The Secret to Interpersonal Happiness

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:20 pm
[syndicated profile] zen_habits_feed

Posted by zenhabits

By Leo Babauta

As much as we desire being connected to others — good friendships, a wonderful romantic relationship, close family members — this connection always comes at a cost.

We get frustrated by other people.

You know it’s true. You might be really good friends with someone, but then they get angry at you for some reason, or they behave without consideration, and all of a sudden, your mood is much darker. You’re not happy with them, maybe they’re not happy with you. Things can go sour very quickly.

This is such a difficult problem that you could devote entire books to ways of working out these kinds of conflicts and frustrations. But I have one technique that, if applied consistently, will lead to a lot more happiness.

The secret: always take the good-hearted view of other people.

That takes some explaining, so let’s take a look at two ways of looking at other people:

  1. The ill-intentioned view. When someone does something rude, you think, “Why do they have to be so inconsiderate?” or “Who does that?” Basically, you see their actions in the worst possible light, without putting yourself in their shoes. Most of us do this regularly without realizing it. Anytime you’re mad or frustrated with someone, this is what you’re doing.
  2. The good-hearted view. When someone does something inconsiderate — and I’m not saying their actions are justified — you can try to think of those actions in a good-hearted way. For example, maybe they’re having a bad day and are grump — that doesn’t excuse their actions, but you can understand the feeling of being grumpy. Or maybe they were hurt by something you did (which you might not realize) and they are lashing out because of that hurt. That’s not a nice way to react, of course, but we can all relate to feeling hurt and lashing out. So the good-hearted view is that this is someone you care about who is hurting. Forget the personal offense, think about their pain, and be compassionate towards that pain.

Let’s take a brief look at the ill-intentioned way of seeing things, then go into what I believe will transform most people’s interpersonal happiness — the good-hearted view.

Why the Ill-Intentioned View is a Problem

It’s easy to see the rudeness, inconsideration and plain wrongness of other people. That’s because we’re looking at it from our own point of view, and thinking they should see things the same way as you do.

For example:

  • They left dirty dishes or a big mess in the kitchen. Why didn’t they just clean up instead of being inconsiderate? You feel they’re not acting as they should.
  • They said something kind of mean to you. You have no idea why they would be mean, you’re a good person who doesn’t deserve that.
  • They are mad at you for some reason. You don’t deserve that! What’s their problem?

Of course, there are much worse things, but these are some typical interpersonal problems, and common reactions.

These are natural reactions, but looking at things this way causes you to feel bad about the other person. You are frustrated, angry, offended or hurt. You build up resentment.

You might also react badly to the other person — say something hurtful or angry, lash out, ignore them, whatever your habitual way of responding to these things might be. This obviously will make them react badly to you, and now your relationship is hurt. You’re not happy, and neither are they. This isn’t a good situation.

The problem with the ill-intentioned view is that it doesn’t help anybody, and hurt the relationship. Worse yet, it’s self-centered (you’re seeing things from your own point of view) rather than thinking about the other person (whom you care about), both of you, or your relationship together.

The Solution: The Good-Hearted View

OK, so the self-centered view of seeing the ill-intentions of the other person isn’t ideal (not that any of us are ideal!). So what about the good-hearted view?

Well, this approach tries to use empathy, to see the good heart of the other person, to assume that they are good people with decent intentions who make mistakes and are having trouble of some kind.

For example, some reasons someone might act badly:

  • They genuinely didn’t realize how you would take their actions — from their perspective, there was nothing wrong with what they did. Your interpretation might be that they are wrong, but that’s only one way of seeing it.
  • They were caught up in their world, and weren’t thinking of how their words or actions might affect other people. This, of course, is self-centered, but we all do this, probably every day.
  • They are having a bad day, are in a bad mood, or are in the middle of a tough problem in their life. This causes them to react badly to you. This is not an excuse for bad behavior, but you can understand this, as we all go through it.
  • They have a bad habit of reacting to people in certain harmful ways. This doesn’t mean they have a bad heart, but instead, they developed bad patterns when they were young. At one point, these patterns were meant to protect them from harm, but now they just harm others.
  • They were abused by someone, or hurt in the past, and now they are worried that you are going to harm them. So they protect themselves. Not an excuse, but more of a way to understand people’s behavior.
  • You did something that they took offense to, and so they’re reacting badly to something you did. Maybe you didn’t realize you did this, but that’s the world they’re in.
  • They genuinely were trying to do something to help you, but you took it the wrong way.

