Stop blaming poverty on the poor

Today, a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook. It made me absolutely FURIOUS. I’ll let you watch it, then I’ll tell you why it made me so mad:

This is false bullshit. Poor people are poor because they “pass up opportunities”? This idiot kid doesn’t have any clue what being poor even is, and anyone who blindly agrees with him also does not understand what true poverty is either. I speak from experience. A large majority of “poor people” are not passing up opportunities; they are not being given opportunities. Saying “it’s their own fault and they’re just making excuses” is a cop-out to ignore the problems, which only enables the problems and adds to them.

A lot of poor people are on disability because they have neurological disorders or mental illnesses and can’t just do any old job; but because they’re poor, they don’t get opportunities to do jobs they might excel at; they’re brushed over and ignored. Or there’s people who are poor because they suddenly found themselves laid off after a merger or their employer went under or their workplace replaced workers with robots, and now they can’t find a job in that same field because other employers have done the same and jobs are much more scares, meanwhile other lower paying jobs tun them down for being “overqualified.”

This idiot kid is essentially saying that poor people just need to “appreciate life and be happy with what they have” but he doesn’t have a fucking clue; he doesn’t understand the strain and stress of worrying how you’re going to get food or keep a roof over your head, doesn’t understand the abuse of people judging you as not a worthwhile person just because you’re poor, doesn’t fathom the pain and depression of struggling day after day after day for decades barely able to survive or having to sleep outside on the pavement for months at a time. He has never had to beg just for clothes to go do job interview after job interview after job interview just to be turned down over and over and over.

He is blaming poverty on the poor; this is no different than blaming rape on the victim. I don’t know whether this is white privilege, male privilege, or simply wealth privilege, but this kid is not schooling anyone.

A CALL TO ARMS – Raising the rental allotment for all on Income Assistance

I’ve had enough.

I am on permanent disability. As with the other 2 types of income assistance (welfare and short-term disability), my rental portion of my cheque is $375 per month. If our rent is less, we get that amount cut to what the rent is. If the rent is more, we’re SOL and have to just pay it anyway.

As an example – I was renting a place for $650 a month. My cell phone bill that I was stuck on because I got locked into a contract was about $90 a month. My internet and land line so I can keep in touch with my family were about $90 a month as well. My monthly cheque is $886.42 a month. Let’s do the math:

  • 650 + 90 + 90 = 830
  • 886.42 – 830.00 = 56.42

That’s right. I had only $56.42 to cover all my other bills for a whole month, including food. The food banks only give enough food for a person with a low metabolism to eat for a week, and that’s available only once a month. I suffer from an overactive metabolism and require almost twice the average intake of food. And guess what – the amount I would need for food just happened to be the amount of my comforts cheque that was eaten up by my rent each month. I tried bringing in a room mate, but it was a tiny 1 bedroom, so I spent the last 3 months trying to find a new place to live; the last month of that was spent homeless and couch surfing, because there is literally nothing available for less than $500.

My mother is in the Southern Interior of BC and is also on permanent disability (severe case of Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and now osteoporosis). She is looking for a place to live by herself with 1 indoor cat. She cannot find anything for less than $750.

My brother (Also PWD for the same reasons I am) and his girlfriend are now looking for a place for themselves and their new baby. They can’t find anything for less than $750.

One of my best friends is on short-term disability (BPD, Compassion fatigue, debilitating migraines) with her 2 cats (therapy animals, so no, can’t just get rid of them), and is currently couch surfing. She can’t find anything less than $550.

Finding room mates is not really an option. Finding a landlord willing to rent to a few people that are all on assistance is even less an option. Just getting a job in the current economy and without college education is not an option, either. Living alone is not feasible merely because there are no places for rent for only $375 a month. Even in the small outlying towns, rent prices have skyrocketed to insane levels. Right now, in Vancouver, it’s more cost effective to be homeless; they lose their rental portion, but the comforts portion doesn’t become wasted on overpriced rent. People in prison are better off than people even on disability, let alone regular welfare. Did you know that employers won’t hire you unless you have a mailing address? For most jobs, they actually can’t hire you unless you have a permanent address; if you just give them a friends address and they find out, they can terminate you for falsifying your application. People have been fighting to get income assistance raised for a while, but honestly, I do understand why the government won’t raise the comforts portions of income assistance cheques. In and of themselves, the comforts portions are enough to survive on, IF that money goes to things like food and transportation and household supplies (toiletpaper, shampoo, the usual.) The problem is, it’s not going to that stuff; it’s going to our RENT!

