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Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

So, this blog is going to be shorter than I want, but I simply don’t have the time to give it the time it deserves.  But, nonetheless, I must give a short lesson on mind reading.  If you are a female, you do not need to read this blog.  For male readers only.

OK.  If you are a male and you are in a relationship with a woman, I have a quick lesson to give you.

Lesson #1:  Women change their minds.  Women are always changing their minds.  As a matter of fact, women can not stay on topic to save their lives.  This is not the real problem, however.  The real issue is that the woman will change their mind, but will neglect to tell you.  I am not exactly sure why this is, but it is true.  To add insult to injury, they will expect their male partner to realize that the mind has been changed and will get angry when the male does not realize it.  So, what do you do?  Simple.  When you find your self in a situation where it is clear to you that the rules have changed; take the following steps:

1.  Take two deep breaths

2.  Recognize that at some point your woman has changed her mind about something and hence the rules.

3.  Take a break.  This can be a short break, such as counting to three.  Or you can excuse yourself to the bathroom.  Or, better yet, run down to the local pub and grab a beer, and then rejoin the conversation.  Little known fact, beer makes women easier to understand.  You probably thought it was that beer makes women more attractive.  Not true, or at least not completely true.  Beer turns on the woman-understanding part of your brain.  Scientific fact.  Look it up.  Beer also causes men to say I love you to other men.  They are connected.

4.  If you had a beer, this step will be much easier, but if not, still possible, but a little more difficult.  Try to think about what insecurity, fear, or need of support is at the heart of your woman’s new rule change.  If it is insecurity, give her a hug, and no matter what the issue is, tell her that you will always be there for her.  If it is fear, look her in the eyes and tell her that everything is going to be alright.  If it is support, just listen and give her a big l’ hug and say I got your back.

Here is the crazy part, and if you are a male, you will definitely recognize this as crazy.  If you successfully complete step four, it will solve the problem, no matter what the problem is.  WHAT!?!?!?  That’s right.  But I know what you are thinking, Brett, step 4 doesn’t address or solve the problem.  You are right.  Unfortunately, you are dealing with a species that does not deal in logic, and that was your first mistake.

Is it mind reading? Of course, not, but she will think it is and that is all that matters.  Your welcome.

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When someone says, “Hey.  How are you doing?”  What they are really saying is “Hello”.  This is at least true in the US.  I don’t know when this happened, but it is true.  No one really wants to know how the other person is doing, which is sad.  If you don’t believe me, the next time someone asks you how you are doing, actually tell them.  And not a one word answer, but give them the details of how you are doing.  Watch how quickly their facial expression changes and they change the subject.  At least that is what I do.  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I am not an overly emotional person.   Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a robot, but I just don’t find most emotions all that useful.  The biggest issue I have with them is that they rarely solve problems.  If emotions did solve anything I think I would be in favor of them, but 9 times out of 10 it’s just noise.  Emotions are also rarely planned out.  In other words people generally don’t plan to be angry, or schedule a time to cry, it just comes out, usually uncontrollably.   What’s up with that?  What this means is that most emotions are irrational and without control.  What areas of ones life is it acceptable to be irrational and out of control?  No one would recommend this as a proper way to live, yet millions of people claim that it is OK to be emotional.  They will make statements like, “Sorry I hit your headlights with a bat, but it’s OK, because I am just an emotional person.”

I have written several blogs that discuss things that are culturally acceptable, but have no support in logic or reason.  Emotions, add it to the list.  (Warning: Sexist comment imminent)

Wait for it …

The emotional “problem” is never more evident than in women.  There I said it.  “If momma’s not happy, then nobody is happy.”  Why is this acceptable?  I have an idea, if mommy ain’t happy, how about momma get happy, or if momma ain’t happy, momma goes somewhere and comes back when she is happy, or better yet, if momma ain’t happy, then momma ain’t happy and don’t put that $#*! on everyone else.  Are there emotional men?  Of course there are, but like most stereotypes they are based on number of experiences.  If I told you that there was a couple talking in the park and one of them was crying uncontrollably, but did not tell you who was crying, based on experience who would you guess was doing the crying?  And 9 times out of 10 you’d be right.