None of the above excuses bad behavior. It’s wrong to be rude, to yell, to be violent. But to act badly is human, and to judge everyone for their bad behavior means we won’t be friends with anyone. Ourselves included, because if we’re honest, we have to admit that we act badly sometimes too.

We’re not looking for excuses, but instead to see the good heart in the other person. Yes, they acted badly, but it’s with a good heart. If we can see this, perhaps we can see the other person in a more kind light, and react to them in a more helpful way.

Some ways we can react, now that we see them in a good-hearted light:

  1. We can try to understand them, maybe even talk to them about what’s going on. People often like to be heard and understood. Make them feel like what they’re doing is understandable.
  2. From this place, we might also share how their actions affected us, without blaming, accusing or guilt-tripping. Instead, it’s from a place of wanting to resolve the conflict.
  3. We might give them compassion for the difficulty they’re going through. Maybe a hug, or the appropriate equivalent — just a “hug attitude,” where we’re trying to commiserate with them and make them feel better somehow.
  4. Or we might just feel the compassion inside, and not let ourselves get caught up in resentful or frustrated emotions, and instead, just leave the other person alone until they feel better, if that’s more appropriate.
  5. If the other person is genuinely harmful, you might need to get away from them (for your own protection), but with compassion you might not be so angry at them.

These are just a few options, but you can see that these actions are much more helpful for the relationship, for the other person, and for our own happiness.

You might say, “Well, isn’t this just rewarding or excusing their bad behavior?” That’s one way to see it, but I believe it’s more about not getting caught up in our own self-centered view, and not engaging in unhelpful and harmful patterns of thought. With the good-hearted view, we are more understanding, more compassionate, more likely to be happy and have good relationships.

The next time you feel difficulty with someone, try the good-hearted view. You just might find some happiness in a difficult situation.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

One way to understand such boundaries of identity is to look at who gets kicked out, and why. Trying to figure out who is -- or who still is -- an "evangelical" is notoriously slippery and difficult. But it's far easier to determine who is no longer accepted within the group, and why.
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
      . . . . Quote:
She was born to royalty in British colonial Burma, but rejected that life to become a cross-dressing warlord whose C.I.A. supplied army established opium trade routes across the Golden Triangle.
 
 
Not thriller copy but The New York Times! 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/asia/burmese-warlord-olive-yang.html? 

As thrilling as the first clauses are, the final one that is the shocker: " whose C.I.A. supplied army . . . ." Well, probably not. We know how much the US forces of every kind got involved for fun and profit in the southeast Asian drug traffic in the 70's. Did they ever quit it, one wonders? They pulled that shyte during Reagan to fund illegal operations in the 80's. we know. 

In the meantime I woke to temps in the 60's! Wonderful. 

And rain. 

We had such a nice time yesterday, late afternoon and evening, up on Harlem's Jumel Terrace A real backyard bbq (I ate none of it or anything else either as my appetite is still rather repressed from the days of heat, pollution and humidity), filled with a variety of guests that we have known for so long, from the great African scholars like HD and DD, including Robert Farris Thompson, to all those Cuban musicians that el V's been working with one way and another -- plus beloved C&K. It was very humid, and very crowded. About 6:30 we departed for C&K's own brownstone around the corner, for a more quiet get-together. We also lucked out -- the subways came quickly, were not packed and suffered no delays, going up or coming back. 

A passel of the guests are going together as ethnomusicologists / anthropologists / comparative art historians, etc. to Cuba in 10 days. Some of them haven't been back there in quite some time so they had lots of questions for el V. The biggest change in the last year, even since the last time he (and I) were there, in March is -- the Russians are back! El V said they were everywhere, as tourists, not ag advisors or whatever, but tourists. One Russian Aeroflot plane after another was arriving or taking off from the José Martí airport. He added in these intervening years it had been such a relief not to see Russians or hear about Russia.  

