self help

The Death of Man

I recently had the opportunity to attend a men’s retreat with my brother. This was something new for me to do in a Church as I have never really saw myself as one of the men. As the youngest of three, and all of my siblings much older than me I never believed that I would reach the point of being a “man”, but there I was with all the other men at this retreat. I had mixed feelings about it from the get go. I thought I was walking into this assembly where we would eat streak from a freshly killed deer carcass while discussing the finer points of how to spit a long distance. It was, however, much to my surprise a good lesson for me to learn from. It’s good lesson for anyone to learn from.

We started off in Genius 2:15 where God commanded Adam to not eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam received this knowledge before Eve came into existence. Eve was then later temped by the serpent, and ate from the tree then gave some to Adam. Adam who stood there, and said nothing to Eve. Adam who did not attempt to stop Eve. Adam who was silent as Eve sinned, even though he knew that if they ate from the tree they would surely die.

The silence of man in this story is deafening. At the men’s retreat the speaker encouraged us to open up about what we were struggling with as men. To discuss with each other the problems in our lives. In my group of eight we had three people open up. My brother and I being two.

It was discouraging to open up about the hardest part of my life currently to these men who continued to stay silent rather than opening up about their lives. Men will die of silence. The second I told my story I regretted it. It felt like I made a fool of myself, and the only thing I could hear in the back of my head was, “Should have just shut up.”

It’s like that being a man. I watch my father do it, killing himself with silence. Ever so often I get these glimpses into his life. Brief ten second window’s into what he really feels, and what he went through. These ten second images have become engraved in my mind because the pain that he feels. These ten second windows are hell. He keeps them bottled up inside, and drinks them down. Every so often he recounts one, and it turns my stomach knowing that my father has gone through so much. I only want to reach out and hug him. Tell him I love him, that its ok, that its all behind him now, that I can be strong for him. Instead, I tell myself it’s not my place, that if it gets really bad I’ll tell him to stop. I’m just silent.

What can I do? What could I say? I’m struggling and need help! Help me please!

Its been hard absorbing all this information, and trying to implement it in my life. I bottle things up, and I stay silent.

So, I want to make a change. I will start small with my wife. I will tell her things, and be open. Then work outwards. I’ll let you know how it goes.

THOSE PEOPLE

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 3:17

It’s sometimes hard to get a break. To sit down, study, or write. Most of us are on the move constantly, and for me that constant moving makes it hard to really get into writing, and to create quality work (not that it’s quality anyways). I also needed a break due to many life issues that have come up, but at this point I am re-making my dedication to writing.  

Before this post most of what I have written about was life advice through my eyes as a case manager. I have always had this no proselytizing in the workplace stance when it came to helping people. However, my new self help will sometimes take on a more religious standpoint. Mostly due to my wife, Pandora, inspiring me by being baptized followed by my niece. This opened me up to talk more about my relationship with God.

So with all interesting updates that mostly is just me making an excuse for not taking time out to write lets get on with the subject: THOSE PEOPLE

I had the great privilege of being able to connect with others while doing laundry yesterday. It’s always nice to pass the time hearing what other people have to say, and what they go through day to day.

They wanted to know about the place that we worshiped, which is pretty new too since we are also fairly new to the area. We discussed for a time different places where we worshiped and they were both pretty upset with their experiences around town, and after listening to their story I would say they did have a lot to be upset about.

Their biggest issue was THOSE PEOPLE. The Church people. The man stated that he hated going because of the Hypocrites.

It’s a very good reason because there are a lot of hypocrites in the church, and liars, adulterers, alcoholics, murderers, and just about every other terrible person. In fact you could say that the whole point of the Church was for the terrible people looking for another chance. It was made for those of us who are in need of help, and whose lives are full of sin, not the righteous.  

It always hurts me to hear that people don’t like the idea of church because of those who judge them for not being perfect, looking dirty, or any other excuse. It really isn’t fair because no one has any idea what someone else goes through on a day to day basis. We are all there for God, and to become our best selves.

