully chose adequate to share my thoughts because it suggests we have what it takes to do what we need to do in Life … yet … is adequate enough?

 

Most of us muddle through Life with small glimpses of something bigger. Maybe it is slightly beyond our grasp for some reason we cannot truly understand … but the glimpse remains etched in our minds in such a way we tend to come back to it again and again in our thoughts.

 

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

 

Ah.

Is this what we fear as we ponder our lives?

 

That Death mocks us as it awaits our arrival?ragged claws someone to tell

The arrival could be years away … but it can be seen mocking even from afar.

 

I imagine the thought behind the mocking is found within us … in that I was afraid I was not good enough, did enough … or been enough of what I could have been.

 

I wasn’t adequate to be anything more than what I was.

 

There is a self-consciousness with constant introspection and anxiety about mortality and fragility of ‘doing something’ in life.

 

The poem digs deep into a self reflected desperation … which I don’t see as all consuming … but rather a moment of deep thought. A thought so deep that Life begins to become overcome with feelings of self-consciousness and regret and echoes of a hundred indecisions and a hundred visions and revisions.

The hundreds bombarding you in that one moment.

 

Luckily we tend to shed these moments well … and move on.

When we don’t we tend to be haunted.

 

Are we haunted by the Life led?

Or by the Life which we never led?

 

Regardless we are haunted.

 

This kind of soul searching for meaning is often simply seeking a richer association with Life than simply scrabbling with ragged claws.

 

And in that search and introspection of adequacy we often seem to dare to peek at unimaginable heights. The heights which we are uncertain we are adequate enough to not only explore but to survive and prosper.

 

Which leads to my favorite part of the poem.

 

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate,

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

 

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

 

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

 

ragged claws thinker doerAh.

Do I dare?

Do I dare to walk among the disdain I expect from the people who talk of Michelangelo?

 

Am I good enough to accept that I will have my time just as you have yours?

 

Am I only adequate to use ragged claws to survive the day to day depths of life?

 

Am I adequate enough to actually dare to do, and be, more?

To actually disturb the universe?

 

And then there is the immensity of Life that resides somewhere in between.

 

I tend to believe while we do not dwell on these types of questions … most of us ask them of ourselves at one time or another.

 

Ok. I will admit.

It is poems like this … at times of the year like this … that one ponders whether they have made a mark in the world.

Have they done something meaningful or maybe more importantly … ‘am I meaningful.’ And I don’t mean to people <because someone always cares about you> … I mean meaningful to something bigger … Life.

 

It is only the arrogant who say ‘yes I have.’

 

The majority of us just wonder.

 

And there is a discomfort in not knowing.

Not knowing if you have not only been adequate or whether you would have been adequate doing more.

Discomfort in not really knowing how ‘big’ we could be.

Discomfort in the belief that our ‘adequate’ made us little.

 

Discomfort in not really knowing if you could have been better … done better … and made a better difference.

 

In the end.

I gotta tell ya.

 

Having a tombstone read “he dared disturb the universe” would be quite a legacy.things doing wooden

 

Anyway.

To close.

A thought from Marianne Williamson which seems to tie well with the poem.

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

 

 

Have a great 2014.

Dare to disturb the universe.

 

ragged claws——–

 

To read the entire poem.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot:    http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/eliot02.html

 

using your body to make a statement

November 18th, 2013

 

“I will write in words of fire.

I will write them on your skin.

I will write about desire.body making a clinbed a tree

Write beginnings, write of sin.

You’re the book I love the best,

your skin only holds my truth.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Ok.

 

I love what young people <tweens & teens> are doing these days with using their bodies to make a statement.

To be clear <part 1>.

 

This is not about tattoos <although I have something to share at a later date on that from a sociological standpoint>.

This is not even about temporary tattoos.

This is about temporary messages being artistically delivered on their skin. Everywhere and anywhere on their bodies … from hands to feet to back and front.

 

It isn’t a fake tattoo.

body making a brain painMaybe it is just body writing <like sky writing?>.

And it is frickin’ awesome.

 

To be clear <part 2>.

I do not believe this idea is anti-tattoo or young actually listening to older people suggesting that committing to something like a tattoo is for life.

 

I actually believe what they are doing is attitudinal … a reflection of a generational attitude.

 

And this attitude even has a name. Trendwatching <a trend futurist group> calls this type of attitude ‘transumerism.’

And boy oh boy does it embody our younger generation.transumers words

 

 

At the foundation of this generational attitude is a fact that in today’s world we are putting a higher and higher value on the temporary and the transient.

 

Uh oh. A lot of older people find this extremely uncomfortable.

They wonder why no one can be consistent any longer. Or make a long term commitment. Or relax on one idea or opinion or thought anymore.

 

Instead the young are embracing many opinions and thoughts. They appear to have learned to embrace a thought of the day. To feel free and express what they think now … express an opinion in the here & now.

 

Their view?

We are being topical.

We dare to make a statement in the moment … when we believe it is most impactful.

 

Impact is in the moment and not the grind <although they are not opposed to the grind but that is another article>.

 

In fact what they are doing is showing us a fairly big attitudinal shift … culturally. Experiences are starting to out-value ‘things.’ The intangible and the temporary are building a higher value than many fixed unchanging tangible items.

 

Fixed items are losing value by becoming synonymous with boredom, with hassle, with quickly-out-of-date, with maintenance, with taking up too large a part of budgets. Heck. Even taking too much of our lives.

 

This is an entire generation of ‘transumers.’ They embody an experiential based economy and culture.

 

This transumer generation is driven by experiences instead of the ‘fixed’, by sensory entertainment, by discovery, by fighting boredom.

body making a backUhm. Long term?

This means as adults they will increasingly live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles, and attitudes,  of permanence  <ownership and possessions>.

 

The risk?

In the inexperience <I hesitate to say immaturity> of youth it can become an obsession.

By that I mean the fixed is replaced by an obsession with the here and now, an ever-shorter satisfaction span, and a lust to collect as many experiences and stories as possible.

 

It is an attitude of … “hey, the past is … well … over … and the future is uncertain … so all that remains is the present. So what the hell … I am going live and make a stand in the ‘now’.

 

This means that attitudinally the young are finding more and more status not from ownership of products & things but from an ability to change and make statements … which change and evolve and adapt.

