compassion and not hating people

Humans have a habit of seeing things as cause and effect. You drop a dish, it will shatter. You close your eyes and wake up at a different time, you were asleep. You say something rude to person A and they are angry.

Emotions are wild entities because while they usually have some manner of correlation between cause and effect, the proportions don’t always fit like we want them too. When a person is under an incredible amount of stress, sometimes something as small as a sad puppy picture can make them cry. Furthermore, even when we know it’s selfish and unrealistic, we can find ourselves angry or frustrated that things don’t work out the way we want.

No human is the center of the universe, and yet getting that into our skulls is another matter entirely. We want things to go well, even when we realize that the bumps and swerves and mountains in the road are necessary to feel that things are going well.  It’s a dangerous habit to claim a thing is part of human nature, but it is easy to feel that we all want the best for ourselves, in some form.

I feel like the more I learn about humans, mistakes, crime, and every other bad thing we go through, the more I feel that we largely have a cooperation and interaction problem. Many, yet not all, diseases come from our inability to care for ourselves and others. Both psychological and physical problems we face are often the result of not having the necessary social support, whether that be financial, emotional, etc.

People lash out because they are hurt. It doesn’t mean they should have lashed out, it just explains why they did so.

When it comes to cause and effect, we can simplify the situation down too much. We can point to A, B, and C, but we might miss the emotional reality of a person altogether. It’s not so simple. Events and actions add up over time. Experiences can remind someone of another experience.

When we look at ourselves, we know how it feels to be in our own shoes. However, being compassionate toward others is important. Communication and balancing out complex interactions is a tightrope walk with the whole circus making a ruckus around you, and it’s a tightrope for everyone.

There are so many things we don’t know. Being loving towards both ourselves and others begins with realizing that. Everyone is doing the best they can, as messed up as they may end up. The only way any of us gets to something approximating normal is by depending on others and letting others depend on us.

little weights and balance

There is a balance between being patient with yourself, and encouraging yourself to actually get things done.

Oftentimes we have to treat ourselves like small children. We have to reward ourselves with snacks, set time apart for naps, make sure our schedule is in line. Things become messy when we realize the person who will reward us is usually us. It’s easy to be our child-self, far more difficult to convince ourselves to be adults.

Being an adult seems like its own world when you’re a child. It is a set of concepts we associate with responsibility and personal power: opening accounts, setting a budget, going grocery shopping, going to work, etc. It seems foreign to those who haven’t done it, terrifying, really.

But it’s a challenge like every other we face. We learn things one by one. We walk to a place, we fill out a form, and we ask questions when we aren’t sure.

Being “adult” is more or less scary to different individuals, but the same idea holds for a lot of things. Fundamentally, we build things up in our head. We make mole hills into mountains and that makes the prospect of climbing them far more difficult. No matter how complicated a task, we break it down into simpler steps. No matter how important a decision is, the moments leading up help give us the necessary information.

So be patient with yourself on the little things, but get those little things done. All of the huge weights we create are an accumulation of little bits we can handle.

being clean

Hygiene is a matter of taking care of yourself. People who look good typically have amazing hygiene because they see themselves as something to groom and nurture. Depression can come out in poor hygiene for the exact same reason; if you don’t see yourself as something worth taking care of, you won’t take care of yourself.

Here are some good reasons to brush your teeth, clean yourself, shower, wash your clothes, and put on deodorant of some kind. One, when you take care of your body, it feels good. It may take effort and is a big hurdle for people, but after you do so, you psychologically feel better because you can’t feel or smell the grease and dirt any more. It’s easier to see yourself as handsome when you’re operating at your well-groomed level.

Two, you may not care about your body before a shower for example, but the physical act of washing cues our brain to see ourselves as something worth washing. Sometimes our thoughts cause our actions, but other times it’s our actions that cause our thoughts. And three, we care about other peoples’ opinions, and that’s not always a bad thing! We care about other people seeing us in a good light and that can motivate us to be better. You should want to take care of yourself and look good, but what we should want isn’t always what we actually want. That’s okay. Knowing the two previous reasons, the important step is being hygenic in the first place. Pick someone you care about mentally, from a parent to a friend to a dog to a celebrity, and take care of yourself for them. When we are clean, we are more confident, healthier, and more prepared for social situations. Some people struggle with it more than others, but the bottom line is that everyone is worth taking care of.

what a fan

A fan works, in the simplest terms, by little weird curvy blades swhooshing around really fast. In many ways, this should be our goal in life! To have a cycle and a goal and to carry it all out for the sake of someone besides ourselves. As we know from history, stories, and psychology, we are our best selves when we are focused on other people.

When we get overwhelmed with life, it’s usually because we aren’t looking at it from a community perspective. We see our own problems the easiest because they are the most salient to us. We know that we were late because we had a crazy morning that resulted in spilled coffee and the like. However, how willing are we to take that perspective for someone else who comes in late? We don’t see the morning, we just see the entrance and we assume that they must not care as much.