No one should feel unwelcome in the house of God, and that should be a concern with those in the Church. It’s a concern for me because I am a liar, hypocrite, and many other things but everyday trying to be a better person. I don’t want other liars, hypocrites, and others to avoid the church because they think I am perfect.

The best that we can do is encourage others in the church to ignore the judgement of others. That’s between them and God. For us we will do our best not to judge, but be welcoming to anyone who comes.

Huh, Well that Worked Out: 10 Ways of Dealing with Crisis

Part of my wonderful (not being sarcastic) position at the local community mental health facility is jumping head first into crisis’s with people who believe that it is the end of the world. Maybe not the literal end of the world, but enough terrible no good very bad things are happening that it does seem like the end of their world. We have all been there before. It’s that moment in life when the peak quickly turns for a valley, and you quickly get this shocked feeling in the middle of the night waking you up in a cold seat as you wonder if you’re going to make it to the end of week. Which doesn’t do wonders for getting up the next day to actually deal with the problem.

So, here are ten ways of dealing with a crisis:

  1. Just like bad gas, this too will pass.

Yeah I know that’s a pretty juvenile thing to say, I’m aware of it, and embrace it. A crisis is something that is temporary, and causes immediate stress for a short period of time. Take some time to be grateful that this is not the “normal” state of your life. Remember what life was like on a more normal day.

2. You’re definitely not alone. 

Saddest part of hiking twenty miles in the mountains is reaching the point that you think no one else has ever been just to trip over a beer can. Whatever it is that you are going through (lost dog, car stolen, teenagers being too edgy) there has been someone else who went through something similar, and made it out just fine. You are not the first person to have this crisis. You won’t be that last.

3. It’s okay to have a freak out. Just remember to apologize.

Yeah, you’re pissed, you’re angry, you’re in a state where the next person that says “Gotta case of the Monday’s?” will be killed on the spot. It’s okay to have a meltdown, but try to cope with the problem before the meltdown happens. If you’ve already melted down from the crisis make sure that you take some time to forgive that person who set you over the edge, and yourself for going over the edge. What we do when we are emotional doesn’t need to last forever (nor should it(it will still wake you up at night)).

4. Do something nice for yourself.

This can quickly take a dark turn if you take the crisis you have then add onto it because of doing something dumb like getting wasted, and driving downtown for midnight doughnuts only to get a DUI. Do something nice for yourself that won’t add onto the crisis that already exists. I like watching movies at theaters shoveling a popcorn into my mouth like some starving child.

5. Find ways of making things seem more positive

Make a joke of the situation, or reminisce with others about better times (ahead or behind). Find ways to make the days bearable even if that means taking up a new hobby to distract yourself with. My wife and I will invent inside jokes as a way to cope because we are lame and have no life.

6. Avoid rushed decisions such as going to a animal shelter, and adopting all the dogs (I can relate).

We joke…..but its a really good idea and would totally make you feel better. However, that’s a lot poop to pick up, and food to buy. Again avoid adding to the crisis when you cope. Also try to avoid calling the crisis and telling them exactly how you feel. Give yourself time to cool off and be rational. What your email says may be right, but it can also be the right way to get fired or ruin relationships.

7. Some people suck, so what?

Sometimes when we are going through tough situations other people just make it worse. They may even be the reason we are in a crisis. My thought is, I know who I am even if they don’t. Take care of yourself and get out of the crisis. Forget anyone else who tries to bring you down. Some people suck that’s just life.

8. Go someplace different

 When I am upset the last thing I can handle is a mess (my life). I have to go someplace clean, and just live there until I am calm enough to handle my problem. Sometimes you may need noise, sometimes quiet. Change your environment to change your mood.

