Sep 202013
 

Setting limits

From the book: Chum for Thought: Throwing Ideas into Dangerous Waters by David Satterlee

Read or download this essay as a PDF file at:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4eNv8KtePyKeExGUS1vT0E1cDg/edit?usp=sharing

Does Setting limits cause #isolation, loss of #intimacy, and even #alienation of #love?

Setting limits

Women often feel at a disadvantage in relationships with men. Social pressures, openly or unrecognized, can give men a dominant role. How is a woman to feel self-respect, personal worth, independence, initiative, control, and security? The common answer, these days, is to “set limits.”
Setting defensive limits makes intuitive sense. “That which cannot touch you cannot harm you.” But, at what cost in isolation, loss of intimacy, and even alienation of love? In fact, the issue of boundaries and limits can affect the character of any relationship, not just those between men and women.

Kinds of Limits

Parents and teachers are urged to set firm, appropriate limits for young children as part of youths’ guided moral development. The goal is for children to experience rich, genuine emotional lives while still conforming to “acceptable ethics” of justice and care in their relationships with others.
Initially, the idea of setting interpersonal limits was promoted as an act of enlightened consciousness; essentially a form of thinking: “sticks and stones … names can’t hurt me.” In this sense, setting limits defines ones internal perceptions of self. That is, thinking: “If other’s judgments of me are invalid, I do not have to embrace them.” This is a healthy state of mind that reflects appropriate emotional well-being and self-esteem. Such internal limits allow potentially-damaging emotional threats to simply drop away before wounding the ego.
Inevitably, however, the phrase “setting limits” creates images of walls, fences, and “lines in the sand.” This sense of the phrase is a last resort of desperation and confrontation. It defines external requirements on the behavior of others. This is saying: “Don’t tread on me; don’t even look at me funny.” Arising from an already-wounded state of mind that reflects acute and immediate fear, this form of external limits create boundaries that alienate us from each other.

Kinds of Relationships

If you have a real enemy, whom you want to keep away, by all means build a strong wall to force limits on their behavior. This will clearly define your firm and determined intent to maintain a relationship of distrust, fear, misunderstanding, or prejudice.
However, you may meet a person whom you want to know, love, and cherish. By all means, spend time with them, care about their welfare, encourage them to express themselves, listen with heartfelt interest, and respond in kindness even when they may need correction.
Mates open themselves even more intimately to each other; lowering their defenses, and becoming increasingly vulnerable. In consideration of the other’s tender openness, good friends or mates will voluntarily refrain from pointed emotional aggression. And, both will extend the “benefit of the doubt” when responding to the actions, words, and motives of the other.

Making the Choice

How will you relate to the world in general and to others as individuals? Adversarial-divisive relationships compete, insist on rights, demand justice, and are often driven by suspicion and fear. They cause us to withdraw into a defensive crouch, determined to define, conserve and defend our personal boundaries — pushing others away or striking out if we feel sufficiently threatened.
Supporting-nurturing relationships cooperate and draw people together. Based on empathy and mutual regard, these relationships spring from a heart filled with compassion, care and love. We stand with open arms, ready to share, invest in the future, and create a richer life for everyone involved.
Aug 052012
 

My personal experience is that masculinity and femininity complement each other very nicely. I become exceptionally moody and morose without the company of women. In a mixed gathering, I prefer to be in the kitchen, behaving myself like a mouse in the corner, than with the men watching sports in the family room. And, I know that I really like being married and having a feminine woman as my best friend.

Further, while lurking near widows and divorced women, I have heard them confess that they “simply like having a man around.” It sounded as if, like me, the simple presence of someone of the other gender satisfied a palpably felt deficit.

The feminist Gloria Steinem famously asserted that, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” OMG! Didn’t Dr. Seuss put a fish riding a bicycle in his “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish?” What a rascal he was! I’ve gotta look for that.

 

The way some men treat the women in their lives, one could believe that the women would truly be better off without them. In any event, there is often clearly room left for improvement in many relationships. My wife, Dianna, liked the sentiment of the poster, below, and brought it to my attention.