So one wonders what this about in terms of Putin's Russia. They are in deep economic stagnation. Cuba did a great deal to bankrupt the old Soviet Union. Now it owes some billions to Putin's Russia for oil and gas and other large ticket items.

[ It being the NY Times paywall here is the url, not a link:]

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/23/world/europe/trump-putin-sanctions-hacking.html?

The romperitler is going to have sign the bill for further economic sanctions against Putin's Russia, while laundering huge amounts for his pal Putin and many others. At the same time he is determined to force himself into Cuba's hotel industry or destroy it if he can't have his way. 

What will happen on that island in the Caribbean in the next 6 months, caught between Putin and romperitler cray cray? 

What will happen to NYC in the next 6 months, caught between two a$$holes that NYC hates, two a$$holes that hate NYC? The romperitler is considering replacing Sessions with Giuliani. How much humiliation is Sessions prepared to up with put? 






In the meantime Ned is thinking that this Central Cuban trip in January, going to the very poorest towns in Cuba, the still functioning centrales (sugar mills), the little towns where the sugar industry is centered -- and which are still generating original culture just as in the days of slavery and up to the Revolution (many of them are of Haitian descent, so lots of vodoun, who came as braceros at the last part of the 19th and first part of the 20th century -- may well be too arduous for me. That el V would even consider this is the case, speaks volumes for how difficult it will be. This is for hard core ethnomusicologists, musicians, etc., perhaps. I am not them.



And then, today, el V got an invitation to go at WOMAX's expense back to Havana in September for a special Cuban international music expo -- centered in el teatro de Alicia Alonso.  This is a gorgeous theater.  Experiencing a ballet performance there is one of my most treasured memories.

So much Cuba in our lives!

 
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

It begins thusly:

The new bed:

Which you may think looks quite a lot like the old bed, and you wouldn’t be wrong, in the sense that we did not swap out the headboard or bed frame. But those of you who are sharply observant and/or are creepy creepers might note the mattress is taller than it used to be. That’s because instead of a box spring underneath we now have a frame that raises and lowers the head and foot of the mattress when desired. That’s right, no longer do we have to sit up in bed on our own! Our bed can do it for us! Surely we live in miraculous times.

It was time to get a new mattress in any event. The last time we purchased one for this bed was 11 years ago, and it had gotten to the point where the “memory foam” had lost its memory entirely and both Krissy and I were getting backaches out of it. Once at the store and finding a mattress we liked, we decided to splurge a bit and get the motorized frame. If nothing else it will make everything weird for the cats. Which is its own benefit. Also, if it turns out that elevating the head of the mattress makes it easier to type, I may finally go full Grandpa Joe and never leave the bed at all. Note to self: Check Amazon for bedpans.

(Additional note to self: Really, don’t.)

And I got some saucy tweets out of it! Which, you know. Is its own reward.


new Bujold podcast interview

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:26 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
...is here:

http://www.podcasts.com/live-from-the...

The interview starts at about 1 minute in, and runs about 30 minutes.

This was recorded on Day 4 of ConVergence, earlier this month. (Which seems longer ago than that, already.)

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on July, 24
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

First: Which Beatles song was I thinking of? If you want to hear me sing it, here it is:

If you’d rather hear the Beatles sing it (which, to be fair, is probably the better choice) it’s here:

And for those of you who don’t wish to hear either version (or can’t, for whatever reason): It’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

There were three of you who correctly picked the tune I was thinking of, and of the three, my random number generator (“Alexa, pick a number between one and three”) picked “one” and so the winner is Maudie, who was the first to suggest it. Congratulations, Maudie!

Remember that the signed limited hardcover of Don’t Live For Your Obituary is now available for pre-order from Subterranean Press. There will also be an eBook edition, but it’s not available for pre-order yet.

Thank you to everyone who entered! This was a fun one.


[syndicated profile] echidneofthesnakes_feed

Posted by echidne


There will be four posts in this series, though I cheat and use old material.

This post is about the question whether "identity politics," including such issues as women's reproductive rights, were what the Democratic Party needs to dispense with if it ever wants to win any elections again.  My take on that topic can be found here

The article I respond to in that post was the first of many, so it's useful to stress that I want* the Democratic Party to have a much stronger economic platform, to focus much more on reducing income inequality and on making sure that this country actually offers fair economic opportunities for all.