 

There are winds of change shifting traditional status cues while still doing so in the unchanging important of appearance <or how one looks> in the young. From a larger perspective we need to take note that this means they are gaining more status not from traditional labels <geeks, jocks, preppies, etc.> but status based on attitudes and beliefs.

 

The young are demanding expression <and demanding status from self expression>.

 

They are figuring out how to make their own mark in the world … not staying still, nor silent about what they feel or believe.

 

As one professional body writer suggests:

 

“… I think that when we write a message in a part of our body, we touch the hope that this message is stronger than a simple piece of paper or other material

When we use our bodies courier, we speak from the heart ..” .

<note: There is even a website for how to do a ‘sharpie tattoo’:  http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Sharpie-Tattoo >

 

Regardless.

Digging deeper in transumerism.

 

This thing they are doing is representative of ‘temporary freedom’ or ‘fractional ownership’ of an idea or thought.

 

Trying out new things, escaping unescapable commitment and obligations, dropping formality and offering endless new experiences. No wonder that this idea is catching on with the young.

 

 

They are curious.

Less judgmental because expression changes and varies <it is more difficult to be judgmental on a moving target than a stagnant target>.body making a real men

 

I love how these kids are figuring out how to make an impression and remain silent.  It reminded me of a quote I saw attributed to the Dalai Lama:

 

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” – Dalai Lama

 

I am certainly not suggesting today’s high school youth embody the Dalai Lama. But they are figuring out ways to express themselves in powerful ways.

 

I love this trend of type of body writing.

I love how our young are learning how to not only express themselves but show how to express thinking … real thinking.

 

I love the attitude <and behavior>.

 

And I think we old folk should start learning how to accept an entire generation of ‘transumers’ built upon an attitude of ‘loving the transient an temporary.’ I say this because our tendency will be to slow them down and suggest that they are missing something. We may focus on what I referred to as ‘fractional ownership of an idea’ as a bad thing. Instead we should be encouraging them and teaching them how to maximize that which they are and invest in making fractions wholes <like bricks in a foundation>.

 

Now that is an attitude that will need some strength on the part of us old folk in order to change.

And change is hard.

 

Oh.

body making a loveUnless you are young.

Because they are seemingly embracing some ongoing aspects of change <but still holding on to a very strong moral compass at their core>.

 

But … most importantly … they are not just embracing change … they are addressing cultural attitudes and societal ‘misbehavior’ by taking a stand. They speak out on things that they believe need saying.

Silent … but powerful communication.

 

In the end?

 body making a statement

 

“You’re the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth.”

 

 

The skin of our youth may be holding truth up before our eyes.

 

We just make damn well sure we see it.

 

creating strong roles for women

October 30th, 2013

 

Well.female power ambition

Like it or not … the entertainment industry does play a rather significant role with regard to our attitudes <and some behavior>.

 

The one attitude discussion that always gets me … in fact … aggravates me … is the whole discussion surrounding ‘strong roles for women.’

 

 

And what aggravates me is that we even talk about the fact there are strong roles for women. Why should it even be a discussion? Why isn’t it just something that just “is”?

 

As in something like the fact we breathe to live. Or as Joss Whedon says… “Equality is not a concept, not something we should be striving for, equality is like gravity … misogyny is life out of balance and it sucks something out of the soul of every man and women confronted with it.”

 

I find it aggravating that we still spotlight women in shows like Homeland, The Closer, Covert Affairs, NCIS, Bones and others as remarkable partly because they are women and not simply interesting characters.

 

I find it aggravating that in this day and age we have to discuss ‘women can be whatever they want’ in high schools and yet are challenged by these same young women we are encouraging with regard to what role models they should be following <among the few> … and at the same time you get the questions from the young women you can scan the young men in the room and they are snickering or joking about ‘stay at home’ or ‘cooking & cleaning’ <of which you know that if even a splinter of truth is within the snickers there is a significantly larger issue at hand>.

 

I find it aggravating that we still not only suggest it is the differences between a woman and a man as an excuse for how things are … but an actual REASON for how things are.

female power balls

I find it aggravating that we still refer to strong women in male terms <characteristics> as if someone needs male characteristics to be strong and, conversely, a female characteristic is ‘weak’ <or softer>.

 

I find it aggravating that we assign gender tags when a leader is a leader … strong is strong … and being good at what you do is being good at what you do … and none of those things are driven by your gender.

 

What I don’t find aggravating is a speech Joss Whedon gave in 2006 at the Equality Now Conference.

 

Whedon imagines himself at an imaginary press conference answering the same “dumb question” he is asked “400 times” by reporters … why does he write strong women characters?

 

Starting off with the anodyne answer that it was due to his “strong mother”, his “engaged father”, the fact that female characters are allowed emotions, or just because “women are hot”, Whedon finally shouts: “Why aren’t you asking the 100 other guys why they don’t write strong female characters?”

 

 

I am including Joss speaking … the short version is absolutely fabulous … almost extraordinary in the world of speech making in terms of its concise ability to make the point of which is aggravating me.

 

The fabulous short version < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqsIFlTVoXQ   >

 

The full speech <8 minutes>: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoEZQfTaaEA

 

 

Finally.

 

It aggravates me that we can play a 2006 speech, a fabulous speech, and the issues still resonate today.female power soy mujer

 

It all aggravates me because I know too many strong women to name in this post.

 

In fact … I cannot name one ‘not strong woman.’ Every woman I know either externally exhibits whatever we want to deem ‘strong’ …. or internally … at her core … has the strength of however many men you want to line up and judge their strength.

 

We confuse strength as a definition.

Confuse it with muscles and ability to move tangible objects.

 

And it aggravates me that we do that.

 

female power anyn randWomen are just as capable as men to move mountains of ideas and thinking and people.

 

Creating strong roles for women? The whole idea that we have to talk about it aggravates me.

 

The real discussion should be <to quote Sheryl Crow> … “are you man enough to be my man?”

 

 

Are we men strong enough to play that frickin’ role?

nothing remains but certain shreds of the wall

August 16th, 2013

 

“Of these houseswalls shards of color

Nothing remains

But certain

shreds of the wall.

 

Of so many

Who were close to me

Nothing is left

Not even that.

 

Of my heart

No room still stands

Where it lies

In the most tortured village.”  - Giuseppe Ungaretti

 

Wow.

When I read these words … well … I was almost stunned into silence.