Want to get more homeless off the street? Want to get people working more, paying taxes more, and not simply leeching off the system? Don’t want to increase the comforts cheques more? I’ve got your solution:

Raise ONLY the rental portion of Income Assistance from $375 for a single to $650 for a single, from $570 for a couple to $775 for a couple, and from $660 for a family to $900 for a family. Only the rental portion. Keep the other rules in place; if the rent is less, the portion is less. The comforts portions of the cheques are, honestly, fine as they are. I’m not trying to push for that to be increased; as much as I want more money, I’m fine having to find a job if I want to do anything better. But the rental portion is another matter entirely; what good is leaving the comforts portion as it is going to do if we can’t afford rent anywhere in the province?

This is a call to arms. I’m sending this message to any who will stand with me in making this change. I’m sick to death of fighting every day just to have a safe roof over my head. Please, join me in making this happen.

http://www.bccpd.bc.ca/docs/hs13.pdf

http://cmha.bc.ca/files/overdueincreasepwd_1.pdf

http://blog.bccpd.bc.ca/?p=1002

http://www.straight.com/news/bc-welfare-rates-need-go-right-now

Just say NO to “fat” chicks

This post is being expanded and re-written as it was very well pointed out to me that I foolishly made it much more generalized than I had intended, which did understandably offend people in ways I did not want or intend to do. Not saying I’m trying to never offend people 😛 I am saying that the offenses I have given with this entry were not what I was trying to say. many things here will be blunt, harsh and come across as callously uncaring. Please, read all the way through; my point becomes much more clear at the end. 

I’m going to keep repeating this: I do not mean all overweight people; I am talking specifically about a particular demographic; the ones that display the particular behaviors I’ll write about below. If you or someone you know do not display these behaviors, regardless of your weight or health problems, then I’m obviously not talking about you/them, am I? Seriously, common sense, people.  Give me at least a little credit.

This article is written about a specific demographic of people who suffer from BOTH morbid obesity AND a specific set of attitudes/behaviors. This is not for them, however. This is for those who are continuing to enable them in their self-destructive and hurtful behaviors, that insist they are helping by enabling those behaviors.

I want to start by saying that yes, the title is inflammatory. That was intentional; to grab attention. Note the word “fat” is in quotations; there’s a reason for that. I want it clear that when I say someone is “fat,” I do not mean they are merely overweight, or large, or big-boned. Just like there is a definitive difference between an alcoholic and a person who suffers from excessive drinking; alcoholism is a set of destructive behaviors and attitudes that go well beyond merely drinking excessively, and to me a person being “fat” is a similar case; it’s a specific set of attitudes and behaviors that are self-destructive and emotionally damaging. Not everyone who is overweight displays these attitudes and behaviors, and just because someone is overweight, it does not make them “fat.”

Here’s a big part of what makes someone the kind of fat that I call “fat,” in my opinion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity#Morbidity My general use of the word “fat” is in reference to someone who has morbid obesity, and displays particular negative and/or destructive attitudes/behaviors. Simple as that.

The type of people I am talking about are those who are excessively overweight to the point of it being a serious medical concern that is beginning to border on life threatening, have gotten so from a lack of bothering to pay attention to their health & diet, whether from depression or self-loathing or abuse or any other number of mental/emotional issues, and now use it as an excuse to pity-party, look down on others, or seek attention in some way, rather than constructively try to find ways to become healthy. Rather than asking people to be understanding that they’re trying to improve themselves, admitting their weight is a health problem that they must working on (no matter how slowly or quickly), and accept them as human beings who are trying to be better, these particular individuals instead blame society for their own appearance, insist that their poor health and resulting general un-attractiveness (not just talking about the weight & health issues, but the body-language, attitude and countenance as well) should be simply considered more beautiful than the healthy people around them, and either pity-party or guilt-trip others into complimenting them and enabling them. They want to be treated as special and important without making any of the efforts that would actually make them special and important.

