Monday, August 18, 2014

Common Ground... We Need Some!

It has been a long time since I posted anything new but recently my mind had been mixing itself up and causing me to rethink SOME of my approach. My bottom line beliefs have not changed as I stand proud as a Conservative Libertarian and that will not change. But it is becoming more and more clear to me that we ALL have much more in common than we have in opposition of each other. This wonderful nation called America needs for citizens of all beliefs to find and agree on common ground with less partisanship.

Notice that I did not say more COMPROMISE. Most of us react one way or another when we see cars loaded with liberal or Democrat anti Tea Party, anti Right Wing, or stickers pushing pro choice, or man caused global warming. We immediately put up our shields and prejudge the driver and make up our minds about how much this person is WRONG and is somehow beneath us because they just don't get it.

Well you know what... we get the same treatment when those people see our Tea Party flag, our NObama stickers and nothing gets solved. I doubt that someone sees the stickers on either side and says "yeah that's right, I am changing my mind". I still have my beliefs and nothing I see on a car or read on Facebook is going to change that. That is also why I stopped posting partican links on Facebook on my general timeline. I have a group or two that share my beliefs and I post them there to pass info on to like minded friends. Nobody ever has switched beliefs or parties based on a facebook post. And I am pretty sure that a Media Matters sticker or a FreedomWorks logo is not going to make us jump ship, but they WILL put up a barrier to fruitful understanding.

I am not sure if my family even has noticed my change about a year ago. I also am pretty sure some of my close family stopped following me because of my post, especially during the 2012 election. If someone engages me I will have a discussion with them but not in the public comment sections. These are my thoughts and my actions and yours are yours alone. But think about how certain images or messages make you feel and remember that what goes around, does come around and generally right back at you.

One person leading this charge is actually the much hated Glenn Beck. Who is one of the victims of prejudging based on short clips and snippets from long ago. His message has changed and he has made friends with some strange "bedfellows" as he described them. Check out this video from his Blaze Network show... strange but Blogger will not let me embed the video from interesting. One of my favorite quotes was from this interview.... "you can't save the world if you are in a bad mood" said Andrew W.K.

Musician Andrew W.K.
This posting from Andrew W.K. on the Village Voice where he responded to a fan letter, is what shaped some of these thoughts for me. If you have not read it, it is a must read. "My dad is a Right Wing asshole". Here is the final thoughts from that response....

Have the strength to doubt and question what you believe as easily as you're so quick to doubt his beliefs. Live with a truly open mind -- the kind of open mind that even questions the idea of an open mind. Don't feel the need to always pick a side. And if you do pick a side, pick the side of love. It remains our only real hope for survival and has more power to save us than any other belief we could ever cling to.

Your friend,
Andrew W.K.

We are still in troubled times, and we all played a part in getting here. Now can we work together on the common ground we do have? I thinks it's time for us to do so.

We MUST do so.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Narcissist in Chief (It's all about Me)

      nar·cis·sist [nahr-suh-sist]  Show IPA
      a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
      Psychoanalysis . a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification
      from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.

From an article in Psychology Today states 6 signs that you are a narcissist. These are fascinating...

Sign #1:  Unilateral listening. 

What I want is all that matters.  When we make decisions together, what you want, your concerns, your feelings..these are mere whispers, inconveniences and irrelevancies.  When we discuss issues, my opinions are right.  Yours are wrong or else of minimal importance.  If you expect to have input, you are undermining me.                                                  

Instead of listening in order to be responsive, narcissistic listening listens to dismiss, negate, ignore, minimize, denigrate or otherwise render irrelevant other people’s concerns.  One specific indicator: frequent responses that begin with "But....", which is linguistically a backspace-delete key.

SIgn #2  It’s all about me. 

I know more, I know better, I’m more interesting,  When we talk, it’s mostly about  me.  In conversations, I take up most of the air time. Almost all of my chatter is about what I have done, what I am thinking about.  If you begin to talk about yourself, I link back to something in my life so that the focus of the discussion again becomes all about me.  Maybe that's why people say I suck up all the air in a room.