Now.

To be fair to Giuseppe … I found multiple translations of this work and this was my favorite … and because he is dead I can’t ask him if I got the right one.

To me?

I got the right one.

 

Ah.

Those words … and what I thought when I read them.

 

Memories are a mixture of good and bad … gains and losses.

 

But these words are about loss … about a heart standing in a tortured village … with no room still standing.

 

Well.

 

I have never lost to the extent of the poem’s author … however … we have all lost something in our lives … or known someone who has.

 

And I mean lost something truly meaningful.

 

I say that because those real losses in Life, to me, are not really about pain … they are about emptiness.

A lack of … well … anything.

 

The loss simply can be found in some black empty hole … holding neither pain … nor regret … nor joy <of course> … just emptiness. It is some space in which nothing exists. A black hole of emotions and feelings.

 

How can this be?

 

walls nothing leftThe walls surrounding that which was … are gone. Simply shreds remaining.

 

And not even walls remain of those who were … just empty space … nothing to hold any feelings inside.

 

Well.

Maybe it is because I believe what I just wrote that I have always struggled when people give advice that suggests you should accept and face the pain when dealing with extreme loss … or as a corollary … the infamously flippant remember the good and happiness.

Why do I struggle with that advice? Because I sense there is nothing to embrace.

There is nothing to face.

And there is often nothing to remember.

 

 

No walls remain.

No rooms are still standing.

 

I know this is my own opinion … nor am I a doctor.

 

But I just finished rereading Simon Wiesenthal’s “Murderers among Us” <about hunting Holocaust war criminals after World War 2>.

In one part I was struck when Wiesenthal stated one of the biggest struggles in bring justice to bear was that many of the concentration camp survivors did not want to testify.

Yes.

The people who you would have most likely envisioned wanting justice to be brought down like the hammer of God … were the ones who were most likely to remain silent.

 

No walls remain.

No rooms still standing.

Their hearts standing alone in a tortured village.

 

That is how I finally resolved that in my own head.

 

We would have asked them to speak of emptiness. To explain a dark black hole of nothingness.

 

Anyway.

 

Losing something, or someone, meaningful is never easy. walls withinAll I know from my own perspective is that I will imagine it is dealing with emptiness. And treat it accordingly … seeking to rebuild something from which I could find some room, some meaningful room, to stand in.

For I imagine once you have done that … you have begun rebuilding a home for your heart.

Until then … your heart has no home, village or country.

 

Oh.

In one of Ungaretti’s other works … he also wrote:

… my heart is the most tormented country of all …

 

It has been some time since I have found other words that have captured this kind of emotion and made me stop and think.

 

I always find it thoughtful that tormented and tortured memories can create such powerful poems.

foolish consistency

August 4th, 2013

 

“Consistency is the refuge of small minds” is often credited to Orson Wells … but it is most likely Orson being smart consistent predictableand paraphrasing good ole Ralph Waldo Emerson …

 

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

 

Uhm.

I have to disagree with Ralphie <which is what I believe his mother called him>.

 

Consistency and <some> predictability gets a bad rap.

In other words … consistency is neither foolish nor refuge of solely small minds.

Nor is it a hobgoblin of anything <let alone little minds>.

<awesome … I was pleased to be able to use the inestimable, and not oft-used, hobgoblin word on my site>

 

Please note … I write this as a person who abhors being too predictable … in personal life and in business. I like going left just because the directions say go right … just to see what those who tell you to go right are missing.

But.

Here is an uncomfortable truth <at least to me>.

Most of us like some consistency in our lives. Aw heck … I will admit it … most of us like a lot <as in shitload> of consistency in our lives. Oh. And by lives I mean Life as well as in business.

Despite the fact we so often speak of ‘throw caution to the wind’ <I have often wondered why we actually say that> or that we like to be unpredictable or we like to be spontaneous or ‘be random’ … well … we don’t really.

consistent be-yourselfWe say it … but rarely do it.

We like consistency and some predictability to provide a solid backbone to our lives. And as a manager of employees you absolutely cherish some consistent behavior day in and day out.

 

Now.

When is consistency a refuge of small minds?

Well. That I will simply refer to as “small living.”

 

It is consistent just for comfort sake.

It is actually lazy living but made worse because it is living under the guise of something else … lack of any risk. Hence the reason I call it ‘small living.’ This type of consistency keeps you from exploring the bigness Life has to offer those willing to discover what is beyond consistency & predictability boundaries.

 

Here is what I think about that. That type of thinking, in most countries and consistent disaster inevitablelanguages, inevitably leads to a ornière, rodera, keréknyom,   kiima  <rut> or être en rut, in een sleur, essere in un solco, olla kiima <be in a rut>.

Oh.

Rut … as in ‘an elongated hole.’

Oh my.

So being too consistent or predictable is living in a hole? Yup. And here is a reminder about holes … they typically <a> have slippery slopes leading down to the bottom, <b> it is really really difficult to stop sliding down a slippery slope once on it and <c> you need someone to pull you out of the hole once you are in it <or you stay in it>.

Just as spontaneity is imagined to be better than it actually is <because the other word for ‘spontaneity’ is ‘surprise’ … and … despite surprise’s incredible reputation … the truth is that most surprises are bad> … predictability can become tantalizingly too attractive.

Geez.

So I have just said predictability is tantalizingly attractive … as well as consistency … and, uh oh, even spontaneity. That certainly explains why Life can be so confusing sometimes. All things different but tantalizingly attractive <insert a big fat ‘Yikes’ here>.

 

Now. Explaining life is a shitload easier than actually living it … doing what needs to be done to maximize it.

Let me explain how difficult it can be.

 

Life best lived walks a razor thin balance of several things:

consistent and predictable<please note … this is not research but rather Bruce quasi-vapid thinking>

 

-          Consistent/predicted behavior <a planned list driven life>.

-          Planned spontaneity <think vacations or scheduled parties or outings>.

-          Random spontaneity <shit that just happens>.

 

And I would suggest <using my research brain knowledge> that this razor thin balance is maybe an 80%-15%-5% <with a +/- 2.5% margin of error> Life mix.

Yup.

Me … the lover of not being too predictable … accepts the fact that having the majority of Life be familiar and consistent and predictable as … oh, this pains me to admit … good.