I know several people who are overweight, and they wear their weight well. They do their best to keep from getting dangerously overweight and stay relatively healthy, but they don’t worry about being “thin.” They dress to accentuate their curves, and dress tastefully, even when dressing sexily. They’re confidant, but not arrogant, and they don’t blame society for their own self-image, good or bad; they own it. Kelly Clarkson and Adele both are good examples of celebrities who are this kind of truly beautiful woman.

The “fat” girls I’m ranting about are not these women. They are the people who wear their excessive and dangerous weight like a shield or a trophy, insisting that it’s that which makes them “beautiful”. They blame society for their own negative self-image (which yes, society can influence, but it only influences, does not actually control) rather than understanding the whole meaning of “self-image.” They repeatedly say society is solely to blame for their lack of health and for their untreated depression. They are the women that are so obese that when you look at them, you have to wonder if there’s any actual muscle left under the massive rolls of body fat that has built up all over their entire bodies. Their depression may have been influenced and/or compounded by society, but the reason it goes untreated in any way has nothing to do with society; it’s your own choice to wallow in it.

Now, I do understand and agree that sometimes it’s hard to get out of a massively deep depression without help – that’s what friends & family are for. Telling them that it’s ok to be dangerously and unhealthily obese is not helping them; it’s enabling them. Encouraging them by telling them that they are loved, they are worthwhile and they can be beautiful people inside regardless of how they look on the outside DOES help them. Telling them that the weight is only temporary and that we’re willing to work with them to be healthy again, both emotionally and physically,  DOES help. We’re not talking about making them skinny minis; we’re talking about getting their weight under control so they DON’T FUCKING DIE FROM HAVING SO MUCH EXCESS BODY FAT. (I referyou to the previous wikipedia link.) People are commonly & naturally attracted to healthy individuals. A woman with a massive flu and head cold who is vomiting, puffy eyed, coughing, sneezing, and hacking up large gobs of icky, yellow mucus almost as big as a ping-pong ball, is very rarely going to be considered as attractive as she would if she did not have the head cold at all and was done up in make-up and a fancy gown for a night at the opera. A good person will see past the flu and head cold, and will help not only ease the symptoms, by giving them cold & flu medicine, but will also give them things like vitamin C to help fight off the flu & cold.

When a persons weight and volume of body fat get to the extent I am talking about in particular, that is a blatant physical illness that needs to be dealt with. Yet these people I’m particularly pissed about are whining not only that they are unattractive and unloved and people ignore them because they are so obviously far from healthy, but at the same time also insist that they have beautiful bodies, there’s no reason the whole world shouldn’t love them as they are or even because of the way they are, that they deserve just as much attention as the healthier people around them. They are doing this instead of dealing with their physical health or even seeking help to deal with their physical health. They blame society or peer pressure or their families for their own lack of control and self-discipline, instead of putting the blame on their poor physical health or their own depression, thereby taking ownership of their own lives and their own “destinies,” then doing something constructive about it, even if all they do is admit they can’t do it on their own and need help/support. Again I want it clear I don’t mean all people who are overweight, but a particular demographic of it.

The insistence of these particular sick individuals that they should be not just allowed to be sick, but glorified for their sickness and treated as just as healthy as those who are actually healthy,  is simply insane. The eagerness of others to do so is just as insane.

So what brought on this rant in particular? This morning I stumbled upon THIS on Tumblr. This is the kind of thing I’m referring to. You know what it is? This is nothing more than a giant guilt-trip and grab for attention. Simple as that. It’s a “look at me! Pay attention to me! Look how much I suck! I’m the best at being the worst! It’s all societies fault! They made me this way! I had nothing to do with it! Look at me! Pay attention to me!” If it was anything else, it would not be exactly the format that it is.

The picture:

She proceeds to write:

Everyday on my dashboard. i see super skinny girls or girls with nice clothes that i wish id be able to fit. Society doesn’t accept anyone that looks like me. Fat girls are always frowned upon. i see girls  just with they hair hanging have 10k+ notes. I bet everything I have if  that girl were fat like me she wouldn’t have as many notes. It’s sad how society is now a days. Only certain type of girls are beautiful. And if you don’t look like that type of girl you aren’t shit. But hey…. I’m just one fat girl. what does my word mean. probably nothing.