The text reads: “We need to teach our DAUGHTERS the difference between a man who FLATTERS her and a man who COMPLIMENTS her. a man who SPENDS MONEY on her and a man who INVESTS in her. A man who views her as PROPERTY and a man who views her PROPERLY. a man who LUSTS after her and a man who LOVES her. A man who believes HE is GOD’s GIFT to women and a man who remembers a WOMAN was GOD’s GIFT to MAN and then teach OUR SONS to be that kind of man.”

Let me add the observation that the sentiment still tilts toward a sexist, patriarchal view of gender relations. I think that women are capable of being even more self-sufficient emotionally and physically. While I deeply treasure the satisfying bonds between men and women, I am sympathetic toward those with a radically-independent spirit.

Photo

In fact, the entire range of “conservative” thought tilts toward a sexist, patriarchal view of gender relations. Another way of saying this is George Lakoff’s observation that conservatives tend to have a “strong father” view of how families and governments should be run. Conservatives tend to look for, follow, and be loyal to their chosen authorities. It is very clear that “He’s the boss” or that the man of the house or the conservatively-elected president is “the decider.” On the other hand, the “liberal” tilt endorses a nurturing father, rather than a strict authoritarian.

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Jul 312012
 

Last week, I talked about the inevitable presence and place of elites in American Society. While we believe that all men are created equal and certain of their rights are unalienable and should never be threatened, we understand that some of us have advantages and abilities that others do not. Nonetheless, we hope that our children and grandchildren might yet find exceptional success for their efforts.

America has continued to struggle to define, expand, and guarantee our liberties. American slaves have been granted the rights of citizenship. Their descendants are increasingly able to vote freely, serve in the military, and sit, as free people, on any free seat on any bus. Women have been given the right to own property, vote, earn equal wages, and use birth control. Recently, more of us have received additional health care protection so that we don’t face the choice of staying healthy or dying quickly.

Nonetheless, America has always faced groups determined to twist government to favor their private wealth, power, and industry. In the years before World War I, this was called “The Gilded Age.” Corruption was open, corporations organized violence against their workers, stark poverty ravaged the lives of the poor crowded into tenement housing. If you were hurt on the job, you could consider yourself fired before you hit the ground.

The “Panic of 1893” was the result of corporate corruption and embezzlement on a massive scale. They even got the US Army to intervene in labor disputes. The “Great Depression” preceding World War II was triggered by the collapse of unregulated financial speculation by financiers. The Financial Collapse of 2007 was also the work of bankers and financiers trading in fabricated instruments derived from bundled lots of high-risk investments. Greece, other countries, and banks bought these investments, thinking that they could lower their own interest payments. The inevitable collapse shook the finances of not just Europe, but the entire world.

Today, self-serving business interests seem to have seized the reigns of the Republican Party. This goes far beyond the conservative or liberal dispositions of voters. They are dismantling needed regulation of finance, pollution, and labor practices. They are undermining and trying to privatize public workers including teachers, law enforcement, and even the military. They are outsourcing and cutting jobs while reducing wages and benefits for those who do still work. They are making it harder for most students to get or afford the college degrees that are demanded for entry into everything but minimum-wage service jobs. And, they are even trying to eliminate the minimum wage.

Today, well into our struggling recovery from the collapse of their economic house of cards, corporate profit margins are again at record highs while U.S. wages, as a share of our economy, are at record lows. If there is “class warfare” going on, they started it. Income inequality is stunning and it is getting worse. I believe that Americans of both parties need to push back against those who are intent on compounding their private wealth and power at the expense of everyone else.

© 2012, David Satterlee

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Sep 272010
 

Touching Women

By David Satterlee

A Fergus Johnson story of gender relations

[Note: Contains some suggestive allusions and mild profanity.]

“You know, I think that women like to touch me” mused Fergus Johnson. Fergus obviously hadn’t actually intended to speak although this was a men’s support group and everybody was expected to share. It had just kind of slipped out as the subvocalization of a personal epiphany. Bobby, who had been revisiting his whine about striking out with women at bars, stopped in mid-sentence and looked puzzled.

Dr. Anderson, always looking for something to add some semblance of newness to the weeks-long rambling bitch session [pun might or might not be intended], urged Fergus: “Go with that.”