Because with some people … using my margin of error … less than 2.5% of your entire Life can actually consist of any true spontaneity … and you could be one of the happiest non-hobgoblins on the face of the earth.

Oh.

Please note that I believe “planned spontaneity’ is possibly the biggest oxymoron of this generation.consistent spontaneous

We are so obsessed with time and ‘maximizing each available moment’ for fear of ‘wasting anything’ that we actually plan our free time.

This kind of seems nuts to me.

I sometimes believe that in our objective driven world focused on predictability <and measuring success on how well we were able to predict our outcome … even happiness … which seems slightly ludicrous> that we have lost sight of the fact Life is often meant to be lived … to … well … ‘do’ … to discover … and that the discovery is the measurement … not the supposed end value of that discovery.

Do I value the road which was rocky, overgrown and comes to an aggravating dead end as more valuable than the one which was scenic, smooth and ends with a beautiful view?

Whew.

I don’t know. I would hope that I don’t measure them against each other but rather accept the discovery as the success.

But that is where predictability rears its ugly head.

Predictability and consistency is often measured in today’s time obsessed world as not only the process … the routine … but also in the result.

And maybe that is where I do begin to edge into consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds.

I would be foolish to suggest we don’t all aim for more positive results than negative ones … because we do. Why? Simply because we all want to be happy.

But if you live your life solely focused on ‘only doing what will make me happy’ <or has the highest probability of happiness> based on predictable behavior? Well. That certainly sounds boring <note: and you still will not be 100% successful in reaching that objective>.

And in business? Tt sounds frustratingly non innovative <and a sure path down the slippery slope of mediocrity>.

And maybe that is the point.

Too much consistency and predictability only insures a life of happy <possibly content> mediocrity.

And maybe some people are content with mediocrity … but I would suggest that Life isn’t really meant to be mediocre.

It is meant to be spectacularly exciting … and disappointing. Maybe not all the time <any one of us would eventually get sick if 24 hours a day we rode the world’s largest rollercoaster> but certainly we deserve to see how high we can go … and how low we can get out of.

Why?

Because all of that stuff defines our character.

And who the hell wants their epitaph to be “he was consistent & predictable”?

 

I imagine all I am suggesting is that Life isn’t meant to be little.

Too much consistency and predictability simply insures you have made your Life as little as it can be.

I am not suggesting you have to go hog-wild and ‘live every moment like it is your last’ <which, in general, I tend to believe is fairly crappy advice> but rather … maybe it is challenging yourself to live on that razor thin balance of consistency, planned spontaneity and true spontaneity.

Look. I know this isn’t easy … consistency dangerous freedomand I also understand that there is a huge spectrum of living life possibilities between dangerous freedom and slavery to predictability. I know I personally swing back & forth between the two <which could make anyone’s head a little dizzy on occasion>.

But maybe it is simpler to go ahead and call this type of living as ‘restless consistency.’ Maybe we should aspire to live Life that way … and each of us define our restlessness however we would like … but maintain some restlessness.

Oh. It will not all go well.

And I certainly cannot predict any results, good or bad.

Well. Maybe I can predict one thing. Your Life will be bigger.

 

no darkness just light … and lightbulbs

July 5th, 2013

“There is no such thing as darkness just an absence of light.darkness turn on light dumbledoreunknown

 

“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in”. – Arlo Guthrie

 

So.

This is about the darkness that lurks within, whether darkness breathes on its own <has its own existence> and … well … light bulbs.

 

Whew.

Darkness and light and this whole ‘is darkness a real thing or not’ thought.

Never before has such a thought so seamlessly intertwined itself in faith, science, Life, personal evaluation and hope than this simple thought.

 

Is there such a thing as darkness?

 

Is it simply absence of light <therefore all holds within it light … to be found.>?

 

This is a potential Life truth <at minimum an important Life thought> which seems enormously simple and at the same time enormously complex.

 

What I do know is that in the art world … black is not a color … it is simply an absence of white.

 

Making a leap … that implies there is no such thing as darkness.

Is that truth?

Here is what I like about the concept.

 

Dark & darkness … on paper, in your mind, soul or Life … what can seem so vast and overwhelming in its depth of seeming emptiness … is actually nothing more than an absence of light.

Well.

As long as you keep that thought in your mind … darkness can never really win.

 

It also implies darkness is never complete.

It is never a ‘whole.’

It is simply seeking to become a ‘whole.’

 

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

 

Darkness attempts to fill the cracks in life. But those cracks … those imperfections <in Life and self> are what actually let light in.

Yup. In those cracks in Life is how the light gets in.

<by the way … I love that thought>

 

Anyway.

I personally believe that while philosophical we can argue there is no such thing as darkness … reality tells us darkness exists. It is in shadows. It is within us. It can be found everywhere.

But I also personally believe that Dark cannot push back light.

Darkness exists only when light fails … or simply gives up.

As long as light accepts its own existence … it will bar the path of darkness.

 

The corollary to that is the thought that darkness cannot attack you all on its own.

Think about this.

If it helps … try this on for size … if you light a candle in a large dark room a light in darknessdisproportionate amount of darkness disappears … the darkness cannot proactively attack and smother the light. In fact … it is the opposite … the tiny light attacks the vast areas of darkness … darkness only lurks awaiting the extinguishing of light … only then can darkness thrive.

Ok.

Then there is science.

Scientifically light has existence as elemental particles/waves <photons I believe> in motion as electromagnetic radiation. I mention this because this can be measured in a lab, science has defined and even personally we can measure it as sunlight hitting the skin resulting in a tangible outcome … suntan or sunburn.

Scientifically <I believe> darkness does not exist.  There are no elemental particles of darkness and  darkness cannot be measured or sensed … it is simply a void <hence the term ‘black hole’>.

Theoretically this suggests that what does exist when we label something ‘darkness’ , scientifically, is the relative absence of light.

 

Anyway.

 

Now that I have some science on my side.

 

Life has always contained this duality … I call it a contradiction but if it is easier to accept the thinking … stay clear of contradiction and focus on duality.

A duality within Truth in regard to lies and truth … love and hate … positive and negative … fear and fearless <and a bunch more if I really wanted to come up with more>.

 

Despite the fact this conceptual abstraction <light and darkness defined as polar opposites … while they may not be at actually at opposite ends of the spectrum> can we give darkness a name?