I saw this, and immediately made several assumptions. My gut-reaction reply:

Guess what, Tumblr-girl – you’re right; Society doesn’t accept you as you currently are, and for damn good reason, starting with the fact that you don’t truly accept yourself. It’s obvious you don’t.  If you did, you would not give a shit what “society” did or didn’t do, and you wouldn’t be posting massive public guilt-trips like this onto your public website, where you can guilt-trip not only your friends, but total strangers across the globe. The reasons you are right about not being “accepted” are also the reasons you are disgustingly “fat” (see my definition of the word above), and the real reasons “society” does not accept you. Yes, it’s sad how society has become, but not as much in the way you think; it’s sad that more and more people are lazily just pulling shitty guilt-trips like yours rather than give a crap about their own health. You say you wish you could fit into clothes like those “skinny girls;” so what is stopping you? Only you. You’re choosing to not fit into those clothes by not doing what it takes to slim down enough to even try. Why are you bitching about having something if you clearly don’t really want to? All it would cost you is time and effort; you obviously don’t want to pay that price, so just shut up and stop blaming society for not having things you obviously don’t even want. I am a firm believer that anyone who is emotionally healthy would not allow themselves to become so physically unhealthy. You’re mentally/emotionally sick in some way and to some degree; so much that you’ve become physically sick with morbid obesity. Note the words: morbid obesity. That means your excessive amounts of body fat will kill you if you don’t do something about it. I’m pretty sure guilt-tripping the people of Tumblr to accept you in your state of unhealthiness doesn’t count as doing something about it. Everyone can now see just by looking at you how sick you are in your mind; you’re showing it off with your body. Who in their right mind would want to just simply accept someone so blatantly sick as “healthy” and “okay” simply because that person whined and moaned that people don’t accept them as they are? You see those so-called “skinny” girls getting 10k+ replies because they are 100 times healthier than you physically, and people are attracted to HEALTHY people. There’s curvy, there’s big boned, there’s voluptuous. Those are healthy places to be. Then there’s morbidly obese. You’re blatantly and visibly morbidly obese – A.K.A. “fat”.

See this? This is a larger woman who is smokin’ hawt. She’s far from skinny, and still hawt.

The solution to this particular strain of arrogant and selfish people being actually happy isn’t to just accept themselves as they are, or demand society does as well – that’s just enabling them. The solution is to become healthier, inside and out. Get over it, do what it takes to learn to stop wallowing in self pity, and take however long it takes to get their mind, heart AND body into more healthy places again. I’m not talking about fitting into a size 2 dress. Take the second picture there – a size 12 – 16 can be just as attractive as a size 2, when the woman who is wearing it wears it well and has the internal confidence and sexiness to accentuate it. Not arrogance, but confidence. I’m talking about just plain being healthier in general. It doesn’t even have to be perfect health. Here’s a great example of what BBW is, to me: Bianca Bombshell. She’s in no way a “skinny girl,” and she’s damn gorgeous. So you see – you can be a large girl and still be beautiful – right now, you’re not just large, Tumblr lady. You’re morbidly obese, you’re in denial about what’s wrong, you’re blaming others for your own body, and you’re seeking the wrong kind of attention; A.K.A your fucking “fat”. It doesn’t take a medical degree to see that, and it’s disgusting.

It doesn’t matter how rough your life has been, Tumblr-lady; that only makes being physically and/or emotionally unhealthy understandable. It doesn’t make it acceptable. It doesn’t make it un-treatable, or un-cope-able. The women I’m talking about chose to allow their physical health to deteriorate to where it is, and to be an physical sign of their emotional unhealthiness. It’s your choice to keep it there and not do anything to change it; bitching about those other “skinny” girls, who put out way more effort that you obviously do in order to be healthy, just makes you look like a lazy attention-seeker.

Putting on an air of confidence and attitude while wearing slutty clothing & claiming their BBW when they are actually morbidly obese and their health is actually far into the danger zone is just as sick – they aren’t fooling anyone, they’re still obviously morbidly obese. They’re not attracting anyone healthy with that “people can agree I’m sexy and beautiful even though I’m fat or they can fuck off” attitude. They’re not beautiful to me; they’re disturbingly arrogant and in denial about their physical health. That’s not beautiful to me, that’s a smoke-screen and a cry for help.