Fergus seemed to stare vacantly at the Kewpie doll on one of Dr. Anderson’s shelves across the room. “I’ve just been starting to notice a trend is all.” He paused again, his eyes flickering up and to the right as he searched his memories. “My waitress at breakfast this morning put her fingers on my shoulder several times. And, I’ve started noticing that when I stand talking to a woman, it’s not unusual for them to reach out and briefly put their hand on my arm.”

“That kind of thing happens.” Observed Larry the Letcher, hopefully.

“Yes,” Fergus continued, “but I’ve just started noticing how frequently it happens. I’ve always just taken it for granted. It’s like my uncle Bucky who always heard a little voice in his head telling him the answer to math problems in school. He named the voice Minerva and assumed for years that everybody had the same kind of experience.”

Larry wasn’t done being jealous. “My uncle, the Reverend Poleaxe, is always talking about what Our Lord Jesus tells him to do.”

Fergus considered this briefly. “Yes, but Minerva’s answers were usually wrong.”

It occurred to Larry that his uncle, the Reverend Poleaxe, was prone to some rather lameass decisions that probably shouldn’t be laid at the hem of Our Lord Jesus’ outer garment.

Things were starting to drift out of focus again and Dr. Anderson, beginning to entertain his own fantasies, redirected: “You were talking about women touching you.” Jordan Nickerson and Lucky Joe leaned forward in their chairs.

“I guess it has been going on for a long time. It’s more than Aunt Fancy mussing up my hair and Granny Gooch insisting on being kissed on the lips. I mean, I must have assumed, as a little kid, that I was just exceptionally cute like everybody said. Mom used to take me to her club meetings. I was as popular as free chocolate.” Larry didn’t have anything to say to this; he just sat there with his jaw kind of slack. Lucky Joe was getting an intense and slightly feral look on his face.

There was no turning back, so Fergus plunged on. “The thing that really got my attention was last week. We were visiting my second wife’s second daughter, Becky. She was having a very stressful time with a difficult situation and was getting really agitated. She was sitting on the sofa and I just got down on my knees in front of her, reached out, and held her hands. She relaxed a little. And then, like an Eskimo offering a visitor the comfort and warmth of his best wife, my wife told Becky: ‘Hug him.’ Becky looked as confused and uncertain as I felt. My wife urged her, ‘There’s something special about the way he holds you. All the tension just goes away.’ I suppose I already knew this at some level, but her definitive assertion was news to me. Becky scooted forward and I reached out and we embraced.” Fergus took a deep breath. It was very quiet. It seems likely that he was the only one breathing at that moment.

“At first, she was real tense; she gave my shoulder a few quick, nervous pats and a short jerky rub. We had both been well-trained in the politically-correct way to formally and safely hug someone when you wanted to be sure that they, and everyone who might notice, didn’t misunderstand your intentions. It didn’t help that, at that moment, we could hear her ex, who had been coerced into helping her move, backing his trailer into the driveway. This was going to have to be quick.

“I was at ease and kind on cruise control at this point. This was as comfortable and natural as holding one of our cats. I told her, ‘You don’t have to pat. You don’t have to rub. You don’t have to worry. Just let it be.’ Her breath caught for a few moments and then she slumped a little: like she had just lost five pounds. ‘There it is’ I said. ‘Okay, we can do that again, later.’ We untangled our arms and our auras and I glanced at my wife. She was just sitting there with a little satisfied half-smile.”

Larry looked up from his reverie and asked, “So did you ever, you know, do that again?” Fergus glanced up with an intense and slightly feral look on his face, held out his arms and replied, ‘No, but do YOU need a hug?”

Copyright 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Feb 012010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 5

Martin Seligman proposes a formula for happiness: H=S+C+V.

Enduring level of Happiness =
Set range + life Circumstances + factors under Voluntary control

H – Enduring level of Happiness

Enduring happiness is not the same as momentary happiness, which can spring from a wide range of positive, but transient events. Increasing these momentary pleasures have no enduring effect on enduring happiness.

In repeated studies of identical twins, fraternal twins, and adopted children, demonstrate that about half of all personality traits can be attributed to genetic inheritance. While some of these heritable traits are rather firmly fixed, some are remarkably malleable.

S – Set range

Traits which are inherited and more fixed establish a “set range” of what is normal or typical for each person. They define areas that may serve as barriers to increased happiness.