9. Come up with a really good plan

I’m talking about making a comprehensible plan with note tabs, and fancy ink. Make a plan that puts great generals to shame. Who cares if the plan is completely unreasonable, it helps to think of the problem in creative ways. This may lead to a simple solution you never thought of.

10. Recognize when its over, and learn from your mistakes

When its done, its done. Move on, and enjoy life without crisis. Learn what you did wrong, and how to improve for next time.

My last bit of advice is a crisis will solve, even if you don’t do anything. I have dived into horrible situations with clients where it almost causes me to have a crisis by helping solve their’s, and usually these things work themselves out in the strangest yet best way possible. Be open to that, and remember life is suppose to be fun.

How You’re Going To Take Over the World and Other Stuff My Mom Taught Me

I have probably the best mother ever. Not trying to brag, but honestly, she is awesome. She taught me so much of what I know today and is an inspiration to me. Anyone who can constantly tell you “Life is supposed to be fun!” is someone you want to listen to.

One of the most important things she taught me was how to take over the world. Not in a literal sense, but in a sense of how to conquer my world. To take on the challenges that I face and overcome them. She taught me how to set goals.

Setting goals is one of those important things that we all believe we know how to do. It’s like budgeting or doing laundry. Everyone believes they have the knowledge to set goals, but it takes time. It takes time, work, and drive to push through completing what is hard now to have something in the future.

In the past I had these outrageous goals like publish a novel next year when I don’t know the first thing about writing, or publishing. Creating a club, and having it be the most popular club on campus when I know nothing about club management. These goals were things that I wanted to accomplish but set the bar too high too soon. There is a saying that you should shoot to the moon, and if you miss you still land among that stars. To me that only means they missed their goal, and if they had spent a little more time calculating they could have made it.

What I am not saying is give up on your dreams. What I am saying is make achievable goals that lead you to your dreams gradually. If the dream is to become the world’s most famous rock star the first step is ensuring you can play the guitar well. If the dream is to own a house, then the first step is understanding loans. In the example of the moon scientists didn’t just shoot the first rocket they found full of people to land among the stars. It took years of careful research and experimentation to complete.

My mother taught me that these baby steps, though small, eventually take me higher until I reach the top of the mountain. If I want to publish a novel the first step is learning how to write well.

Here is how to set achievable goals to take over the world:

Step one-

Create the vision. We ask this question first, so we know where we need to go. It won’t help us one bit if we just do things without knowing where it ends. What is it you want to do? Is there a job that you want, or a skill? What is the final product?

Step two-

Research what it is that you want. I mean actually research, not just a google search and look at Wikihow (though they are helpful). Go to a library, ask a professional in the field, or even look at reviews (if it’s a company, or membership needed). Really understand what you’re getting into. This will save time and money

Step three-

Begin your first steps by creating smaller destinations along the way. If you want to get in shape determine what your first achievable step is. If someone hasn’t ran a mile since high school, then running a block might be too much. Try walking a mile or jogging less than a mile. Continue working up from there. They should also determine what their eating, and if it is a benefit to them getting in shape. If it’s not, then what can they take out of their diet over time?

Step four-

Mistakes WILL be made. Whoever try’s will fail, especially if it is a new skill. We shouldn’t assume mistakes are a sign of failure they are a determination of what we did wrong, and what should be done to improve. Mistakes are for learning and growing. When first trying to fish I used too much junk on my line leaving fish disinterested. After multiple failed attempts I caught my first fish. Approach mistakes positively they are the guide to success.

Step 5-

Create for yourself the drive to complete these smaller goals and push past the point of disinterest. Most people will stop short of their goal because the drive isn’t there anymore. Find the drive in yourself each day to complete the tasks set. As time goes on it will become as natural as breathing. Find someone to hold you accountable and will push you to succeed.

 

Setting goals is the easy part, completing them can be difficult. If you want to control your world and become the master of your destiny you must be willing to work for it. Each day creates the opportunity to learn, but like anything not used it will atrophy.