 

“Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred, how did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us that we now send our children into the world like we send young men to war, hoping for their safe return, but knowing that some would be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows. Swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name? “– Lucas Scott

 

Darkness may not have one name.

Well … okay … maybe one … forgetfulness.

We forget the good in life, the good in people … and the good in ourselves. We forget … which leads to doubt, disappointment and despair.

Darkness consumes in our forgetfulness. It steals into our lives so that it can invite anger, greed, hate, disappointment, doubt, jealousy and other negatives into Life.

Therefore is darkness the absence of goodness or happiness? Those things like hatred, anger, anxiety and greed?  Are they present only when there absence of Light?

 

I imagine the thought is that if dark cannot attack … it can only swallow you, if you permit it to.

 

In addition … I like to think of it as the light flows into someone and the dark pulls from someone.

The light pulls one into reality.

The dark actually blinds you from reality <or maybe it simply hides reality>.

 

Ok.

I could ramble on this topic forever.

And I will not be able to offer any conclusive answers.

I will admit that at the beginning of writing this with the great quotes I found I envisioned a thoughtful philosophical epiphany-like read … instead I found the questioning non productive and the answers more simple than we think.

That said.

I will use literature to explain what I do know.

 

“… to get back up to the shining world from there. My guide and I went into that hidden tunnel; Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars.” – Dante

 

These concluding words of Inferno describe Dante and Virgil’s climb out of the underworld and back to the surface of the Earth.

darkness and certain starsI use this line because as they emerge from the nightmarish trip to Hell they gaze up at the stars.

 

This image symbolizes the idea that Dante has begun his slow climb out of sin and confusion <darkness> and has taken a step toward optimism <God/heaven in this case> embodied in stars <points of light>.

 

Light is hope.

Light is optimism.

Light is clarity.

 

On a separate note.

I think is significant that Purgatorio, Paradiso and Inferno all end with the same word:

-          stele <the stars>

 

Stars which symbolize light.

“Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light.” – Northern Exposure

 

Anyway.

What I know <or I imagine> my real point is that darkness lurks everywhere … inside you and in the outside world.

We all have some dark places lurking. Heck. Even Mother Theresa had some <albeit we never spoke about this … she was a Lakers fan and I am a Celtics fan so we couldn’t get past that>.

 

And this Darkness is sneaky, stealthy, persistent and stronger than it should be.

 

And while it may simply be absence of light … or however you would like to explain it … in the end … dark is dark.

Yup.

Darkness is darkness.

We all have it … and we all face it at some point in our lives … and if you are unlucky … every day.

And just as well … light is light.

But they are not equal.

As noted earlier even the smallest light can destroy exponentially larger amounts of dark.

 

Therefore we should seek light.

 

Which brings me to light bulbs.

 

In august 2010 I used this quote: “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”Marianne Williamson in this post: http://brucemctague.com/powerful-beyond-measure

 

She suggests “… your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine.”

 

We all need light bulbs … inside and outside us.

Something we can turn on when it just gets too dark.Lightbulb

And sometimes we need to turn on the light bulb because we are meant to shine.

 

And we should go buy a light bulb anywhere we can to light the darkest corners of our mind and soul … and light  ourselves to remind ourselves we aren’t … well … small.

And you know what?

It doesn’t matter where.

 

I am not a religious person but I respect the churches & religion.

Why?

Well … I fund this quote somewhere … “… in a way the church is a business. People are born with dark places in their souls … the church sells them light bulbs.”

 

I respect anyone and any place that offers light bulbs to those in need.

 

Sometimes we, myself included, are too quick to point out the flaws in organized religion.

I tend to believe it doesn’t matter where you buy your light bulbs … just get one when you need it.

 

This particular light bulb isn’t really hope … it is more a belief. A belief that shrinks the darkness calling itself doubt, or anger, or disappointment, or whatever negative aspect you can think of … back into its corner.

This light bulb reminds you that there is not an absence of self in which darkness can find a home.

 

Light bulbs can be handy in Life.

Because we all need light to stave off the darkness that lurks.

Oh.

And maybe we all need to shine.

using a pedestal when you have a chance

December 20th, 2012

“this has to be a time for change.” – Pat Kelsey, Winthrop basketball coach

I was done writing about the Connecticut school shooting until I turned on ESPN yesterday morning and saw the Winthrop basketball coach after their game with Ohio State.

He had his moment in the spotlight.

And he could have used it to talk basketball <and do the infamous ‘primetime interview for the next job’> but he didn’t. He used his two minutes of spotlight to say something more important than his career or basketball efforts … he talked about important stuff.

Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey used the power of his microphone after his team played No. 4 Ohio State Tuesday night to voice his opinion in the wake of the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn. Most times I am pretty stubborn about ‘right time, right place’ actions. In other words … there are some places where it is inappropriate to express personal points of view. And the wrong times to do so. This is proof I can be wrong. The message he delivers was nothing his audience expected nor probably wanted … and he said … well … “screw you” … what I have to say is more important. And he was right.

This may be one of the most worthwhile 1:40 viewing time you will do today.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/college-basketball/winthrop-coach-comments-on-school-shooting-1111235

“I know this microphone is powerful right now because we’re playing the fourth best team in the country. I’m not going to have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life. And I’m going to be an agent of change with the thirteen young men that I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise.”

This guy is my hero for today. A great expression of character.

Well done Pat Kelsey. You don’t know me but I sure as hell know who you are today.

цветы необычайной красоты & mashkawizii

November 30th, 2012

The two words … one Russian and one Ojibwe <Chippewa> mean …

цветы необычайной красоты

translation: “flowers of unusual beauty”

<note: these words are pulled from a random piece of Russian poetry … or maybe a very old song … I am not sure which … in which the full line is “and in the neutral zone … flowers of unusual beauty …” … it is a metaphorical reference to the beauty of fragile freedom that lies within the space between old West Germany and East Germany>

Mashkawizii

translation: “strong … inner strength”

I selected these two to talk about character.

And to spend a minute on what lies within each of us … and the secret to Life.

Why?

Well. I had to pick up a copy of The Secret in order to have a quasi intelligent conversation with a friend of mine <I will probably do a separate post on The Secret … and ask my friend to not read it>.

Suffice it to say I believe, despite what the books says, there is no one secret to Life <in fact … I wrote something a while back on this … http://brucemctague.com/no-secret-to-life>.