Lottery winners study

A study of major lottery winners found that most returned to their previous levels and styles of happiness within one year. On the other hand, the effect also works in reverse, with people usually recovering after adversity.

Quadriplegia study

Even people who become quadriplegics and experience a period of depression usually recover their more-positive mood within months.

Hedonic Treadmill

The concept of a hedonic treadmill describes people who, like lottery winners, begin to take good things for granted. They can begin seeking greater and greater stimulus events, trying to create the feel of an increased enduring happiness out of repeated transient experiences.

In contrast, severe tragedies such as death of loved ones and produce long-term decreases in happiness.

C – life Circumstances

Changed circumstances can sometimes contribute to enduring happiness.

Impacts of money, marriage, social life, negative emotion, health, education, climate, race, gender, religion.

Intractable poverty and other enduring negative circumstances can directly produce higher levels of unhappiness and depression. However, once a certain level of perceived basic needs are met, improving circumstances no longer reliably produce emotional satisfaction. Security is important to happiness; wealth is not.

Marital satisfaction is clearly related to happiness. However, unhappy people may be less likely to become married or stay married. Satisfying romantic and social relationships are also reliably related to reported happiness. It is still unclear that one causes the other.

The mere existence of unhappy situations and negative emotions does not intrinsically deny a person joy. Women tend to experience greater levels of emotion, both positive and negative, than men. Although they experience twice as much depression as men, they also experience more frequent and more intense positive emotions.

Younger people, evidently often report carefree and youthful “fun” as happiness. A close examination indicates that life satisfaction tends to increase with age while extremes of emotional intensity moderate.

Factors such as education, climate, race, and gender do not directly and reliably correlate with sustained happiness.

The exercise of religious faith, and the social support that it often provides, often removes adherents from certain negative life circumstances. This has a noticeable but not reliable protective effect on happiness. The element of increased hope maybe the most significant beneficial factor: increasing happiness and reducing despair.

Increasing Happiness: The Bottom Line

The most influential effects on long-term happiness include: living in a wealthy democracy; having a satisfying marriage; avoiding events that overtly produce negative emotions; developing a social network; embracing a hopeful spiritual path.

Disappointingly ineffective effects on long-term happiness include: materialistic pursuits beyond basic needs; immoderate pursuit of health; pursuit of advanced education; cosmetic surgery; geographic moves.

Nov 282009
 

About Rhonda Byrne

image Author Rhonda Byrne, like each of us, has been on her own journey of discovery. Along the way, she brought together a superb team of authors, ministers, teachers, filmmakers, designers, and publishers to bring forth The Secret to the world, and through ver vision, bring joy to millions.

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The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers — men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

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The book is full of affirmations and insights written by Rhonda Byrne that allow you to bring joy and harmony to every aspect of your life. Inspired by Rhonda s writings, every day you will write a list of things you are grateful for now in your life, followed by a list of Gratitude Intentions all the things you want to come into your life.
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Nov 242009
 

AuthorPatricia Aburdene is one of the world’s leading social forecasters and co-author of four Megatrends books with John Naisbitt—including the New York Times bestseller Megatrends 2000. She is a highly respected speaker and lectures around the world on global trends.

Patricia Aburdene is an author and motivational speaker. As an advocate of corporate transformation, Aburdene now inspires audiences with predictions of how values and consciousness will transform business. Her latest book, Megatrends 2010: the Rise of Conscious Capitalism, was published in 2005. She co-authored the bestsellers Megatrends 2000, Re-inventing the Corporation, and Megatrends for Women. The Megatrends books topped bestseller charts in the United States of America, Germany, and Japan. Aburdene has lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, and the Pacific Rim. Her clients include the Management Club of Vienna, the Professional Coach and Mentor Association, the Management Institute of New Zealand, and the Consciousness in Business conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her career in business journalism began at Forbes magazine in 1978. As a Public Policy Fellow at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1993 to 1996, she explored emerging leadership models.

For more information, please visit www.patriciaaburdene.com.

Patricia Aburden Article on Wikipedia
Patricia Aburdene Books on Amazon
Patricia Aburdene Podcasts on Personal Life Media