When I want something, I need to have it. Never mind how you feel about it; it’s all about me.  I’m big and important and you are merely also here, mostly to do things for me, like a third arm. 

Narcissistic people are sometimes, and even often, generous. The difficulty with trusting a narcissist to take actions that are sympathetic to your interests comes at the times when what they want is contrary to what someone else wants. Odds are that at these times they will act in a manner that is selfish, that is, responsive only to their own concerns.

Sign #3:  The rules don’t apply to me. 

I can have affairs, cut into a line where others are waiting, cheat on my taxes, and ignore rules that get in the way of my doing what I want..  Rules are for other people to follow.

Narcissists suffer from what I call Tall Man Syndrome.  They experience themselves as above others, so the rules don't apply to them.

Sign #4:  Your concerns are really criticisms of me, and I hate being criticized.

If you insist on my listening and taking your concerns seriously I’m likely to get mad.  Criticism hurts.  I can criticize others, and often do, but if you criticize me you’re hurting my feelings so I’ll hurt you back.

Narcissists paradoxically manifest both an inflated idea of their own importance and quickness to feel deflated by negative feedback. 

In addition, because they think everything is about them, they hear others’ attempts to talk about personal feelings as veiled criticisms of themselves. 

The clinical term for taking others' concerns as personal criticism is called personalizing.  E.g., If she says "I'm feeling lonely,"  her narcissistic friend will hear the self-statement as an acusation, "You don't spend enough time with me."

Sign #5:  When things go wrong between us, it’s always your fault. 

I can’t be expected to apologize or to admit blame.  I’m above others and above reproach. You shouldn’t have… . Don’t threaten me with expecting me to say how I’ve contributed to a problem or I’ll get mad at you.

Unwillingness to take responsibility for mistakes goes hand-in-hand with quickness to blame.  This trait may come from confusing the part with the whole. "If I've done one thing that's not right, then I must be all bad."  That's also all-or-nothing thinking.    

Whatever the source of the sensitivity to criticism and difficulty admitting mistakes, the upshot is a tendency to blame others when anything has gone wrong.  Blaming and fault-finding in others feel safer to narcissists than looking to discover, learn and grow from their own part in difficulties.       

While narcissists are quick to blame, they may be slow to appreciate.  Appreciation and gratitude are acts of giving.  Narcissists, as I mentioned above, often pride themselves on how much they give to others and may make demonstrative shows of generosity; at the same time, people close to them are likely to experience them more as takers.                         

Sign #6:  If I’m angry, it’s your fault. 

You made me mad. You didn’t listen to me.  You criticized me.  You’re trying to control me.  Your view is wrong.   So you need to apologize, not me. 

I’m not responsible either for my anger.  If I’m mad, my anger is your fault. I'm only made because you ... "

Some narcissists show major charm and social agility.  At the same time, these seemintly super-confident folks also can be quick to anger.  When they do become inflamed, they then immediately blame their anger on others.  

What are typical anger triggers for people with narcissistic tendencies? 

Critical comments will do it.  As I said above, as much as narcissisitc folks see themselves as special, they also can be remarkably thin-skinned.  Any feedback that punctures their belief in total specialness can feel quite threatening. The immediate response will be to issue blame.

What is wrong with this man ?? He makes every event about him and the press just eats it up like it was ice cream on the 4th of July. And these are just from Twitter !! I have heard the term narcissist thrown around so I did a little research... and this is what I found !

SuperBowl Sunday
New Years Eve
Remembering Sandy Hook
Honoring Nelson Mandela with a photo of the Obama family ?

50th Anniv of March on Washington for civil rights... maybe a pic of MLK or Rosa Parks instead ?

September 11th anniversary.... how about a photo of survivors?

Veterans on Veterans Day, WITH the President... "one of these things is not like the other"

After Oklahoma tornados.... not first responders but photo of him....

Friday, January 3, 2014

Family Thoughts For 2014

With Christmas just finishing and the cold grey winter setting in, I wanted to take some time to speak directly to our family. We are truly blessed with a wonderful family and a family that covers various interests, likes and dislikes, hobbies, talents, skills, faiths and determination. I feel that 2014 may be an interesting, challenging and eventful year. 