But that should be doable without dropping general fairness concerns, unless it turns out that Democrats can't both walk and chew gum.  Which would be pretty disappointing.

--------
* And have written about that many times.  I want single payer health care, for instance, and actually not for only ideological reasons, but because it's the least horrible of all horrible systems that humans have created for financing health care.  I also want a stronger defense of progressive taxes, a better and more egalitarian school system and better benefits for workers, including proper summer vacations. 

weekend uncluttering

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:27 am
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How did everyone's weekend uncluttering go? I know I'm writing this a bit late (for me), but it is still Sunday for some of you, so I'm hoping that counts...

Saturday for me was a bit of a write off, with the first ballet class (for me) of term, and then going to an exhibition ice-hockey match in the evening, but I started a project that I'm hoping will lead to uncluttering the yarn stash -- I'm making multi coloured knit strips (30 stitches wide, 85cm long) which will be sewn together to make blankets to be donated to a local cat shelter. I'm very deliberately not thinking about colour order, or much in the way of yarn weight (I'm pretty sure most of it is 8ply, but at least one of them would have been 12 ply), and just grabbing everything out of the Basket Where Left Over Yarn Goes to Rot* that is a tiny ball of 'urgh, whatever will I do with that'. I've gone for the strips idea because the materials and tools for one strip will fit in a tiny carry bag (which I made from fabric I've been hoarding for years because I knew it was useful, but didn't have a specific task -- like soft tulle). Strip one is about 50cm, so I'm pretty happy with that!

And then I spent Sunday working on finishing existing craft projects, so that at least I can get those out of the work space, and know what is 'left overs'.

(Today, I'm going to take the big box of random Stuff from the front hall, and drop it in at an op-shop, on the way to do the school pickup. Not quite in the right direction, which is why I've managed to put so much Stuff in it).



* Sadly, not quite hyperbole -- one ball had weaknesses where it split about every 30cm, so in the end it was just pulled to pieces and shoved in the 'stuffing' jar.

Theology, history, and context

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:11 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

"We're doing history, not theology," the professor said. That suggests that theology, as opposed to history, is an abstract, objective field in which ideas and arguments and doctrines somehow arise wholly independent of "what else is going on." It doesn't work like that. It never has and it never can.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Every former Congressional Budget Office director has signed a letter telling Paul Ryan to take a flying leap. (And, presumably, not return.)

The Senate health care repeal FAILS the Byrd Rule, according to the parliamentarian. In its current form, to misquote Gandalf, it shall not pass.

Trump's infamous Voter Fraud Commission asked for public comment. They got it.

There's this exhibit of what is purported to be a replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky. According to the people running it, it's a nonprofit ministry. But it's run now by a for-profit group, in order to get tax incentives from the state. So the Ark project is
now no longer eligible for the tax rebates.
How much are we talking? $18 million over the next 10 years.

Stop erasing women's presence in SFF.

The public editor's club at the NY Times, as told by the six people who were public editors. The job no longer exists.

Jeff Sessions authorizes highway robbery by police.

***

Red state North Dakota is trying an experiment in humane imprisonment for its prisons, based on the way Norwegian prisons are run. I will be very interested to see how this goes. One item in the article caught my eye:

...By 2015, Bertsch was ready to ship excess prisoners to a private facility in Colorado. In Norway, though, she learned that the farther a prisoner is removed from his home community, the less likely he is to have visitors. And that’s a problem, because multiple studies suggest that inmates who have regular visitors are less likely to reoffend later...

It makes me wonder if anyone was paying attention to the NYS prison system's stupidity in sending New York City felons to Dannemora, above the Adirondacks, or Attica. Each of those is hundreds of miles from where the violators' families are in the City. But when I look at the photo of the women in charge, it seems to me they're not old enough to remember the violence at either place -- though I have to say that much of the violence at Attica came from the police and National Guard sent to quell their requests for better food and medical care. I was living perhaps 10 miles from Attica; I noticed, and I remember it.

***
Now, you go speak truth to power, in regard to this:

From Democracy Now, a transcript of an Amy Goodman interview: Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are supporting a bill that would criminalize criticism of Israel or Israeli political/military actions. Further info behind cut )

More info here on how boycotting Israel would be considered a felony.