In a similar way, we can become consumed with this idea that if our plans aren’t fulfilled or carried out, everything will be over. We make our own life the be all end all. But how realistic is that? It’s actually a glorious thing that we aren’t the center of the universe. It means that we can ask other people for help. It means we can find a place to go if the worst case scenario rolls out. It means that even if our personal point A to point B can’t be connected, that we can make another plan. And maybe going from point C to point D is something you wouldn’t have expected to make you as happy as it does!

Other people exist. It’s a bit annoying at times, but it’s also an incredible gift if we have the right mindset. It helps us, but it also means that we can help other people, and that’s something really precious.

to Gen Z

Technology has such a psychological impact on us because we can compare so much information and so many people consistently and constantly. No matter how fast you go, someone is faster. No matter how smart you are, someone is more intelligent. No matter how hardworking you are, someone else is doing more. But it doesn’t end there! the expectation has shifted so that the pressure is on to be the most intelligent, athletic, social, and hardworking individual all at once. Or at least, that’s what the pressure feels like and seems to say.

The other half of the pressure is the force to become your own individual, to have clear characteristics and quirks, as long as they within some acceptable range. It’s bland to be uncertain. We want to be able to quantify our traits, in order to feel like we have traits to begin with. The problem arises because we aren’t going to react the same in every situation. The mood, the environment, how much sleep we’ve gotten, our health, etc., to say we are one thing a near blatant lie.

Overall, both of these pressures turn into an assumption that we need to be figured out.  Whoever we are, we need to be established, going for gold in all areas of our lives. The problem is, we aren’t. Age is a factor, but it’s not a defining one: our identities are dynamic things. They flow, they change, they develop into new and beautiful patterns. So we aren’t going to be amazing at everything. We are going to mess up, and we are going to be lazy. We might very well be living train wrecks, but the important thing is that we are alive. Even if the progress doesn’t seem fast enough, we’re moving forward anyways. We’re pushing through and learning more about ourselves. Sometimes we’ll have to make new labels and new boxes, and that’s okay! It’s okay to be uncertain.

 

the spending habits of the soul

We exist in a world of cost. To get to the Olympics, for example, means a huge amount of cost. The participants and those around them sacrifice their time, their effort, their lives to this competition. The food we eat and the things we use every day all require something of us. That usually translates into money, which we receive from sacrificing time to engage in a task that pays us. While economics seems to be incredibly dull from the outset, it’s actually a surprising study of life itself. Economists question how, why, where we get the things we do, and how, why, and what we do with those things afterward. It’s amazingly connected to psychology in that they use how people think and have acted to predict how they will act. But how does this relate to us on a practical level?

Practically, economists are running the organization of our entire society. They help orchestrate the massive plan holding everything together. But in other ways, knowing about economists doesn’t do much to change our lives.  Knowing about the importance of people who study boring maps and graphs doesn’t inspire the ability to change oneself. What it does do, is highlight how important it is to life that we know what we are giving up. The real, tangible way to make use of the concept we live in a world of cost? Being reasonable.

“Being reasonable” is a phrase that tends to get a bad reputation from the most artistic people of the world. It gets translated into, “Don’t aim for lofty goals”. However, it can be better translated and used to mean, “Don’t aim for lofty goals all at once.” If you set achievable small goals, reasonable small goals, they can eventually build its way up to those big goals. Furthermore, “being reasonable” also makes us aware that we have limited quantities of time and effort. If all of our choices can be related to cost, then we can learn to find better ways to spend our time. It might be terrifying to isolate things down to cost, and surely not everything can, but why live prodigally and miss your best self by a lack of calculation?

just talk to a dang person

As amazing and important as technology is, there is one queen bee we often forget about: socialization. Humans are social creatures! We organize in groups of kinship, then create groups of similar disposition. When we are afraid, we tend to recruit another human to go along with us. As a species, we have managed to create the most complex and dense structure of interaction to provide resources for not only ourselves and immediate family, but for virtually all families of our nation! There are of course many nuances, details, exceptions, and limitations to that concept, but just consider!

Take an individual who is living in a first world country. They live in homes constructed by people they’ve never met, filled with things that people have created machines to mass produce, have complex interactions with a variety of people who are potentially amazingly different than them! Even with violence and war, racism, sexism, and all those other isms, we manage to find massive conglomerates of people with our same beliefs! We are able to organize to the point of millions; that is absolutely crazy!! Humans are amazingly social, seeing faces in clouds and personifying things like toys.

Socialization is one of the key foundations of our psychological well-being. Loners might seem cool, but they also die faster and live miserably. To some extent, we likely adore loner figures in stories and fiction because of our innate drive to want to incorporate them into the group again. The “bad boy” stereotype is admired in part, not because he’s bad, but because of the hope that maybe he isn’t.

And yet! We stop physically interacting because of smart phones, opting for the easier option. Don’t get me wrong, technology is amazing and incredibly important! We could do so much with it, and do! However, there is a colossal problem with over using social media in a way that disrupts our naturally physically interactive social behaviors. You don’t have to chuck your phone, it would probably cause a huge mess because of all the responsibilities tied to it. However, what we can do is try to limit ourselves. Revel in being human! Sure, check out your feed, but then have a face to face conversation over dinner. Just talk to people, do something, don’t just scroll for hours on end! It sounds like unnecessary work, but it really isn’t– on the contrary, it is core to our physical and mental well being.