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I Believed

I am reluctantly considering the conclusion that much of what I have believed for as long as I have believed anything may represent far more hope than truth. Sure, I admit to taking it for granted that things actually are the way I have always thought they are, that my reality is valid and based on the true and factual, and that my sense of what’s real is correct and axiomatic. Naive? Simple-minded? Perhaps dangerous? Indeed. But nonetheless, I believed.

I take some comfort in knowing that a preference for belief over thoughtful consideration didn’t just start with me. The Roman philosopher Seneca observed that “Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.” It’s likely that the “exercise” part of exercising judgment is the showstopper for many, if not most of us. For me at least, it has been easier to relax and believe.

Robert Brault got it right when he pointed out that “An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.” To my surprise and disappointment, I am starting to notice cracks if not actual holes in some of my most trusted beliefs. The cause and solution may be as simple as E D Martin suggests, “It is easier to believe than to doubt.”

Laziness? Indifference? Bertrand Russell says it’s our inherent credulity. “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.” Perhaps I should add gullibility to lazy and naive. The picture is not looking good.

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How To Matter

The Friend Factory (revisited)

From time to time, it’s time to revisit The Friend Factory. This is the time, no matter whether you are eight or eighty. We all need reminded now and then.

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How To Matter

1 Key to Bliss

Do you have the key to perfect intimate relationships? The problem is that there are way more than a single key. But having 1 key is a good start. Try this one. It may unlock more than you might expect.

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How To Matter

Be Nice To Yourself

Your mental health matters. It starts with being nice to yourself. Listen and hear how it is done.

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Audio Tidbit How To Matter Parenting

Just One Big Unhappy Family

If what you see is one big happy family, there may be many reasons and explanations, not that any of these are necessary. Happy is normally its own accounting. If what you see is one big unhappy family, there are only a few likely reasons, and explanations totally depend on who you ask. Emotional distress, psychological and interpersonal malfunction and unhealthy family environments typically have their base in only a limited number of problems and issues. Being able to spot these problems and issues is the key to helping your family avoid even more devastating unhappiness. In this episode of Audio Tidbits Podcast, I share with you a series of vignettes that illustrate the range of mental health and interpersonal issues unhappy families commonly experience. I am simply assuming that you know enough to find qualified help if any of these signs of serious difficulty show up in your family.

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Audio Tidbit

I Might Change But…

We are told that we should accept the things we can’t change, but should we really? The truth of the matter is that I don’t think that I know what that means. Whether I do or don’t, I do know that it likely doesn’t matter whether I accept what I can’t change or not. Things and people are pretty much as they are and there isn’t much we are going to do about that; and trying to move that rock is one big waste of our time and energy.

If you think I should change, I might change but…. Sure, there is always a but. It could happen but most likely not any time soon or in the way you want me to change. If you don’t opt to just give up on me, your time and energy will be best invested in helping me succeed in being who I want me to be. Please press play and consider how that might work.

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Audio Tidbit

Passing Virtue

Are you mostly a person who is passing virtue or are you more apt to stay in the virtue zone? It’s a pretty simple choice, but making it is very far from easy or obvious. Perhaps you will choose to take a few minutes to check out a conversation I was having with my digital friend, a self-rated expert on most everything.

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Audio Tidbit

Step Back to Step Up

How often do you have to deal with difficult situations, difficult people or times when what to do, what to say, or how to proceed are unclear? What about those moments when you are tempted to do or say something just to get past the immediate stress and discomfort? It just may be that it is time to step back to step up. Press play and listen to see how that strategy would work for you.

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Audio Tidbit

Just Going Along To Get Along

Now and then, just going along to get along is a really good idea. It’s the easiest and most hassle-free way to deal with some people and some situations. The key here is “some.” The problem starts when “some” transitions to “most” or even to “all.” Just going along to get along becomes a serious commitment to eventually disappearing as a valuable, important person who matters to you and who should matter to others. In this episode of Audio Tidbits Podcast, I discuss the down side of just going along to get along and suggest a healthier alternative. Please listen and consider where you come down on just going along to get along.

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Audio Tidbit

Life Changing Events

Have you ever experienced a life changing event? I’m not talking about an event that prompted change in how you do something, think about things or how you handle some situations or circumstances. I am thinking about a fundamental change in who you are and how you perceive yourself and the world around you. You suddenly become a different person, someone who thinks, feels and behaves unlike the person you were. The notion is worth a careful thought or so. Please listen and see if you agree with my perspective on life changing events and real personal change.

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Audio Tidbit

Who Intimidates You?

