Principles

Katie Koestner and Claire Kaplan interviewed me last night for an upcoming segment of Dear Katie.

At one point, I mentioned some Principles Susan and I put together over the years based on our journey. These Principles are the ones we used to guide our lives and the company we created. They’ve appeared in many places over the years.

Someone once asked me if I lived up to the Principles myself.

“Hell no. That’s why I post them. So they can be a guide to me, so I’ll know when I’m not following them.”

Like so much in my life, they are for me. If others benefit from them, wonderful. But first and foremost, they are for me.

You may not like them all. You may only be comfortable with one or two.

Good start. Work to integrate them all. Find that difficult? As noted above, if they were easy for me to follow I wouldn’t have to write them down.

Katie and Claire took interest in the Principles and asked where they could find them. I posted the full list here on my blog as Principles.

Below are the first ten. Feel free to read through the rest of them. Feel free to make them your own.

  1. Do unto others as if they were you.
    In other words, cut out the middle man. Treat others the way you treat yourself. People do this anyway. All we do is suggest you become aware of it.
  2. Trust yourself.
    Until you do this, you’ll never be able to trust others and you’ll put what trust you have in people who will hurt you.

  3. Be Honest.
    With yourself first because it makes it easier to be honest with others. Honesty will cost you and what it returns is worth it. Tell tall tales, lie with the best of them and exaggerate all you want when people know that’s what you’re doing. The rest of the time, be honest.

  4. Respect people’s boundaries and limits.
    There’s a difference between being selfish and being selfless. Realize what this means for you and you’ll realize what it means for others.

  5. Keep it Simple.
    Because it’s so much easier that way.
  6. Take responsibility for your actions.
    When you make a mistake and before anybody else knows the mistake has been made, raise your hand and say loud enough for others to hear you, “That one’s mine. I did that.” If the people around you are more interested in pointing their fingers at you and distancing themselves from you than helping you clean things up, you’re standing around the wrong people. Let them distance themselves. They won’t be around you when you succeed, and you will, because you’ll have learned how to stand up tall, proud and free by recognizing, owning up to and cleaning up your own mistakes. From this you’ll also learn compassion and dignity and how to help others clean up their mistakes, as well. Along with this…
  7. Mistakes are just that; You can reach again.
    So learn to stretch when you have to and to recognize when what you’re reaching for isn’t something you’d want to hold in your hands. You’ll be better for it and so will those who love you.
  8. Innocence is not Naivety and vice-versa.
    Think of this as a self-recognition of “…wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

  9. Your rights end where your willingness to harm and hurt begin.
    If you need this one explained, you won’t get along here. If you needed a moment to put this into a context you could get comfortable with, you won’t get along here.

  10. Language is a tool, like Maslow’s Hammer.
    Some people think everything’s a nail. Be neither. This is part 1.

(read the rest)

Until the interview goes live, you can get a taste here from my tech check.

Enjoy.

Is Others’ Low Self-Esteem Draining Yours?

Note: this originally appeared as part of a subscription podcast series my company offered. I’m resurrecting it here as a reference point for people reading “Power Unlimited” is in Daikaijuzine’s Anguirus Issue and Beware of Soul Killers.
Enjoy!

Sometimes we have to work with people who seem perfectly normal yet, when we get away from them, we feel a little weaker, a little sadder, a little more melancholy and, for lack of a better term, a little less.

What was there about our interaction with them that left us in such a state? Perhaps they had low self-esteem and took some of yours to make up for their lack. The end result is that your self-esteem got drained and you didn’t even open the tap.

Here’s how to recognize low self-esteem in others and a few things to do about it.

Self-esteem is a measure of how much we value ourselves, a purely internal measure of how we compare ourselves to others.
Psychologically healthy people have good self-esteem, meaning they believe they’re on a par with others in the personal and work achievement departments. Even when they meet an Olympic gold medal winning MD-PhD who’s piloted the space shuttle and discovered a cure for cancer, their self-esteem stays in tact because that gold medal winning person is the exception, not the rule, and people with good self-esteem recognize this.