The secret actually is finding the key that unlocks your own inner strength, or inner character or inner passion … or <to keep with the thought> … the key that opens the door to your own flowers of unusual beauty.

Yup. The secret is finding the flowers of unusual beauty that lie within your own walls and give them freedom to prosper in the light of day.

The secret is finding your ‘mashkawizii’ … the strength that lies within you.

And this is a very personal individualist thing.

It is not a formula and most likely not replicable <therefore I cannot write a book telling anyone what the ‘one thing’ is>.

Which makes this topic tough.

Because Life can be really really tough on us.

Relentless in fact.

But inside everyone … and, yes, I mean everyone … there is a flower of unusual beauty and strength.

No book will tell you the secret to unlocking it.

I kind of even doubt a person can tell you the secret to unlocking it.

Only one person has the key … yup … yourself.

Now.

I am not suggesting this is easy … nor do I believe you always get it right the first time. Because sometimes it gets pretty dark inside as doubts & insecurities cluster around like shadows following closely on your footsteps as you look in the corners for what you seek. In addition it is kind of like a Rubiks cube of shifting thoughts and ideas inside you as you experience things. All of it makes this difficult … but I imagine secrets to life wouldn’t be easy if they were actually worthwhile to figure out.

Oh. And sometimes you find people who just don’t believe they have this inner strength or flower of beauty.

I feel very very safe in giving this one piece of advice … if you run into one of these people … stop … and tell them they are wrong. 100% wrong.

It is there.

They just haven’t recognized it yet.

But. Everyone has it.

Everyone.

No matter how hard Life has been … and hardened the walls of doubts, despair and disappointments … within your walls there remains … well … цветы необычайной красоты … a flower of unusual beauty.

Mashkawizii or цветы необычайной красоты … it is within you and worth finding.

I call it character <probably because I am neither Ojibwe nor Russian>.

Now.

While The Secret suggests happiness <or ‘attitude’> is the key to life & success … well … I cannot guarantee that for you if you focus on my thought.

Nope. Sorry.

What I can guarantee is that your happy’s will be really good and meaningful because they are a reflection of what is within. Your happy moments will always be full & have depth.

Oh.

And I think I can guarantee <this is not a price back guarantee though> that your un-happy’s will be liveable. They won’t kill you. Maybe better said … you will have the mashkawizii to be strong and hold on <without losing yourself in the process> until Life decides to move along to the next phase. Like I suggested on happy moments <full> … in the darkest unhappy moments you will never completely empty.

But that is just what I think.

And please do not tell me a book can give you the secret to Life.

<update here because someone reminded me I was a little harsh on The Secret>.

Now. While I just said I do not want anyone telling me a book can give you “the secret” to Life … I will add <and I am very consistent on this> … I do not believe people should foolishly and blindly pursue ‘get rich fast’ tricks to Life but I also believe that people need to do what they need to do to get through Life.

So … if The Secret gets you closer to where you want to go … use it.

Heck. Use any book <I suggest the Bible, Torah or Koran provides a nice possible foundation to start with> that helps you. Be smart about it … but do what you gotta do to get your head straight.

present or imagined

October 31st, 2012

“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.” – Macbeth after seeing the witches

So.

I figured I would use witches on Halloween to share a Life thought.

Shakespeare was a pretty insightful guy <as well as a darn good writer>. He had a nasty habit of capturing some every day, every common person thinking in his classic work which made it thoughtfully entertaining.

A truth – we people do have a habit of fearing ‘what could be’ a lot.

Macbeth is interesting because it is sort of about ‘overcoming’ imagined fear.

The fear of ‘what if.’

Macbeth tries to convince himself the witches have foretold a ‘truth’ and therefore the prophecies <the imagined> they shared with him can’t be all that bad <because they are simply ‘what will be’ and not imagined.

Now.

This doesn’t come easy to Macbeth <as it wouldn’t be easy for you or I or anyone for that matter to take advice from a witch> because he invests a shitload of energy wondering … if the witches’ prophecies are good, then why does the horrid image doth unfix my hair … and make my seated heart knock at my ribs.

He is scared <as anyone one of us would be if three witches appeared in front of us let alone even talked to us>.

In his scared-shitness he says to himself … “present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”

He means that the fear that you feel in the face of actual danger cannot be nearly as bad as the fear of imagined danger. Basically he is talking himself into not being scared shitless and doing whatever he needs to do to be king <the point here isn’t that you probably won’t be a king/queen if you overcome your imagined fears – I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up – but that you are more likely to attain ‘the next stop on your ambition Metro line’ if you can overcome fear and move on>.

He makes himself believe that tomorrow’s actions cannot possibly be as frightening as he now feels it is.

It is a good lesson for us even if you don’t have any witches around to prompt you to doing what you should be doing.

Oh.

Shakespeare also makes a point that having some fear is actually good for us <whoa … now THERE is a thought>.

Before Macbeth goes to visit the witches Hecate orders them to create illusions that will make Macbeth “spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear”.

Well, well, well.

Shakespeare suggests that fear is your friend. Even better?  He suggests that the opposite is dangerous … “security is mortals’ chiefest enemy.”

When the witches present the apparitions to Macbeth, it is their intention to convince him that he has nothing to fear <actually … to convince him to put hope above fear if I want to be true to the words in the play>.

And, actually, I like that thought better.

How do you overcome horrible imaginings? Focus on the hope for something better.

Good life lesson.

It is also in MacBeth that the witches share the conundrum of Life to Macbeth:

First Witch: Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch: Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch: Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

Shakespeare throws in a nifty common everyday life ‘horrible imagining’ here … the reality that Life is a contradiction <therefore nothing is simple>.

The ability to be lesser and yet greater.

To be not so happy and yet be happier.

To be a king and, yet, not.

Geez. What could be worse than the non-absolute?

Of course … what could be better than the non-absolute?

<darn those witches>

Fear keeps us sharp … as long as it doesn’t freeze us into inaction.

My only advice?

Don’t wait for some witches to stop by and tell you this.

Although. On Halloween night I guess anything is possible.

In closing …

MACBETH <closing the scene>: Till then, enough. Come, friends.

Exeunt.

Happy Halloween.

poor self esteem is an equal opportunity employer

October 29th, 2012

According to recent Dove Global research, only 11% of girls worldwide are comfortable using the word “beautiful” to describe themselves. In fact, when girls feel bad about their looks, more than 70% (age 15-17) avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, going to the doctor, or even giving their opinion.