Now, before anyone starts ripping into me for targeting all overweight people in general, I’m going to remind you that I’m not, and that I’m not saying all people that are at more healthy weights are mentally healthy. I’m not even really targeting this post at them specifically. I’m talking to the friends and family of these people. Stop fucking enabling them. Give them the help they need, not simply the help they want. Is what they need a slap in the face and to be told to just smarten up? No. That’s what the people who offer them useless platitudes of “You’re beautiful just as you are, you don’t need to change a thing, be happy with how you look no matter what anyone says.” Riiiiight. Because a doctor telling them that they must either lose weight or they’ll be dead in a matter of a couple years is just society telling them to be skinny. You really expect me to believe that bullshit? Telling them to ignore that kind of thing is just helping them kill themselves. Are you secretly wanting them to just die and get their fat asses out of your life? Now that is a thought even more inflammatory & disgusting than the attitude I’ve been displaying in this post, and that idea alone disgusts me more than morbid obesity.

My words go the same for women who are underweight; they’re fucking sick and need to do something about getting better. THOSE people, however, have family and friends offering the REAL help that the overweight women need but aren’t getting. Their loved ones focus more on the person inside at the same time as helping the body match that inner beauty so that these people are able to live long lives rather than die of self-imposed starvation. So why are the dangerously thin people worthy of that kind of proper help, but dangerously obese people aren’t? If you ask me, THAT SITUATION is inflammatory.

People that are massively overweight or massively underweight need the same kinds of help – They don’t need us enabling their self-pity or their attention-seeking. That doesn’t help. That just feeds into their sick insistence that their physical lack of health is not real and that they are not as sick emotionally as they really are. it just helps them kill themselves all the sooner. You’re assisting in slow suicide. I suffer from emotional illnesses of my own – I have Isolophobia and Ammidyphobia, among several other issues. I know these are affecting my life and my decisions. I know they are affecting my physical health. I’m not arrogant or foolish enough to try to insist that “it’s just the way I am” or that they should just accept the fact it affects my ability to be motivated to eat properly or properly exercise. I don’t insist people have to love these illnesses in me as well as me; I want them to care about me and want to see the illnesses go away. The closest things  I DO ask for or feel I need is help to BREAK OUT of the unhealthy behaviors and actually BECOME healthy. THAT is what these arrogantly morbidly obese people need – actual help to become healthy, not people further enabling their illnesses.

They need encouragement of “you are a beautiful person; come on and show it, I know you can, I believe in you” not “it’s ok, you don’t have to change, be happy as you are.” It’s like telling a cancer patient they don’t need any treatments whatsoever, that they should love having cancer and should flaunt it, and insisting people wanting them to get treatment are just not accepting them as they are. It’s foolish and it’s dangerous. Enabling them in such a way is just helping them kill themselves. I want these people to get their heads out of their asses and get proper help, so they can be around with us for many more decades and we can all share in a better world. Stop letting them kill themselves early by helping them live deeper and deeper in denial.

ADDITIONAL: I’m not talking about people discriminating against those who are overweight. I 100% agree that this is wrong. They are no less people than anyone else, and deserve to be respected & treated as human beings. What I AM talking about is enabling those who are not simply overweight but dangerously so to continue being unhealthy, and I’m talking about how I will not take flack from them for their choice to become that unhealthy or revel in it.

Take other “illnesses” such as Bipolar or Asperger’s as an example; I know a woman with Bipolar and find her to be an amazing, attractive and desirable woman, regardless of her having bipolar; but I do not pretend that she does not have bipolar, and I would not allow her to pretend it did not exist. If she is on medication for it, I would try to (tenderly when I can, bluntly if I felt I must) encourage her to keep following her doctors advice.

The big difference between things like Bipolar, Asperger’s, etc. and morbid obesity is that morbid obesity is a choice. People choose to allow their health to deteriorate that badly. Even things like massive thyroid issues may cause weight gain; but they do not, of themselves, cause morbid obesity AND such “the world won’t accept me” guilt-tripping attitudes. It doesn’t matter if it’s subtle and takes years to happen, it’s still a choice to become that physically unhealthy, and it’s a choice to cultivate that negative, destructive attitude. Morbid obesity is an illness that can be cured; my gripe is not with the obesity; it’s with the attitude, with those people who don’t want to be cured of it, while at the same time they blame others for their choice to become morbidly obese.