Few people with low self-esteem carry sandwich boards announcing themselves and they do give off signs of low self-esteem. For example:

  • They make amusing but cutting remarks about your achievements and the achievements of others.
  • They are hesitant – sometimes extremely so – to do anything new or try anything unfamiliar.
  • Whenever they talk about themselves it’s often with a question involved, usually seeking confirmation that what they did was good, okay or acceptable.
  • They need to be in control of conversations and situations, often by making themselves the focus of conversations or situations.
  • They do not like to be challenged about their ideas, beliefs or experiences. This is especially true if you have or are seeking a personal relationship with them.

People with low self-esteem can be intelligent, witty, charming and disarming in the extreme, until something happens that causes them to evaluate themselves in comparison to someone else, and if that someone else is a rival, watch out!

Dealing with Self-Esteem Stealers
Rarely does challenging someone about their self-esteem do any good. What does work is pointing out to them that their remarks can be hurtful and that their remarks are not appreciated. Be prepared to be challenged so also be prepared to be strong and hold your ground. People with low self-esteem can’t let you keep yours, it would only serve as a reminder that they are less and you are more.

That’s all for now. Stay warm and well.

Beware of Soul Killers

Note: this originally appeared as part of a subscription podcast series my company offered. I’m resurrecting it here as a reference point for people reading “Power Unlimited” is in Daikaijuzine’s Anguirus Issue.
Enjoy!

Part of life is having painful experiences, things that cause some emotional, physical, psychological or spiritual pain. We know more about alleviating physical pain than any of the others and that in itself causes concern.

Most people, as they grow into adulthood and go through life, learn to place painful experiences in their place. They gain perspective and know, for example, that today’s breakup is tomorrow’s chance for love.

And every once in a while people run into Soul Killers, those people who cause distress repeatedly. Some do so intentionally, others without realizing they’re doing so.

Some tricks for dealing with soul killing pain
We all run into people who simply bring us down. They have a knack for draining us of our energy, our vitality, our joys and pleasures. Some people do this on purpose, others have the ability as an unwanted gift. The ones who do it on purpose are subtle – they have to be! The others may not be subtle and they tend to be friends.

Both do it pretty much the same way; They tell us our experiences are invalid, not real, no good, inadequate and so on. They may be serious or joking and studies indicate such statements exact a psycho-emotional cost that results in a sense of futility, of worthlessness, in some cases physical exhaustion because the victim feels they are pushing against a weight that can’t be moved (and really due to micro and sometimes macro tensions in the muscles resulting from the psychological struggle). Telling someone their personal experience is not relevant or inadequate is the same as telling them they are not relevant or inadequate.

There are four basic ways people can drain us. Here are some examples

  • Sensation – That didn’t hurt.
  • Emotion – Don’t be upset.
  • Character – You’re not so special.
  • Thought – You don’t believe that.

We have the right to let people know when we’re in pain or uncomfortable. Our sensations are real to us even if no one else can feel them.

Likewise, we have a right to our emotions. Modern society has only recently appreciated that people’s emotional intelligence is often more important to their survival than their cognitive intelligence.

Everybody is special, we’re just all special in our own ways. People need to know they are honored and respected regardless of their abilities and achievements, and the only way to get others to celebrate yours is to celebrate them yourself.

And finally, our thoughts are valid and real, meaningful and useful because they are based on our experiences and no two people share the exact same life stories. We’re allowed to believe what we want, and definitely what works for us, even if others think it’s malarkey.

Be your own advocate
Pay attention the next time you start feeling down, depressed, weak, exhausted, or drained. Did someone – or did you, yourself – attempt to kill your soul? Recognize soul killing techniques and no one will be able to kill your soul again.

That’s all for now. Stay warm and well.

Dorothea Brande’s “Becoming a Writer”

I read Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer right after reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. The two books share a theme of self-exploration. Becoming a Writer was originally written before meditation and Buddhism were established in the west, and Brande still makes her case for self-exploration through “meditation without calling it meditation” exercises. I’d offer that Becoming a Writer is a prelude to Writing Down the Bones.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”

Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is not a book for everybody. I’m not sure how many authors, writers, and author-wannabes will take to it.

Did I take to it?

Oh, yes. But I’ve studied mystical traditions, perform regular meditation, and enjoy learning different teaching methods.

There are good exercises in the book and they’re really about learning about yourself as a writer, not about being a writer, not about writing better.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!