On free speech grounds alone this should not pass. Please write your Senators to oppose it. Here's the contact list for every Senator, with email, phones and more.

***

Teenaged girls in Austin, Texas, staged a wonderful quinceanera protest at the state capitol -- in their fancy gowns -- to protest the vile anti-immigrant law. And yes, they met with their elected reps afterward, to deliver the message in person. In case you don't know, a quinceanera is a big formal party on a girl's 15th birthday, to signify she is now an adult and no longer a child in Hispanic cultures.

Speaking of a different form of vile, the attempt to create a narrative of shame and regret for women who choose to exercise their own control over their bodies and futures, someone has come up with an abortion-pill reversal drug.

And damn right, tampons should be free for women in prison.

***

Tending tenderness and disrupting the myth of academic rock stars.

Six types of essays you should know.

Don’t date Nazis!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 05:06 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

The wonderful Miss Conduct at the Boston Globe answered a letter about a pair of sisters, one of whom is dating a dude who has a Nazi flag in his room. She nailed it:

“…the thing about Nazis is, they are a great place to draw the line…”

Let me add a script:

“Sister, your fucking boyfriend has a fucking Nazi flag in his fucking bedroom. What the fuck are you doing? YOU ARE DATING A LITERAL NAZI. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE!!!! WHAT THE FUCK!!!! GET RIGHT WITH THE LORD AND YOURSELF AND ALL THAT IS GOOD AND TRUE AND DUMP THIS NAZI ASSHOLE!!!”

STOP DATING NAZIS, EVERYONE, OKAY, COOL, GOOD TALK, THANK YOU.

P.S. Stop dating people with Confederate paraphernalia, too. SAME DIFFERENCE, Y’ALL.


new Penric impending

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:00 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
I am pleased to report that I have finished the first draft of a new Penric & Desdemona novella. (For that peculiar value of "finished" that means, "still dinking till it's pulled from the writer's twitchy hands.")

Title will be "Penric's Fox"

Length, at this moment, is around 37,400 words. It is more-or-less a sequel to "Penric and the Shaman", taking place about eight or nine months after that story.

Final editing and formatting, arranging for cover art to send it out into the world nicely dressed, etc., will take some unknown amount of time and eyeball-endurance, but e-pub will likely happen in August.

My computer file tells me I started typing the opening on March 3rd, but of course there was lead-up to that. It is, in general, hard to tell or remember when a project segues over from "notion" to "planning", although the notion had been with me for some time. Story notions are like a collection of vaguely related objects rattling around in a box; planning starts when some key object that connects them all drops in, and things suddenly get interesting.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on July, 24

heroes, part 2

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:26 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I want to suggest a mild exercise in heroism.

Look at the women you have named as heroes -- not at their actions, but at the qualities of character that propelled them to do these actions. What are the core -- deeply held -- values behind what they did?

Why do these resonate with you? What in you responds to them?

You are a hero also. Your life may not be as dramatic as theirs, but it contains heroism. Which of your own core values match those of your heroes?

(I'd love to read your comments; you need not address all of this in them.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Having seen Angels in America live (Boston, November 1995, first national tour) and on screen, this Thursday I split the difference and saw the currently-running London production on tape-delay live-stream in a movie theater. (Part one, that is; part two is this Thursday.) I don't love it but it's interesting to see the staging. Also Kushner has, per the intro to the combined ebook version I have but hadn't read until now, made unspecified changes to part two, so I will be reading that before Thursday so I won't be distracted while watching. (While I only skimmed part one, the only difference I saw between the text and this production was the dropping of the homeless woman's jokes.)

Here are some notes, cut for spoilers and lack of interest: )

There are various encore presentations going to be happening, if you missed this and are interested.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:13 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai posting in [community profile] unclutter
The local community theater guild is hosting a yard sale. I pay the guild $10, I get a space to sell my stuff.

Suddenly my "departing the living space for keeps" pile has grown by a dozen books and about three dozen DVD/Blu-ray cases.

Funny how that works. XD

(Whatever I don't sell will just go to the library book sale or the Goodwill as appropriate.)

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