 

What is the vision you have? Do you know how to get there? Let me know.

Conversations with Death (Writing Like an Edgy Teenager)

I lost one of the most important people in my life, and now all that was left was to sit feeling sorry for myself. I cried, and cried on this bench. Then death came. It sat down beside me listening to me go on about the unfairness of my loss, and what I would give to change it all. Death, a patient individual, listened to every word. I finally turned to death, “Why did you do this?”

Death answers in reply, “Am I punishment? Do people only see me as a terrible thing that brings them pain? Oh, you are blinded by emotion, can you not see that I am as natural as these flowers, or the very air that you breathe. I exist because life exists. You were destined to meet me the very moment you took your first breath at birth. It doesn’t matter if you are a saint, or a sinner. It wouldn’t matter if you were rich or poor. Everyone will meet me. All of life groans for me as this world is pain and suffering.”

“She is too young.” I said, “How can you justify taking the life of a person so young and innocent. Her life was one that was never lived, and never experienced. She never knew love, or the oceans breeze. She never saw the starry sky, or the mountains”

“Why do you depreciate her? Do you believe that the time she has spent here was useless? Oh, you are blinded by self-pity, can you not see that she did amazing things with the time she was given, and to say her life was never lived is to destroy the great things she has done.”

“I want her back, I want to see my friend, I want to hear her laugh, sing, and dance.”

“Why do you want to harm her? Do you only think of yourself? You who is blinded by your own self-worth, can you not see she was suffering? All her life she suffered, and now she suffers no more. Am I not a gift to those who are in pain?”

Death leaves me to sit and ponder what was said, and I believe I can say it in terms that everyone can understand: Death is as natural as life. We don’t die as a punishment for the wrongs in life, nor do we die for the good we do. We die when it is time to die. To say someone doesn’t deserve death is to destroy the memory of their life. In life, we experience happiness, and joy. In life, we experience sorrow and suffering. Be thankful for today with those you love.

Bankruptcy! It’s a solution: Climbing out of the pit of despair

I have always had a fear of debt. When my parents fought it was about money. It happened so often that I had nightmares of it. I am afraid of it, and I still am. My worst fear became my reality, I owe money. It keeps me up at night, and stresses me out. With each new bill I am reminded of how little I have, and how I have to find a way to make more. Each day I get older I wonder if I will have enough, or if fighting at this point is even worth it.

Every step feels like a failure. We recently had to shell out 560 for medical bills, and 1500 for vehicle repairs all in one week. We blew our savings, and canceled our vacation. We still have another 200 in medical coming up. We are strapped, and tired.

When it gets bad like this I cope by watching 30 Rock. I have watched every episode at least three times, and its how I calm down. I can sit back and hypnotize myself letting all the worry leave me, but recently something clicked. In the episode, Into the Crevasse, Jack details a story of him mountain climbing. He states how he is cut off from the group becoming stranded. He details to Liz Lemon how he had to dig deeper to get out of the situation. He using this strategy to help out his company from going under, and Liz uses it to get Tracy out of her hair.

Sometimes the way up is down. So, yeah things are hard for me right now. I don’t get to go on a vacation I spent months saving up for. Instead I stay behind to fight for my life. That’s ok, because tomorrow I’ll still be around. Tomorrow I will get up, and keep on fighting. Tomorrow I will dive deeper searching for the bottom. When I find it, I can begin to crawl back up.

Peaks and valleys. That’s all that life is. It gets great, and then it gets worse. Yet once you hit the low part then the good part comes. It’s a cycle, and each cycle offers the chance to learn from. Every peak is a time of joyfulness, and mindfulness. A chance to be thankful for all that is. Every valley is a time of work, and perseverance. It’s a time for reflection and to remember the good in the world, the good that we have experienced.