I have no qualms with accepting people who suffer from morbid obesity; one of my dearest friends suffers from it. That does not mean I have to accept or love morbid obesity itself, especially if they insist on clinging to it. It does not mean I have to put up with being told that their own feelings of inadequacy are my fault, simply because I won’t accept their morbid obesity. Does my friend with Bipolar revel in having Bipolar? No, she doesn’t. She may accept it and acknowledge that she struggles & deals with it; but the fact is that she does deal with it and she does her best to control it, rather than letting it control her life. It may influence how she needs to do things sometimes, but influence is not the same as control. She takes control of it and her life. THAT is a noble attitude, and my rant was intended to be against the specific attitudes of people who continuously enable those that have BOTH morbid obesity AND who choose to let it consume them.

Atheists & Religious Holidays do not mix

Ok, I have to get something off my chest. You damn Atheists can be just as stupidly hypocritical as any other religious fanatic, and I’m sick of the hypocritical behaviors. I asked one Atheist friend if he was going to make a wish at 11:11 pm tonight as it will be 11:11 pm on 11/11/11. He told me it was childish and crazy and wasn’t even going to be 11:11 but 23:11 and then went into several reasons why it was the most idiotic idea he’d ever heard. Oh, and just the other night he was bragging about his new USB Christmas tree!  and today was even telling me how he’s got plans to celebrate the Wicca holiday of Yuletide!

Whut? O.o

Calling Bullshit

 

If you’re Atheist and plan on ridiculing or tearing down Christians/Wiccans/any religion for their beliefs/holidays, I don’t think you have the right to then celebrate any of those holidays, either. That means I honestly feel they should not be celebrating Christmas, Easter, , Summer Solstice, Kwanzaa, or any other “religious” holiday. If you are going to insist you be allowed to celebrate a holiday that you refuse to believe the religious aspects that are the whole reason for the holiday, then don’t ridicule or tear down the beliefs of the believers of that holiday! All you are doing is making yourself look like a small-minded, hypocritical bigot; not a “free thinker” or “intelligent person” at all. Why should anyone ever take your Atheist views seriously if you just act like a hypocritical bigot? It’s no different that those Christians who profess to love everyone, then go and march against homosexuality, telling people that are gay that they are evil and going to burn in hell.

Seriously, you’re just being stupid and childish. Grow up, get off our backs, enjoy the holiday, or stop taking part in the so called farce you keep insisting you’re too smart to be a part of.

I feel that people are using “I feel” as a way to be pricks.

It all begins with a thought, and a thought can be changed.

There’s something I’ve been noticing about people who try to read & follow a lot of good self-help stuff. A lot of people are, more and more, using “I feel” statements when trying to work out problems. This is a good thing, it really is, when used & done properly.They see it a lot on TV and in books, so it’s becoming more and more common-place practice to use “I feel” statements. Or, more accurately, misuse “I feel” statements.

EG:

She says, “I feel you are not spending enough time with me.”

Does anyone else see where this is just being done completely wrong? Anyone? Well, let me break it down for you. This is not a real “I feel” statement. You might be thinking, but it starts with “I feel” which it does, but look at the rest of the statement. Where does it mention an emotion? I don’t see one. What I see is two statements mashed together:

  • “I feel…” This is a clear and basic statement. You feel. You are a human being with feelings. Wonderful. What’s your point? So is he. What does saying simply that really accomplish?
  • “…you are not spending enough time with me.” This is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. This is not even a thought process, perspective, or point of view. It’s a guilt-trip and an accusation, plain and simple.

See? That’s not actually an “I feel” statement. An “I feel” statement is very different. But the real “I feel” statements need to change, too. It’s not enough to just feel. We also need to think. In fact, people don’t realize they do; they just don’t do it very often. See, we can’t have an emotion without some kind of thought to ignite it. You don’t feel lonely, so then think it must be because he’s not spending enough time with you; you are going about your life and, suddenly one day, you think to yourself, “he sure hasn’t been spending much time with me lately” and BAM! You begin thinking more about how he’s not spending time with you, and feeling more and more lonely and neglected. Somewhere along the lines, though, saying “I think” as part of the whole “I feel” statement process of problem solving became the equivalent to an accusation or translated into “You’re wrong” or “you’re an ass.” I have no friggin clue when or how.