My least favorite emotion is anger.  When was the last time you got angry and it made the problem go away, or made you feel better.  Anger almost always makes the person who is angry feel worse as well as the person they are angry with, it is the one emotion that has the most collateral damage.  I also find that most people get angry at things that do not warrant anger.  For example, the plane is late (this is especially true in winter when wings need to be de-iced, or there is a blizzard.  Really?  Are you so concerned about taking off that you are willing to risk death?  Trust me, pay attention, EVERY time you are on a plane that is delayed due to weather, at least one person will complain… guaranteed.  Here are a list of things that I believe it is OK to be angry at:

  1. War
  2. Child abuse (any  negative action toward children as far as I am concerned)
  3. Injustice, including obvious human rights violations (this does not include political rights, such as voting, while sad, not warranted of anger)
  4. Animal and/or nature cruelty
  5. Freedom Violations – this is different from human rights as it includes any situation in which a person is forced to do something that causes harm in which they had no possible recourse to do the contrary
  6. Hugh Jackman (Scrubs reference)

Obviously the above list may not be complete, but I hope you get my point.  I see people get angry at the dumbest things, most of which is inconsequential, irrelevant, and completely a waste of time and energy.  I just wish emotions helped, at least the negative ones.  Obviously laughing, smiling, joy, ecstasy (not the drug) are awesome emotions, but even they can be a problem if not kept under control.  Have you ever met someone who was happy ALL the time.  Yeah, annoying right?  Apple pie is great, at least my mom’s apple pie is great, but apple pie for every meal and every day is not healthy.

Unfortunately we are not Vulcans, we are humans.  As humans we are emotional beings.  At the end of the day, at least for me, it is about control.  Are you in control of your emotions or are they in control of you?  If every time you get emotional, you expect everyone to just understand, then that is a YOU problem.  No one should expect others to bend to their will or change so that you can be happy.  The problem with the saying “If momma ain’t happy then no one is happy” is that it places the burden of solution on everyone, but the person who is not happy.  This brings me to my final point.  At some point we have been taught that when we are not doing well, than it is someone else’s responsibility to fix it.  This is never more evident than in relationships.  Here is a tip for happy and healthy relationships:  Love the other person and take care of your own emotional crap.  Do NOT require the other person to make you happy.  Will they make you happy?  Of course they will, at least I hope so, but as soon as you get mad at them for not fulfilling their supposed responsibility of making you happy, it is the beginning to the end.

One of my most hated phrases is, “You make me angry!”  Here is a fact of life, no one makes you angry.  Anger is choice that you have made as a response to a particular situation.  I am not saying ignore your partner’s problems, but I am saying do not take responsibility for them, unless they are the direct result of something that you did, i.e., left the seat up (although I am not sure why this is such a big deal.  Look. Lower. Sit.  How hard is that?  But I digress).  For example, listening to your partner’s problems is important. 

My sister sent me a chapter from a book called, The Twelve Laws of Life.  The chapter was called “You cannot motivate anyone else.”  The title of the chapter alone made me want to read it.  I will most likely get the rest of the book, because of what I have read so far.  In this chapter, the author writes “In fact, listening alone may be enough to encourage the person to act!”  I love this!  Yes, maybe your partner needs to take action, but you can not force them to.  You can however, encourage and provide an environment that supports change.  Granted, I feel I may be straying from the original topic, so I will end with this:  Emotion is good, but only in control, and although your partner may be emotional, you can’t change them, nor can you “fix” them.  Let their $#*! be their #*!, and your be yours.

Live long and prosper.

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My last blog was on politics.  I hope to rarely if ever write on politics again.  But I ended that blog with a commentary on beauty and how it seems to prevent you from having bad jobs.  My brother pointed out, (in my opinion, rightfully), that beautiful people also are never seen at the bus stop.  Which makes me beg the question: Does poverty reduce beauty? Or are the non-beautiful more likely to be poor?  Or both?  All I know is that if you are a 10, you ain’t ridin’ the bus.  I’m just sayin …

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So, on Monday I had coffee with a buddy of mind.  He is getting married, so I have to hang out with as much as possible before his wife completely takes the rest of the little remaining manhood he has left.  I was telling him that I am on a quasi “diet”.

Fried Twinkies

Fried Twinkies are a yearly offering at the Wisconsin Fair. Leave it to Wisconsin to take an unhealthy snack to a whole new level. Also home of chocolate covered bacon. Hmmmmmm bacon.