 

So.

While poor self esteem may be an equal opportunity employer it seems like it is making a concerted effort to recruit the female population … and begin the recruiting at a fairly young age. Let’s say about 13 is what poor self-esteem has identified as the key recruiting age.

 

We have all heard of the terms self-concept, self-image or self-esteem.

Simplistically.

Self-esteem is a measure of how you feel about yourself. Good self-esteem is when you have a favorable opinion or judgment about yourself and, ultimately, liking and respecting yourself.

Now. While self-esteem is important to everyone I tend to believe it is especially important to pay attention to <we adults> because Life can be a little harsh toward young girls and, eventually, women <by the way … contrary to popular belief, research has shown that there are no significant differences in the way boys and girls feel about themselves during those periods of development>.

And the truth is (and I do have research … but this just seems like common sense) that the longer you feel unappreciated and taken advantage of, the worse you will feel about yourself <especially when you aren’t in a relationship where someone appreciates you> but, in general, the worse you will feel about yourself when you are alone … that alone time where your thoughts gnaw at you.

I admit I get a little pissed off when I view low self esteem in young girls, and those young girls who have turned into women, because it is needless. Not that we can solve all self-esteem issues but we can certainly take significant steps at key moments in a young girl’s life to manage it … if not even completely head off self esteem issues.

All that said let me highlight what one company is doing to address this.

Dove and the Dove girl’s self-esteem campaign.

And it is brilliant not because it will sell one bar of Dove soap <it may … but I will leave all that analysis to the brand building experts> but rather because it is a great example of the right brand offering the right message with the right objective. And doing what is … well … right.

Let me begin with the video that kicked off this Dove self esteem fun initiative. It is called “onslaught:”

Dove Onslaught: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJN-3yTr3KU

Okay. After watching that video do we doubt this factoid?:

“72% of all girls say they feel pressure to be beautiful.”

<note: everyone should read the guest post my friend Jen wrote called ‘all dolled up’ which also points ot the messaging in women’s magazine which I also believe feeds into this issue> http://brucemctague.com/all-dollop-ed-up-with-no-place-to-go-2’>

Now.

Dove. A bunch of people will probably write about how this is a smart marketing idea (consistent with brand, establishes the product positively with a young audience, bla, bla, bla) so I will write about how this is just a good human idea.

Self esteem in youth is tricky in general. Young girls? Exponentially trickier. If you can solve it (or at least manage it) the benefits carry over into a healthier adulthood. And that is why I love this campaign as a human idea.

And let me say that the web video is something they should be proud of. I cannot imagine the political maze and how many meetings they must have had with corporate communications (remember…Dove is a Unilever brand) discussing risk and crisis management and media relations and all the crap everyone worries about when you actually take a stand on something.  The video takes the issue head on.

<Well done, Dove>

I also like that it does a couple things:

-          Mainly it opens the discussion

-          They make the discussion about perfection within the imperfections

-          and it also takes on society pressure head on <and Dove is part of a health & beauty company for gods sake>. The campaign aims to boost self-esteem by reshaping the definitions of beauty forced on viewers by the beauty industry.

Now.

I am not suggesting appearance is the only self-esteem issue that should be discussed but feeling comfortable in your own skin is especially important to young girls. Research shows that it is around the age 13 when self-esteem and appearance reaches a critical point. Let us call it a defining moment in their lives.

Bottom line is that it is wrong to tell CHILDREN (not just girls) that “this person is attractive, therefore, this person is better than you and you will never be attractive as long as you don’t look like this person.”

Look.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make yourself pretty as long as you’re not going to extreme lengths like most of the beauty industry promotes.

Being comfortable with your appearance, and not feeling odd or even simply ‘unusual’ is important because having a good self-esteem is needed in youth both today and tomorrow.

I tend to believe we all see young girls struggle with confidence and perception issues as they move into this tween period. It is a tough time in many ways. The crossover from being just a girl to a maturing young tween.

Yes, I know adult women have these issues too, but I would argue the root of the issues resides somewhere in their past.  I think the series of videos Dove produced do a great job of gaining attention and making adult women aware of the program … and hopefully remind them they can do something to insure it doesn’t happen to tomorrow’s future female generation.

Dove Self Esteem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIe0FSvnycY

<and it is excellent use of music … using probably one of the unique women … who was probably esteem-challenged in her youth … Cyndi Lauper>

Every girl, yes, every girl <traditionally pretty or nontraditionally pretty> will go through a phase where self-image and self-esteem are questioned and molded. During this self-examination phase it is important to establish a healthy sense of self-worth and maintain well-being. Unfortunately I believe we need to proactively cultivate and engage the activities and relationships that will build up rather than tear down. Yes. We need to ‘proactively’ take steps. Because, left alone, society will kill self esteem with a death of a thousand cuts.

We need to proactively remind all young girls that they have strengths and weakness, and it’s important to begin focusing on the positive attributes and start building from there. And even if it is difficult to see these strengths (and it becomes easy to suggest to yourself  … well  … that isn’t really a strength  … someone is a lot better at it then I am … but that’s not the point) we need to remind, and teach, young girls to grab onto their own strengths and hold onto them. And that is a responsibility we adults need to assume <because society will not>. Silence just will not hack it in this case. If you let that ever-hyperactive tween mind wrestle with the doubts and societal cuts it is a self-esteem accident waiting to happen.

One Tree Hill Brooke

Anyway.

This topic also reminded me of a One Tree Hill episode in which each of the students as a class assignment had to define themselves. One of the characters, Brooke, who is smart, beautiful, popular who only defines herself through the negative … through her ‘self seen’ flaws … finally, with the help of a friend/classmate, sees herself in a different, more positive/stronger, way.

I am not recommending everyone watch One Tree Hill <although this one episode is a defining episode> but it points out that self awareness leads to addressing self esteem issues <and, in her case, leads to a happy ending>.

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” – Maslow

Now.

Does this end up being an example of maybe ‘are we teaching them they are better than someone else’? Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. sometimes they are actually better and sometimes not. But it doesn’t matter. We are teaching them they are what they are good at and it is okay to understand that being good at something doesn’t mean you are the “best’ but rather you are good at something. We end up teaching them to work with whatever their strengths and natural abilities are.

