It Could Get Ugly

Picture of an ugly manYes, it could get ugly.  I was thinking about the content of my blog posts and came to the conclusion that there was something missing.  I’ve been doing a lot of teaching about how we all became who we are and that understanding the beliefs and meanings of others with whom we associate would be  beneficial when we have disagreements.

I’ve thrown in a couple of “safe” posts about cultural things, but being safe is boring.  I’ve been told a million times, since my youth, that we shouldn’t talk about religion or politics.  As I ponder that admonition, it occurs to me that there are no other more influential aspects of our lives than government and spirituality.  The government is reaching deeper and deeper into our lives and our spirituality or lack thereof has a huge influence on how we live our lives and how we interact with others.

I just wrote a blog post about being offended.  When I open up the possibilities for new blog content, I guess we’ll see if my readers will get offended and leave or join in a debate.    So, “There’s a new Sheriff in town”.  We’ll be talking about new stuff – guns, prejudice, race, politics, religion, “rights” and responsibilities, white privilege, and the American Dream.  I think the next post will be call “Babies and Patriotism”.

Are you up for it?  I hope you are.



sign that says caution easily offended

I’m offended.  What are the odds?  Aren’t we all offended by something these days?  Last week I got offended by someone who did a little rant about being offended.  I guess the only thing left to do is figure out who is more offended.  A couple of days ago, I got offended by someone making a statement about the Dutch – my heritage.  I was furious!!  At least I think I’m Dutch. I’m not sure, but I’m offended anyway!

I always want to be informed about the things I intend to share, so I went to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the word – offend.   Here it is: Continue reading

What’s The Matter With People? Pt. 1

What’s the matter with people? Part 1Pidture of a couple back to back

I was talking with a client of mine about the last blog (Just Doesn’t Matter 10/12) and he mentioned that he and his spouse had been bickering more than normal the last couple of weeks and that the last blog post was helpful.

Well, that’s a good thing – BUT… Knowing why the conflicts generally occur would be even more beneficial.  Then, we would understand other people and possibly avoid most of the conflicts ahead of time.  When I use the word partner in this post, that could include any kind of relationships you might have.

You may have picked up on an underlying desire of mine to have you all experience peace and joy more often than you do now.  I find that the more I learn about people, the more I can coexist with them in peace.

So, now we’re going to learn about “Sorting Systems”.  I won’t try to explain the origin of the term. We’ll have to let it go and just know that Sorting Systems define how we do life in some specific contexts.  I’ll talk about one Sorting System in this blog and continue with others in the next few blogs.

The first Sorting System is:

Sort by Self – Sort by Others

In each of these Sorting Systems there is a continuum that goes from one extreme to the other.  Keep in mind that most of the time we will fit somewhere in between the two extremes.  I’ll give examples at the extremes, because the concept is more vivid when you present a marked contrast from one side to the other.  Every area of every Sorting System can and should be managed so that we have balance in our lives.  Even though we can’t change our orientation in any give Sorting System, we can move away from the extremes of the continuum which will improve our relationships and reduce our personal struggles, as well. Continue reading

Just Doesn’t Matter

It Just Doesn't Matter

After we’ve determined for ourselves what the meaning of words and concepts will be, we will view every new piece of information through these filters and weed out anything that doesn’t match our meaning. That process comes to us naturally.  Unfortunately, most of our beliefs and meanings were established at an age long before we had the intellect and maturity to make wise choices.  Even so, our filters are then held at a subconscious level and we’ll keep using them until we make a conscious effort to change them.

We’ll have many filters through which we view life in different contexts. We’ll have a filter about the opposite sex, relationships, success, spirituality, our self worth, etc. We call these filters “Global Generalizations”.  We’re used to using the term, “Stereotypes”.

When a Global Generalization has become problematic for us – causing us emotional pain from loss of relationships, loss of financial security, or loss of spiritual wellness – we have to go through a difficult process of changing our thinking about something we’ve thought was true for a long time. Continue reading

Breaking Patterns

Picture of Broken Chain

I took a little break there for awhile, didn’t I?  Sorry. Once a pattern is broken, it’s hard to get going again.  That’s a lesson to be learned about life.  Our entire life is a conglomeration of patterns into which we’ve settled.  Each pattern is a recipe for how we act and react to things going on around us.  The patterns are actually strategies for behaviors that are based on the meanings we’ve attached to words and concepts and the beliefs we’ve adopted about people and ideas. Continue reading

Good Moms – Bad Rap


There’s a side-effect that comes with being a good mom that nobody anticipates and few people understand.  I’ll be writing about mothers of boys, since this side-effect is more common and more pronounced with boys than it is with girls.  Considering the amount of time stay-at-home moms spend with their children and how much opportunity they have to manage their kids’ behavior, it’s logical that this side-effect is experienced much more quickly than with working moms.