The nation and it's people are troubled with division, debt, taxes, violence, hate and an out of control government. We are all part of a wonderful family. This is a good time to let each of you know what is on my mind, for all to see and to document my thoughts and feelings. I love you all, and in the end it is LOVE that matters.

To my Mom
You are inspiration to us all on how to live life with grace, kindness and a never ending flow of love for your family no matter what twists and turns are presented. Every good trait in all of us had a beginning in your heart. You inspire me with your kindness and love towards all. I do not say it enough but I love you Mom. Always.

To my brothers Mike and Steve
My brothers, BOTH mean a great deal to me. We have had our moments of misunderstanding, anger and frustration but brothers probably always will have some of that going on. Steve, you have been through so much in your life and I don't think any of us could understand unless we walked in your shoes. You are doing so well now with a great companion to enjoy life with (thanks Pam)! Mike you are a hard worker and from what we see, a great husband. And boy those dogs sure do love you! You and Debbie have been together so long and it is nice knowing that you have each other. Family is special, so can't we all just get along? =)

To my sister Diana
Diana you are so blessed to have all of your family so close, both physically, spiritually and emotionally. You and John have created a wonderful growing family. You are an outstanding example of what love can nurture and create. The foundation is there for many generations forward and it's also easy to see the influence our mom has had on you.

To my daughter Katie and her wife Stephanie
The love that you two obviously share is awesome to see and witness. With society in such turmoil and trouble, it seems to odd to me that anyone would try to limit your relationship or say that your love is "different" than another love. You are dedicated to each other and now to that sweet young lady Emerson. I wish we lived closer, but one thing about 2014 may be that we will have the flexibility to visit your great family more often as well as the rest of our family. Love is kind and if we would all be more kind to everyone, then perhaps there would not be so much turmoil and trouble in the world. Take care of that little gem Emerson, but don't lose the child in you on the way!

To my daughter Kelly
What else can be said about you Kelly that has not already been said of you or admired about you? Not much. Your faith will always inspire me and keep me amazed at the strength the Lord provides us if we believe in him and put our faith in his hands. You have been through so much in your young life but through it all you have risen over it and remain a beautiful God loving woman. Keep making that lemonade out of those lemons Kelly. Thank you for inspiring all of us to deal with our little problems like you handle your large ones.

To my daughter Ellen and her husband Matt
While we may not agree on much politically, I do respect and honor your thoughts and opinions. You both are successful, well educated and very intelligent. Most of those I am not, well at least not officially. I like your approach to being married and taking things smart and slow regarding many important decisions that life presents you with. I have no doubt that you will always be successful in both marriage and profession. I promise Matt, to never hold that tattoo you have against you in any way. We were all crazy fans, some of us get lucky! Ellen, I love how you get so much from your music and how it is such a part of you.

To my step-son Gailen and his wife Andrea
It's nice to see you doing so well. A new house that was a lot of work and determination but with that work, you will have a very nice home for a long time. Having Ham Radio as a common interest has been fun. Keep up the hard work!

To my step-daughter Robin and her children Adrien and Abby
Robin your kids are great fun! Adrien is a brilliant active handful, but still brilliant. Abby keeps getting cuter and cuter! Taking care of them on your own cannot be easy so keep loving them while not forgetting to love yourself. Good job on the new career path... hardest part of a journey is the first few steps.

Last here but everyday first in my morning, my wife Loren
We took an interesting path to each other but I learned on my path, how to love someone every day. Every day through the good and the bad, troubles and fun. I look forward to each morning and each bedtime and the minutes between them. I feel blessed to be spending my life with you. Thank you for your humor, talents, drive and patience with me. We still have a long way to go, but it's a long way together. I love you Loren!

I am far from perfect as you all know. But in 2014, my hope and goal is to be a better man, a better dad, a better brother, a better son and by doing so, part of that is becoming a better Christian. It us up to all of us to write the story of our lives. So remember... "Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does."