Thing of it is, “I think” is nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of “I feel”. It’s a statement of thought processes, perspective, and/or point of view. That’s all. I think that’s not only just as valid, but just as important to finding a solution. Right now, so many problems happen between people because they don’t think. They feel bad, they react without thinking, they cause damage, they feel worse, they react worse without thinking, they cause more damage… over and over. People don’t think, or they only think and don’t feel, though the latter is a rare problem these days.

Here’s what I think a balanced “working-it-out” statement should look like, using the earlier example as a basis:
“I feel neglected and lonely because I think you are not spending enough time with me.”
Now, let’s break this one down to see why it “works”:
  • “I feel neglected and lonely” Ok, right off the bat, there’s progress. A statement of what her actual feelings are. This allows him to begin to understand why she has been behaving differently lately, and why her body language might have changed. This kind of communication is important in relationships.
  • “…I think you are not spending enough time with me.” Let’s be clear – this is not an accusation. This is not a guilt-trip. This is simply stating the thought processes that caused the feelings. She’s not accusing him of not spending time with her, she’s saying she thinks that; as in that is how it seems from her perspective.

So, now we’ve got a clear “I feel/think” statement. Yay! We’ve completed the first step to improving relations! So, what’s next?

I can just here a few people scratching their heads thinking, “What? They’ve solved the problem; the solution is easy, he needs to spend more time with her.” BZZZZT!!!! Wrong! Thanks for playing. We haven’t solved the problem, we’ve only begun finding the problem. The problem isn’t that she’s feeling neglected; that just signifies that there is a problem. So, now comes the real detective work – finding what was or wasn’t done to inspire the thought which created the feeling.

Oh, and I hear you over there at the back, thinking “Well, he made her think that by neglecting her.” BZZZT!!! Wrong again! No one can make you do, feel or think anything you choose not to. All anyone can do is inspire, convince, or limit your options. Lets say, as an example, the couple from our example have no kids, and he owns his own little retail business. Well, times are tough around the world these days, so rather than hire a new staff member that they don’t have the money to pay, he might take on more hours. She could focus on the thought of, “he works hard to keep that store open so we have food and a home.” She could then think about offering to spend the late shifts with him at the store, rather than home waiting for him. On the flip side, he could be spending a small portion of that extra time planning little romantic gestures that would remind her that he still cares and isn’t trying to neglect her.

She focused on him not spending a lot of time with her – why is that? Has he been out a lot? Has he been canceling dates more often of late? Has he been very untalkative compared to how he usually is? Asking questions can help narrow down what of his behaviors might have inspired the thought. This is where steps 2 & 3 are actually kind of the same and can be done together – brainstorming solutions. Is there anything he could do to help her not feel neglected when he’s not able to spend as much time with her? Was she misinterpreting things from him (behaviors, words) that could just need to be clarified? Is there ways she can proactively spend time with him, instead of waiting for him to come spend time with her?

And, lastly, take the solutions you both feel will be the most likely to work for both of you, and put them to the test. There’s no reason to keep focusing & dwelling on how it made you feel, not to the extent that it keeps affecting the relationship. Sure, sometimes feelings don’t run their course as easily or quickly as thought processes, but recognize that your feelings are just that – your feelings. If you’ve got a solution that works, and you’re both working at it, just do what you need to (within reason) to let those feelings run their course and then let them go into the past. Don’t hold them against your significant other when they are following through on the solution you both agreed to. And on the other side, don’t allow your spouse to guilt-trip you into joining her in feeling bad just because she’s not willing to let go of those feelings.

People wonder why relationships seem so hopeless and dead-end these days. Truth is, it’s because people feel too much, don’t think enough, and are being too lazy to make the effort for them to work.

Maturation of Human Culture… or lack thereof.

Recently a friend of mine changed her Facebook relationship status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’. Now, normally, this would be nothing big worth writing a whole rant blog about, and this in and of itself is not what I’m ranting on today. What I AM ranting on was one of the replies. One of her friends replied with:

good!! You’re young and you need to have fun without worrying about anyone else. These are the party years – enjoy 😉

Ok, since when did University become “the party years”? Continue reading