If a woman wants to be a good mom, she’ll accept the responsibility of teaching her boys about hygiene, manners, nutrition, safe play, balance between video game usage and school studies.  Those are the basics.  Then, you have the values and principles specific to this particular set of parents.  Added to the basics could be spiritual awareness, charity, industry (working for money), saving money, volunteering, etc.

Let it be known – RIGHT NOW – none of these things comes naturally to a human boy, much less two or three of them living together. Continue reading

Good At Being Bad

Bully2How did we get so good at doing stupid, angry, driven, fearful and all the other dysfunctional behaviors that we sometimes or oftentimes exhibit?  The process for becoming the best at dysfunction is the same as becoming the best at anything else – guitar player, public speaker, Mom, counselor, bricklayer or athlete.

I know a guy who says he doesn’t want to participate in anything unless he can do it well.  Doesn’t that sound like a “Catch 22”?  He can’t do something well until he participates in the skill for a long time, but he won’t participate because he can’t do it well right away.  Suffice it to say, he doesn’t try out new skills very often. Continue reading

Money, Greed, and Envy




When I say the word, “Money”, what comes to mind?

Here are some of the typical answers:

  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Money causes the most strife within a marriage.
  • People who want more money have to take advantage of others in order to climb the corporate ladder.
  • You can’t take it with you when you die.
  • Money makes people think they are better than everyone else.

Now, if I ask someone what they would do if they won a $100 million lottery, their answers would often look like this:

  • I would help my family get on their feet.
  • I would invest in a Green energy business.
  • I would donate money to non-profits that support my values.
  • I would start a start a scholarship program for poor kids to go to college.
  • I might buy a new car for myself.

You see – in response to the first question, the person is talking about how money affects other people and in response to the second, they are talking about themselves. So, the fact of the matter is that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with money.  The end result of having money depends on the character of the person who has it.  Money doesn’t create bad character, but it will exhibit bad character when it is present.  Continue reading

Why Do Whiners Whine?


Few things are more annoying than having a person in your group who whines about everything.  The weather is too hot, the walk is too long, they have too much to do, they don’t have enough money, they have aches and pains, they are disappointed with everyone and everything.  How can they be so discontent all the time?

Believe it or not, there’s a logical explanation for their thinking and their behavior.  It’s called “Calibrated Self-reference”.  There you have it.  Now, you know everything that I know.  Oh… I’ll bet you want me to clarify that a little, huh?

OK.  We all know by now that who we are is a by-product of our personal experience.  In our lives we will all experience different levels of physical and emotional discomfort.  As a child and while we’re growing up we will rate every new discomfort by comparing it to what we’ve already experienced. Continue reading

About the Minimum Wage

The debate about raising the minimum wage resurfaces every few years – usually in an election year. I’m not sure why the advocates of a “living” minimum wage stop at $9.50 or $10.10 per hour. Can you really live comfortably on that? Can you travel, buy a nice house, buy a new car, send your kids to college, have a swimming pool in your yard if you want one, or all the other things that people with regular jobs can do? Why not ask for $20 per hour for people who make hamburgers, change your oil at Jiffy Lube, or bus tables at a restaurant? Seriously – those who advocate for a higher minimum wage, please answer that question for me. Maybe those jobs that pay minimum wage were never intended for anyone who was trying to support a family in the first place.  But, there are some who are using McDonalds to survive. Therein lies the problem.

A lot of people deny the negative implications of raising the minimum wage. Most simply say that the company should just absorb the cost, but that’s a discussion we’ll have on another blog. It’s not just the rising costs of goods and services at that workplace that negatively affects the economy. Consider this:

I’m a worker who has gone through hours of training to improve my skills so I can qualify for a better job. I’m paid $18 per hour. It seems reasonable that a sixteen year old kid, trying to make just enough money to pay his cellphone bill, who goes through three hours of grueling training to take orders at McDonalds will make considerably less than I do. If the kid’s wages go up, arbitrarily without even requiring any new skills or efficiency, I think I should be making at least $22 per hour to keep things “fair”. When wages go up without market pressure, the costs are passed on to the consumers.  The price of goods and services go up and higher wages are needed just to stay even with where you were.  Pretty soon, the workers who were pitied at $7 per hour today are pitied again at $9.50 per hour tomorrow.  Nothing has changed and new legislation will be passed to raise the minimum wage again.  And the beat goes on.

Continue reading