I have to say I might be in the valley right now, but things will get better. I will learn, and I will grow into something better. Tomorrow I will be the best Felix yet as long as I am willing to try. Willing to keep on looking up for that sky that I have seen a million times before. The world around me is still beautiful even in the valley.

Today I sat outside fishing with my wife. We casted our rods out in the park as the sun set was lighting up the world around us. Everything became still as people walked their dogs, and the breeze flowed. I was happy that my family was together in Oklahoma even if I had to stay home. I thanked God for it all, even the bad because it can be so much worse. Be thankful because it can always get worse.

Part of climbing out of the pit involves letting go of the constant struggle. Letting go of the intense pain that overflows the body creating the fear that all is lost. It’s not easy, and it takes practice to learn how to stop ahead of the pain. Redirecting myself that all is not lost, and that this is a struggle. Each day in the struggle that I overcome my skin gets thicker, and my life get better.

Sometimes we have to climb down . Sometimes we have to embrace the pain. We do these things in the valley to get better. Don’t hasten to the peak, but seek to find the world around you. Enjoy the valley as much as the peak. Enjoy what is given, and what is taken. Life is supposed to be fun but also a journey.

Can you think of something you learned when you were in the valley?

How to Build a Boarder Wall!

I hope I snagged you with that clickbait title because we do have a very important topic to talk about, and it is related to a border.

If you ask my wife what her biggest issue is with me, it would be I let people walk over me. I don’t stand up for myself, and when things are wrong I don’t get them corrected. Most of what she says I agree with. I don’t like going back into fast food restaurants to get my order fixed, I don’t like complaining to others, and when I get bad services I rather just not go back instead of fixing the issue. My wife is very different. She will march into a store demanding what she paid for even if its just a few dollars of a mistake. She wants things corrected and done right.

For a long time, I would just tell her, Hey you just got to relax. Mistakes happen. She would tell me, Yeah, that’s fine but I paid for it. That was something I never thought about before. This was my money, and my service. Most jobs I worked were in the services industry or working with difficult people in tough situations. I have adopted this passive approach to a lot of my interactions with people because it’s a hard mentality to break. I have always been on the other side correcting mistakes, and I feel like I personally hurt others when I ask for something to be corrected. Mostly because I feel its personal when someone is in my face yelling at me how they bought this yogurt and needed a refund because it’s the wrong Toffeetastic flavor they wanted WayTooManyBerries. Its apparently my fault because I stock the yogurt and mixed up all the flavors making it too difficult for them to find the right one.

For anyone who works in retail, or for anyone who works with people in a services environment can relate to getting yelled at for completely unreasonable things. Having to back down or risk getting in trouble because management cares more about their customers then employees. Why wouldn’t they? Employees cost money, while customers are the people buying the product. After years in this environment I have gotten use to: It’s my fault, I am wrong, and if its not a big deal, let it go.

After working in a more therapeutic, case management environment I am still dealing with difficult people, but there must be a wall between us. This wall also makes it so that I am able to say no to people to better help them. Having this passivity harms the overall impact I can have in a clients life.

I discovered this with my first client who had a bill of over 4000 dollars. Part of my job was to find clients who slipped through our sliding scale and help them get a reduced fee. Normal therapy session for an LCSW is about 140 dollars without insurance. With the sliding scale the service could be reduce to 12 dollars (Depending on size of family and income).

I was very ambitious at this time seeking to change people’s lives and help in any way that I could. That led me to being used, and not helping a family in treatment. By always driving to their house I made it so they no longer had to get ready for the day. By going inside, I normalized myself to the point they no longer cleaned, or washed. By transporting them to all the places we needed to go they became reliant on me. It didn’t matter how much hand holding I did they kept regressing.

I brought this case to my supervisor who pointed out all my flaws mentioned above. I wasn’t helping the family with becoming independent I was making them reliant on me. If I was doing my job correctly they would no longer need to be my customer and learn to advocate for themselves. Its about meeting people where they are and moving forward from there. A part of that is I have to say no. No, I cannot take you to this appointment, I can meet you there. No, I cannot come to your home for this appointment you need to come here. No, I cannot do that for you, but I will gladly assist you. I will assist and help in the least invasive way possible till you are able to stand up and do it yourself.