Have you ever heard someone say, “No one intimidates me?” What do you think? Perhaps you have said that yourself.

I suspect that the person who makes such a declaration is somehow missing the obvious or maybe just doesn’t get it. Even if we are the best in the world at something we do, we aren’t the best in the world at everything we do. In this episode, I discuss those times when we aren’t the best and know it. There is someone or many someones who are much better at what we want to do than we are.

What do you do or want to do, knowing that you aren’t the best and most likely won’t ever come close to being the best? Who do you know that is much better at it than you are? That is where to look when trying to decide who intimidates you.

If this all rings a little bell for you, press play and listen. I have a tip you may find helpful.

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Audio Tidbit

Someone We Can Lean On

How do you deal with your stress? You ask, “What makes you think I have stress?” Well, it’s pretty simple. We all have times of stress. It may be very stressful or only a little stressful, but stress it is. It may be what they call good stress that helps us deal with important situations and people, or it may be the bad kind that gets us down and is hard to handle. Nonetheless, stress is not something any of us can avoid.

In this episode of Audio Tidbits Podcast, I discuss how to handle the bad stress in our lives. Please listen. You may find the tip I share helpful as you deal with the stress in your life, as you appreciate the real value for all of us in having someone we can lean on.

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Audio Tidbit

When Gossip Is Good

When you hear the word “gossip,” do you lean toward thinking that gossip is a bad thing or toward thinking gossip is good? I suspect we are told more times that gossip is bad and that it’s not good to gossip. Well, what if I told you that not only is gossip good, it is essential to our survival in our families, our communities, and in our world? We can’t get along without it. Are you doubting me? Are you losing confidence in my judgment? Please listen and then decide. I think you may be surprised.

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How To Matter

Crisis Intervention: A Social Interaction Approach (11)

Chapter 11 Building an US box

The key to building an US box is remembering that the relationship is not repairable, and that it is not going to serve as the foundation for the new relationship. To do this, it is important to help the individuals see that the “us” in their relationship is and will be only part of their individual worlds. Husbands and wives, for example, sometimes act and feel as if their entire world is shattered when their relationship stops working. The same thing can sometimes be seen when parents or children discover a bad relationship. In part, the reason for thinking that the world is coming to an end is that people tend to wait too long—far too long—before they accept the fact that the old relationship has “gone to pot” and will not work anymore. Compounding the problem is the fact that people tend to do some rather strange things when they see that the old relationship is no longer functioning. Married people sometimes decide to have another child. Teenagers decide that being physically closer might help. Friends quit speaking to each other, and so on, including those typical coping patterns discussed in Chapter 10.

As you work with people in conflicted and crisis relationships, it is important to help them maintain focus on the goal of building a new relationship, while avoiding the trap of trying to repair the old one. The focus is on building a new US box. It is important to see that the goal is not to change the individuals, building either a new ME box or a new YOU box. They simply need to focus their attention on building a new US box. They say to you, “But we will both have to change.” No. That notion should be put under the heading of “an old wives’ tale.” The old adage says that when a relationship goes bad, both people will have to change. This is not only silly but also quite unlikely. As individuals, people usually do not change very much, and then only grudgingly because they feel they have to. They may behave a little differently. They may slightly modify some of their habits, reactions, demands, expectations, and so on. But they are, nevertheless, the same people—relatively unchanged, but growing. It is not unusual, after a crisis experience, to talk with people who indicate that things are much better, their new relationships are more satisfying, but they are the same as they have always been. “I don’t feel any different. I am the same as I always was. It’s the new relationship that’s different. That’s what makes the difference.” …

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How To Matter

Crisis Intervention: A Social Interaction Approach (10)

Part III Relationship Building

Chapter 10 Relationships that Fail

To this point, we have focused on the crisis intervention process and have developed an understanding of crisis communication. Relationship building moves our knowledge and skills in working with people one step farther. As we have seen, crises always involve conflict in the interaction between individuals and their total situations. In the majority of crisis situations with which you are likely to deal, the conflict will be between the individual and one or more people. That is to say, the crisis will involve conflict within one or more relationships. Typical conflict situations reflect marital difficulties, problems in parent-child relationships, employer-employee difficulties, trouble between friends, and so on. More often than not, serious interpersonal difficulty will be a central part of the crisis, and a serious upset or disturbance within an important relationship will be seen as the precipitating event. It will, then, be helpful to look at interpersonal relationships, how they deteriorate or “blow up,” and how people can go about building relationships with less conflict that do not end up in crisis. …