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“You don’t need to be friends with people who are hurtful to you.”

Josh Feingold | Mar 12, 2013

Sometimes I piss people off. Yeah, I do.  I certainly don’t mean to, but I seem to do it quite a bit lately. Typically, it is when people get annoyed by my tenacity.  My lack of giving up.  My push to make things happen. Quickly. Other times it is when someone wants something from me, but I’m not willing (or perhaps able) to provide what they want. But in no case, do I think I am being hurtful.  I may make them mad, but I am never purposely hurtful. What is the difference? Reactionary hurt is malicious, wheras regular hurt is a byproduct of someone not liking something about you. No matter how much I decide I dislike you, I have no right to be hurtful to you.  I have no right to say disparaging things.  I have no right to twist the knife, and make it hurt.  I don’t have to like you, but you don’t need to feel bad about that. And if I do, this attitude comes from a very unhealthy place.  A dark place.  A sad place. In truth,  at the essence it comes from a scared place, which is why we may forgive those who are proactively hurtful for their actions.  Of course, there are those who feel that they deserve the reaction of others, but I would think that unless what you did was purposefully hurtful, there is no real excuse for their reactive actions. If you want to be magnanamous, perhaps give someone a break the first time, but if there is a pattern, it isimportant   to remember that we may well be better off saying goodbye to these people and finding others who are kind and gentle to replace what may have been a misguided friendship....

“What do you signal?”

Josh Feingold | Mar 11, 2013

As much as I dislike first dates, I do love watching myself and the person across the table send signals. It’s really fun to watch those things that we want the other person to realize – and make it blatently obvious.  Of course, that is happening on the other side as well. The most amazing thing to me is that we don’t even know we are signaling unless we pay attention to it.  However, once you are watching for it, it is impossible not to note. From a self-improvement perspective, this is great, because signals often show those things that you aren’t comfortable about yourself with.  And discomfort with self, is a bad thing. TM.  So by focusing on those things where you signal, you can take them aside and bring them into the wholeness of yourself. Of course, by paying attention to the signals of the person across the table, you can also get great insights into that person.  As is well known, people tell us exactly who they are, if we choose to listen.  It’s part of the definsive process of an honest person (i.e. this only applies to an honest person), whereby we try to allow someone to love us for who we are, and in doing so, tell them who we are, often through signaling. So signaling is powerful.  And control of this power is available to those who take the time to understand its...

“The ultimate freedom.”

Josh Feingold | Mar 8, 2013

I read an interesting article the other day about a Norway prison, where murderers and rapists, pretty much live on an island without restriction.  Of course, there is one restriction, that they do have which is that they are stuck on the island. Fast forward a few days and one of my friends emailed with the question of if the happiness model I have discussed would apply to third world countries.  The basic question was can someone be happy when there is murder, famine, and rape all around them. I gave the question some thought, and realized that the two issues are connected. If I asked you a core belief you would die for, I bet Freedom would top your list.  Freedom is a welcome right to us Americans.  However, I ask you, what do we mean by Freedom?  What Freedom would you give your life for.  Since as you know, even in America we are not truly free. I am not free to skip my duties to pay tax.  I am not free to harm another person.  I am not free to yell “Fire” in a public space, where there is no threat of Fire.  So, clearly, we have limited freedom.  In fact, that is one of societies primary responsibilities, to restrict freedom in such a way as to benefit the society at large. There are other freedoms that are great in America.  Freedom of religion, freedom of sexual orientation, freedom of free speech. However, while these are core freedoms, I would think that there is one freedom that trumps all others. The freedom to leave. Now in truth, to exercise this freedom, there are two issues at play.  When I was visiting Cuba I learned that the cuban government doesn’t restrict anyone from leaving.  Nope.  The reason that everyone is in Cuba is because (in general) no other country will let them in.   So the freedom to leave is predicated on the permission of the Government where you live to let you leave, and another Government to let you enter. It is this fact upon my happiness model lies.   That one has the freedom to go somewhere else.  For without it, we are stuck and happiness is not within our control.  The key word being control.  If we are not in control of our environment, happiness can be elusive. And it is this reason that the prison that I mentioned at the beginning of the post works.  Because, the prisoner knows that they don’t have freedom.  That they lack control.  And this ultimately, is the worst punishment that we can give...

“View the world through your conflicted reality.”

Josh Feingold | Mar 7, 2013

Humans tend to gravitate to extremes.  We act this way, due to a desire to bind conflicting realities and giving weight to one reality or the other. I better approach it to recognize that the two conflicting extremes exist, and honestly live in your reality.   By doing this, issues don’t “pop up” since you are already figuring out a way to incorporate them into your already healthy life.  You also, don’t seek out the surpressed value in others, in a nod to self-acceptance, since you already repect that same value in yourself, leading to healthier relationships. Just to make this post clear.  I don’t mean living two different lives – that is dishonest to an exterme with others, but most importantly yourself.  What I do mean is incorporating the different aspects of your reality instead of blocking them in their entirety or surpressing them. To me, as I try to model humanity, the capability to do this is evidence of higher personal growth, than our default...

“Bitterness is bad.”

Josh Feingold | Mar 6, 2013

Like my complex use of alliteration? (Side note, I totally couldn’t help me seventh grader with his homework the other day.  No idea what part of English grammer he was learning, but I’m sure it’s really important.) Seriously, though.  There is no place for bitterness in our lives.  Life sucks at times, and that’s just how it goes.  However, when we choose to focus on that bitter time, we have no one to blame but ourselves for holding on to negativity. I have seen this in many ways this past year. I have seen it in bitter girls that are so jaded by the process of finding a “good guy” they have given in, and just go through the motions of meeting people, not even realizing the negativity that they are giving off.  I feel sorry for those girls. It’s not my place to tell them my opinion, but I do wish that someone would hand them my blog post so they could question their own perspectives on dating. I have seen it in myself, as a bitter person who life took a turn that was unexpected and made me challenge the fairness of the world. I have seen it in others who feel cheated in different ways in life. Where they find themselves as the underdog, though they may be the ones choosing not to change their own situation. However, the common denominator of bitterness, is a feeling that things are “not supposed to be this way.”  To which we all must remind ourselves, that if you belive things are as they are supposed to be, well, they ARE supposed to be this way, and if you don’t belive that, you don’t have a leg to stand on and make this claim.  Either way, though, there is not place for bitterness. Sure there is a place for being sad, if you want to focus on the negative (probably not a good thing), but bitterness comes from an unfair world.  And, unfortuantely, no one said the world is fair.  The world just is.  (Unless you believe that God actively maintains the world.  But even then, if something bad happens, and if you belive, like most religions that God is intrinsically good, then you also have to assume that the bad that you percieve as happening is really good, so there is still no room for bitterness.) That’s right, the world is what it is, and we better be comfortable with that reality.  Otherwise, a sunami of bitterness will follow in realities wake.  And bitterness helps no one.  So learn that no one said life is fair, though life can certainly be wonderful if we work at it, and lose the bitterness. You’ll be happy you did!...

“Don’t romanticize the past.”

Josh Feingold | Mar 5, 2013

Memory is a tricky thing.  In general, we forget about the bad, and tend to hold on to the good. One upshot of this is our pasts can tend towards being better than our present.  Though, in reality, the past really may have stunk.  We just don’t remember really well. Nostalgia is reflective of this attitude.  In movies, decore, and people (instagram, vintage clothes, and hairstyle). Myself included, of course, or I wouldn’t have noticed it in the first place.  So as I focus inward, I just need to remember that my today beats the heck out of any yesterday.  And of course, any tomorrow, as well.