It was like everything sort of clicked into place when she said that. You mean I can say no, and help people? You mean I don’t have to let others walk all over me? I can keep a boundary, and still help them? This was incredible news for me even if it was taught to me multiple times in school. Getting the experience of working with others made everything click into place.

I started recently applying these skills in my daily life. I started saying no to people. Instead of coming up with an excuse as to why it’s impossible to hang out with someone and not seem like a jerk, I just say no. I have boundary with them, they make me feel bad, and I’m not spending time with them. I’m an adult, and I can make these decisions myself.

We must create these boundaries with others. Its not that we don’t like them or want them to feel bad. We must care about ourselves. This doesn’t mean when the pimple-faced teenager rings up our WayTooManyBerries at the wrong price we get in his face and yell. It means we politely ask for them to double check it. Make sure we didn’t make a mistake, and we say no if we know they are wrong. It’s not about being a jerk, it’s about caring for yourself.

I picture the body as a nation. I am the nation of Felix. I have a flag, my county has a religion, we have an okish economy, we got a really hot ally (my wife), and the national sport is eating Doritos while playing D&D (Damn good nation). When I let people walk over me I let them take a part of me. They start eating away at my main resources: happiness, dignity, self-worth. I lose them to these invaders, and my people are still a welcoming people. We like to believe that others won’t hurt us, but we must have boundaries to protect our resources. To protect Felix from being broken down to the point of hate, pity, and humiliation. A place where we have all been before.

I know in the news there is a lot of issues going on related to the border. Don’t let this analogy get in the way of the message I’m trying to tell you. You need to be a patriot of your nation. You need to be a patriot in that you care for yourself enough to say no and stick to that no. Create boundaries with people, and don’t feel bad about them. You are a human, your only here for a short time. Is it so wrong to want those years to be comfortable? Is it wrong to want the same dignity and respect other people have?

I never felt like I deserved what other people had, I thought it was fine for people to walk over me. I am saying no. If I payed for it, it will get fixed. If I don’t want to spent time with you, I won’t. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It just means I am human, and I want to be happy while I’m here.

Failing Forward an Ode to the Times I Suck

The most cliché thing I love to repeat is “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” All my life I have made plans, and they have never been fulfilled. I’ve given up, honestly I have, and I am letting go of all worry. What is the point anymore? Since I was a child I had this huge plan about where I was going to go, and what I was going to do. There was a perfect outline of events that would create the perfect life. I worked hard every step of the way only to find that the door I was searching for was always closed to me. It wasn’t part of my journey no matter how badly I wanted in.

This has to be relatable to other people. I don’t think I have ever met someone who has said, “Oh yeah, everything I ever wanted came out just as planned.” There is just too much going on for anyone to completely succeed at everything they set out to do. I wanted a completely different life than the one got. Planning was dumb, I was blinded by ambition, and a need to succeed that I never learned a single thing about myself.

I hit my head against a wall fighting for my “dream job” while living in this fantasy that if I don’t give up then I will get what I have always wanted (For some people this works). Giving up has honestly been the best choice for me. I stopped planning. I’ve stopped worrying because how the hell am I suppose to know what tomorrow will bring when I can barely control today. I still have wants, and dreams. I make achievable goals for that, but I’m over creating a five or ten year plan.

God will provide, and I sincerely believe that. Now I’m not trying to proselytize here, but can you say that all those nights spent worrying turned up anything besides bad dreams with upset stomachs? After dealing with one client’s crisis to the next, staying up late at night trying to plan out the perfect situation to get them the most help, I learned it all works out in the end. Maybe not for the best, maybe even to a decompensated state. However, the crisis is over, and they grow from it. They can rebuild.