————

Research factoid:

-          Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland made this finding after analyzing U.S. survey data of more than 7,000 young adults from 1994 to 2008. The participants ranged in age from 14 to 30 years. Over the course of 14 years, the study authors examined how five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) affected the youth’s self-esteem. In addition, the researchers also looked at the participants’ sense of life mastery, risk-taking tendencies, gender, ethnicity, health and income. “We tested for factors that we thought would have an impact on how self-esteem develops … understanding the trajectory of self-esteem is important to pinpointing and timing interventions that could improve people’s self-esteem.”

The researchers found that conscientiousness, emotional stability, a feeling of mastery and being extraverted are key to predicting the direction a person’s self-esteem will take as they grow up, and that income did not affect this course.

—————

Why do I believe we really need to get our shit together in helping tweens <say 11 til 14 in particular> in dealing with self esteem?

Well. Several things make you the person you are today. Confidence and self esteem and emotional intelligence. And you aren’t given these things when you are born. You accumulate them and they grow into what you “have” as time goes on.

Our self-image is an accumulation of years. From childhood on on we collect ideas of how smart we are or how non-smart, whether we are confident or have specific fears, we decide how we look in comparison to our peers and the list goes on and on. Oh. And then society steps up to the plate. And they pile on to everything you have stored in your head.

(insert you are not good enough image)

Basically our entire self-image has been made up from all our experiences throughout our childhood. We carry these beliefs, whether they have any truth to them or not, into the post-tween years and into adullthood. And at the core of whether we are happy or sad people, successful or unsuccessful, is our self esteem and self image. It is true we are what we believe we should be.

People with low self-esteem have a very distorted image of themselves. In a book called ‘Self-Esteem’ <McKay and Fanning> they use the analogy of a circus mirror where all our assets are minimized or twisted, and all our defects are magnified.

Youth or childhood certainly plays an integral role. This is what makes up the differences of people in society, for some their self-image has been molded and shaped in a very positive way. Yet for others it can be drastically damaged through destructive criticism received throughout their childhood.

All adults play a big role in the person’s development. Yes. All adults.

Okay. The role of appearance in the self esteem issue?

I actually think of all this as ‘abusive verbal experiences <’you look different’>’ which join with cultural messages to assault female self esteem. This kind of subtle abuse is pervasive and cuts across all socioeconomic lines. It invariably sends the message that the victim is worthless … or certainly that they are not even close to being the best.

And I bring up verbal abuse because many women believe that verbal abuse has hurt them far more than any physical act. As one woman has put it, “words scarred my soul.”

And women whose abuse started as children have the most fragile sense of identity and self worth.

Poor self esteem often results in depression and anxiety. Physical health suffers as well. Many times, women with low self esteem don’t go for regular checkups, exercise, or take personal days because they really don’t think they’re worth the time.

Relationships are impacted as well. Their needs are not met by their partner because they feel like they don’t deserve to have them met, or are uncomfortable asking. Their relationships with children can suffer if they are unable to discipline effectively, set limits, or demand the respect they deserve.

Worse yet, low self-esteem passes from mother to daughter. The mother is modeling what a woman is. She is also modeling, for her sons, what a wife is.

And it bleeds into the workplace where women with low self-esteem tend to be self-deprecating, to minimize their accomplishments, or let others take credit for their work. They never move up.

Well. that was depressing to write.

And even more depressing? We can do something about it … but we don’t seem to do anything.

I say all this to say the obvious … building self esteem at a young age is important because people with high self-esteem tend to do well and achieve success in their life because they feel confident about themselves mentally, emotionally, physically and socially.

It is a truth, a fact as it were, that no one goes through life unscathed. Poor self esteem is an equal opportunity employer.

Okay. We can do something about this.

I am going to focus on adults here. I will being with something someone wrote:

Life is a hard situation but one sure way a parent can help a young girl is to help the teen build their confidence and self worth. A teen with high self confidence and self-esteem are not simply manipulated into making the incorrect decisions because they don’t feel the pressure of the crowd.

Parents should be in a position to teach their youths that folks come in all shapes and sizes that way they will be ready to be more accepting of their physical features and would also be non-judgmental of others. Inspire them to get into activities where the field is equal. Good social skills, and confidence in self, helps a teen deal with differing types of scenarios and people. And guiding them to utilize their strengths helps because excelling in anything can enhance a young person’s confidence and self esteem.

Parents cannot be there all of the time but they must be ready to lend a hand when their kids need a hand to hold on to. For sure there’ll be screw ups along the way but a little failure is always a good sign. Most importantly, you must teach resilience to your kids.

Parents are not designed to shield their youngsters from discomfort and discomfort but rather for them to make certain they can go through pain and pain and then come out fine. Ensure that it is clear that you will never abandon them no matter what. Respect their autonomy by giving them the vote of confidence that they can handle any situation

Good thoughts.

And you don’t need to be some radical cheerleader.

It is a research driven truth that quiet expressed belief in a child has more impact than being a loud cheerleader.

That quiet belief leads to quiet <inner> strength.

Which is important because in life it’s difficult to stay tough specially when things and people around you keep pulling you down.

We should also be teaching young girls that they have their own identity. They do not get defined by us <adults> … i.e., if your parent is a failure in some way, it doesn’t mean you have to be a failure too.

And we should teach them they can learn from other people’s experience so they can avoid the same mistakes because you are … well … you … and not them.

I do not believe some people are born leaders or positive thinkers. I do believe being positive, and staying positive, and leading … is a choice.

Building self esteem and drawing lines for self improvement is a choice, not a rule or a talent.

Because, once again, in life it is hard to stay tough specially when things and society and people around you keep tearing at you.

We need to teach them that Life isn’t always easy. You are going to get hit, and even bruised, by life. You have to be resilient. But resiliency implies you have a good foundation to protect. That foundation is the right attitude, the right behavior and the right way of thinking.

If we start to teach our young people that if they become responsible for who they are, what they have and what they do … it effectively spreads out into the rest of their life – the today and the tomorrow life.

These are smart girls.

One day they will be smart women.

This young tween age a defining moment. A reflection moment some day in the future. A point on which they will reflect upon their actions and life.

If they are ashamed?  It will gnaw at them.

And that is why I applaud Dove for taking this step. Their actions today try and build the women of tomorrow.

Enlightened Conflict