–BREAK–
OK, I am at the dentist, or actually, Brett Jr. is at the dentist.  And this older gentleman just walked up to me and said “Playing with the computer huh?” He then proceeds to tell me how he has had a computer for the last four years and how he enjoys it and can pay all of his bills online now and that he never even uses stamps anymore.  Really?  Welcome to the 21st century.  WHY OH WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL THE NEED TO TALK TO ME?  I am literally typing on my computer and giving ZERO openings for conversation.  This happens to me ALL THE TIME!  I am so pissed right now.
–END BREAK–

Anyway, I have mentioned before that I am trying to tighten things up, so I am on a minor diet.  For me dieting is simple, I cut out fast food, try to have a HUGE breakfast, decent lunch, and light dinner.  My goal is to go to bed slightly hungry.  If I want a treat, I eat it, I don’t starve myself, or completely change my diet, just make the modifications listed above and I usually lose weight.  I couldn’t tell if I have lost weight yet because I do not believe in weighing myself.  I go by feel.  This is how I think everyone should do it.  The scale is your enemy and only makes you feel bad about yourself.  Don’t do it, just go by feel, because that is the most important thing anyway.  As I was talking to my friend about this, I told him how often I get hungry when I do this, and it got me thinking about obesity in America.  How often do people feel hungry?

Some how, some way we have gotten to a point in our culture to believe that we should never be hungry.  This is especially offensive considering the millions of people who are hungry daily, but I will save that high horse for another time.  Again, I think dieting is simple, you must burn more than you take in, and that’s it and do not let anyone tell you different.  If you burn 2000 calories daily and you have a diet of Twinkies, but only eat 1800 calories worth of Twinkies daily, guess what, you will lose weight.  That’s a fact!  Will you be healthy?  Of course not, but you will lose weight.  But here is the thing, if you burn more than you take in, you will be hungry, and hungry daily.  So, how can you lose weight and NOT be hungry.  But we work so hard to never have any kind of negative feelings that it would be very difficult to lose weight if you hated being hungry.  I think this is a problem.  We as a culture believe that we should never have valleys, but strive to move from peak to peak.  This is crazy and the true inspiration of this blog.

Valleys are important.  It is important to fall.  It is important to fail.  One thing I have learned in my relationship with my wife is that it is the hard times that improves our good times.  It is the fights and the difficult discussions (which I hate by the way) that bring us to the other side.  Whenever I do what I do best (take issues and dig a Grand Canyon hole in my soul and bury them under 2 tons of concrete to never see the light of day again) things never improve.  Trying to go from peak to peak is an illusion and never works.  It is OK to be hungry, as a matter of fact it is crucial if you plan on reaching your goal of losing weight.  You may not get that HD TV you want if you are trying to get out of debt.  You may have to have that hard discussion if you want your relationships to improve.  Trial by fire is not just a euphemism, but a reality of life.  Peaks are awesome, but you must start in the valley for them to be truly appreciated.

That last line was cheezy, but true.

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I have both male and female research assistants.  As a matter of fact, most of my research assistants are female.  A couple of days ago I had a meeting with my students and I said, “Hello ladies.”  One them was male, and he was quite taken aback by my greeting.  I find it fascinating that in most cultures (I have no research to back this statement, but I believe it to be true) that if you are addressing a group, and at least one of the members of the group is male, you may address the group in “masculine” terms and that is acceptable.  Now granted, it would be better to say “ladies and gentlemen” or “hello everyone” or something more neutral, which of course would be more appropriate, but it is interesting that in most cases, if you use the masculine term, no one will be offended.  However, if you use a feminine term, I pretty much guarantee the guys will be offended.  What’s up with that?  It’s a cultural thing I know, but I am growing more and more interested in traditions that have absolutely no bearing in any thing than, “that’s just the way we do it.”

For example, despite the fact that the modern world knows that sneezes are NOT caused by demons or supernatural powers that need to be appeased upon every sneeze with a “God bless you”, it is rude to not make this statement when someone sneezes.  This is not even a religious issue.  There is not a church, nor a religion that would tell you that this is something that God requires, at least no church or synagogue that I am aware.  It makes me wonder what other traditions exist or will not exist 50 years from now.

Another cultural phenomenon that I personally support, but when I think about is still fascinating:  Do you know that in other cultures it is perfectly acceptable, as matter of fact expected, for men to hold hands when walking together?  In other cultures it is also perfectly acceptable for men to dance together.  In some places it would be considered provocative for men and women to dance together in public, yet in this country, if you walk into a place where men are holding hands and/or dancing together, guess what, you are in a gay bar.  Which means you are either a homosexual, you walked into the wrong place by accident, or you are a Republican congressman (Yeah, I just said that).

So, what’s my point?  I don’t really have one, other than the fact that we do and believe in things that may not have any basis in fact or evidence or logic.  Is that OK? Of course it is, but don’t pee on me and say that it is raining.  I’m just sayin …

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