I failed at everything. I pushed so hard to be let down. I sacrificed everything I had for what I wanted to do, and was crushed for years when I learned I couldn’t do it. I was physically unable to. Yet I persisted, and fought more. I dug myself deeper, and deeper believing in this dream. I had no idea that I would be where I am today, but I am better off for it. I learned to rebuild, and I built the life I have now. With help of course from my religion, my wife (pictured above beautiful as ever), and my family especially my mother.

Life isn’t always pretty, and I understand there are powerful forces at play in people’s lives that cause harm. All I am suggesting is that for all the hours I spent hunched over begging God for help, could have been spent thanking him it’s not worse. Instead of feeling sick and being restless I could have been asleep or enjoying the limited time I have here in life.

That’s what it boils down to, 75 years (If I am lucky) of life. Already 25 have been spent, and a third will go to sleep. More to work, cooking, traffic, and chores. All told I only have maybe 5 years left of time that I get to enjoy. If that time is spent worrying about tomorrow I won’t get to write cool things, love on my wife, and take stupid photos.

Tomorrow I will wake up. I will walk to work with the sun shining down on my face. At work I will speak with clients, and help solve their issues. During lunch I will eat, and work on some more content to publish working on the things I enjoy. I will finish my day at work, and go home. I will play D&D with my friends, and wife. I will cook dinner with my wife. That is my plan, and that is as far as I will go. An infinite amount of things (good or bad) can happen between then and now. I choose not to worry because I cannot know what tomorrow will bring. I will take whatever life gives me, and work with what I have.

Each time I failed I learned, and moved forward. So here is to us, the imperfect, the broken, and the rebuilders. To those who have given up on waiting for life, and making plans for tomorrow. Be here today, and laugh with God about plans made.

What is something you spent time worrying about? Did your life’s plan turn out the way you wanted it to?

How to change your life in 6 minutes or less today! Totally FREE because the ads aren’t mine

Do you want to know the secret to unlocking your full potential? Perhaps you find yourself with less energy then you previously had, or maybe you are seeking to become your best self? Whatever it is you are looking for I have it right here in this article for you, and its free.

Are you buying the clickbait that I am laying down hard? I do have something for you, and it might change your life, or might be something you already know. It might be something that someone has told you a million times, but here we are. I want to introduce perspective.

If I was in high school I would start by using a Webster’s dictionary definition of what perspective is. I’m not, and you can Google that yourself (I think Bing can look it up to). I want to tell a story of a criminal, and let you determine for yourself a perspective.

Johnathan steals a loaf of bread from his local gas station. He slides it up his bulky hoodie when he thinks no one is looking around. As he is about to leave the cashier confronts him telling him to give it back, or have the police called on him. John runs out of the store to his home. After a little investigating the police find and arrest John of petty theft. He must return the property and pay a fine. These are the facts of the situation.

Why did John steal the bread?

Well, there are any number of reasons that he could have stolen the bread. Maybe it’s a mental condition where he feels he must steal, maybe it’s because he must prove something to someone, or maybe he steals because he is hungry with all other means being exhausted.

The point I am trying to make is that we placed a judgement on John based on what he did. I hear stories and read them online of people making terrible choices that I would never even consider in my life. When I was a resident assistant at a college several of my residents stole traffic cones, I had people who I worked with in detention centers who made meth. I know of a lot of people who did things that in my mind made no sense to me. I placed judgement on a person based off actions that I was not a part of.

I do this almost every day still, and I rarely catch myself before I make the judgment. In that past I have done things that made no logical sense to other people. I tried drifting a car only to hit a stop sign causing thousands of dollars in damage. Anyone who looked at that facts of that story without my perspective could conclude that I was deviant, or otherwise incapable of being trusted with my actions.

In recent months I have found myself working to improve my outlook of others, and the world around me. People will do things that seem illogical to me, and I have to take a moment to step back out of the frame of mind of judgement to try and see things from a different perspective. In the situation of John by just reading the facts and having to work with someone like John I cannot just judge him saying, “Well you know that stealing is illegal.” That is redundant as everyone else is telling him that, I should instead ask him “why”.

When my wife and I argue it’s because one of us doesn’t understand the perspective of the other. Of course, we are both right in our minds, but instead of arguing what we should be doing, we should instead discuss why we want to do them. What is the motivation of waiting to clean on Sunday verse right now. Why do we need to go to New York to visit family when they can come this way? Why are we saving for this service when the other service works just fine?

In your life you will interact with people, and have those moments when you think, “Is this person serious?” Instead of placing judgement on them try to come from a different angle and ask why they are doing this. Try to understand where people are coming form.

We all come from different backgrounds with the idea that our way is the right way, but if we tilt our perspective we can begin to understand those around us in a new light. Without being harsh or judgmental we can affect better change with those around us getting what we want while still understanding the person who is talking to us.

This is in no way trying to excuse illegal, or unwanted behavior. It is a way to understand others, so we can begin to work with those who are the most difficult in our life finding a middle ground. I recently had a cousin who stole from us. The total that she stole was about three hundred dollars while we were away trying to start a life. Without getting to much into detail of her life by changing my perspective I could see why she stole from us, and even empathize with it. I don’t condone what happened, or the actions she took. I also cannot change what happened. I can only move forward knowing what I know and grow past the hurt I feel.

This is a difficult topic to discuss with others as most people will have a knee jerk reaction of “Well what about this situation, should I empathize with this?” My answer is your life is your own, and what you do with it is up to you. I am only offering the advice that when I take some time to see another person’s view that I disagree with I no longer see them as an enemy, or person who wants to harm me. I see them as human capable of making mistakes and hurting others. Just like I am.

Part of my blog, if you are unfamiliar with it, is self-growth to be the person I envision for myself. I want to envision in myself a person who can be talked to about difficult problems without judgement and looking in a new lens. I do this, so I can help those I love, and those who I don’t care for. I don’t excuse the deviant behaviors, but I try to see them as human to forgive them for me. I cannot hold onto grudges anymore, or what I see as mistakes others have done. At some point I have to let it all go and accept I have done bad things I hope others can forgive me.

Not My News

In college I was on a bus that hit a man on a street. I was in the second row watching as the man hit the side of the bus, and felt like he went under a tire. It was a terrifying moment in my life. In that moment I was sure that he had died, and to this day I’m not sure if he lived. We sat on the bus, as some students ran to the front hoping to help. I can remember thinking what were they going to do for him? CPR as he bleeds out? I called 911, and a few others did.

We weren’t allowed off the bus, and the body was behind us a ways. We stayed on as reports were filled out, and police began to escort us to another campus bus. The man was transported to the hospital, and that was that. During the three hours that we sat there the news crew that pulled up stayed for only 20 minutes.

20 minutes to take some photos, ask questions to some people who were not police, and climb back into their van off to the next story. Each station had a fleet of vans on standby monitoring for any hint of a story. I don’t blame them it’s the nature of the beast. The first to release the story is the first to make the money.

What I do have a problem with is that they got the details of the story wrong. Three stories came out. The first was the man was at a crosswalk, second he was on a bike, third he was actually a she. All three news stories of the events were wrong. It was a man who illegally crossed the street without a bike, and was hit by a bus.

Information in the digital age is fast, and at first appears to be accurate. Everyone has a perspective about an event, and when perspective fits our bias we like it even more. Four people can witness the same event, and come away with different stories of how that event played out. What that means for our news in the digital age is that anything at any time could be fake news. There isn’t one perspective, and news stations get information as a secondary source from those that experience the story. It takes multiple sources to get even a glimpse at the truth of the story.

Its important to take time to reflect on the source of information, and take it with a grain of salt.

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