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Tag: racism

August 31, 2015

Last week, reports broke out that Vester Lee Flanagan shot and killed two of his former co workers during a live broadcast,  then he later committed suicide after a brief police chase.  It has been further revealed that Vester released a manifesto, accompanied by a series of tweets in which he stated that he had received poor treatment by way of discrimination at the hands of Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

Assuming everything about this story is true, then it stands to reason that Alison, Adam and Vester,  were victims of Vester’s flawed expectations regarding how he should be treated by others.

Contrary to popular belief, no one is entitled to be liked or loved by anyone other than themselves. This also extends to privileges, as no one is entitled to a job or treatment of prestige from others.

The Vester Lee shooting is a believable story, because from a psychological perspective it makes sense. It makes sense that Vester would harbor deep feelings of resentment and hate towards his coworkers when he felt that he was wrongly denied from what he believed was rightfully his; a job and a good relationship with his co workers.

Some people have characterized Vester as a mentally troubled man,  and I would agree.  However, I do believe that what made Vester a mentally troubled man, where his irrational beliefs of how he should have been treated. Most mental health issues are derived from our difficulty in coming to terms with the incongruence between our beliefs  and our experiences. If our experiences contradict our beliefs, it is us who must make changes to our beliefs and not the world around us.

I  do not support discrimination of any kind to anyone, but it happens regardless. From experience, I have found it empowering to accept people for who they are and how they feel towards me, without making any attempts to control the situation.

This has allowed me to attract people who appreciate me for who I am and whom I equally appreciate.

Change your thinking,  change your life.

September 22, 2014

I recently came across this article on the American Psychology Association website that discussed the pain of rejection. In the article the author discussed research studies that have shown how painful rejection from certain groups and social classes are to people in general.

My response to the article is straight forward, rejection by itself is not painful. What makes rejection painful is our interpretations of rejection. If you are raised to believe that you must always be accepted by others, or that it is bad for others to reject you, then naturally you are going to experience emotional pain whenever you experience rejection because you believe something bad and terrible is happening to you.

What I have found with people who struggle with dealing with rejection is that they usually lack a healthy narrative regarding their sense of identity. Often, the worse the person’s fear of rejection is, the more scarce his or her sense of identity is.

So what do I mean by a sense of identity? A sense of identity can be described as a person’s concept of what beliefs and values he or she adheres to combined with his or her heritage. I have noticed that people who have a solid grasp of what their beliefs and values are have no issues accepting others rejection of them. People who don’t have a solid grasp or understanding of what their beliefs and values are, more likely to give into social pressure to conform to certain trends or fads.

The problem with societal trends, is that in other to fit into that particular group practicing the trend, you have to conform to certain attributes that are our of your control to change and are often based on vanity. So if you find yourself struggling to deal with rejection, there is a high likelihood that you have bought into an artificial narrative created by someones who did not have you in mind. You may have bought into this narrative because you admired the people who practiced the narrative, and there is nothing wrong with that, however in the absence of a solid sense of self, you find yourself dependent on others to define who you are. This is an impossible feat, because the only one who can define and accept you unconditionally is you. This means that in the absence of self acceptance is self rejection, and your experiences of rejection from others will only serve as a reminder of your rejection of self.

When we first come into the world, the first people we socialize with are our parents. Our parents and guardians are tasked with accepting us unconditionally, thereby role modeling for us unconditionally self acceptance, as you can imagine there are a number of things that could go wrong with this process. The reality is that parents who don’t have a strong and healthy sense of self, have very little to teach and pass on to their children in regards to the formation of a healthy identity. I have also noticed that parents who have not passed on a healthy narrative to their children, are often strong advocates for discouraging any and all types of rejection in society.

People who have been fortunate to have developed a healthy sense of identity in their younger years, their experiences of being rejected are not only few and far in between, but not painful. The reason for this is because of the phenomenon that there is someone for everyone. Even when faced as a minority in a certain environments, people who are genuinely accepting of themselves, often will establish relationships with like minded people.

For clients who have had little experience in living out a healthy narrative, I guide them through the formation of healthy narrative that embodies a dignified sense of identity. So what does a healthy narrative look like? In my next post I will discuss what a healthy narrative consists of.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

December 24, 2013

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I participated in a live interview this morning with the Huffington Post Live, with focus of the conversation being on the relevance and social acceptability of public apologies. From my standpoint, whether you are looking at the Paula Deen usage of racist slurs, Lance Armstrong’s dishonesty with doping, Rob Ford’s defiance about his drug use to the recent tweet and follow up apology by  Justine Sacco, the entire process of public apologies has become bastardized.

Once a public figure makes a hurtful and insensitive comment, with a prompt follow up apology, it is a literal assault to the sensibilities of the public. Most people realize that the apology is not sincere and is only being offered under duress to save face. More importantly the apology distracts from more important issues that the public should be looking at. Such as workplace bullying, whether kids are influenced by doping in sports and corruption in politics to name a few. Mainstream media outlets habitually distract from these topics through a process of shaming and blaming the public figure who dared uttered such comments.

On a personal level, if someone rejects me or thinks ill of me because of my skin color or heritage, that’s truly their problem, not mine. My participation in ridiculing or shaming any offender of hurtful comments solves nothing, and for those in my position who thinks it helps them feel better, I would say that they have fallen for the “jedi mind trick”, in short we have bigger fish to fry.

On a positive note, I came across a story about how group turned an insensitive tweet that went viral into a positive outcome. How? By channeling the outrage to focusing and challenging people to help a greater cause.

Here is a copy of the video of the interview, after watching please share.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

 

December 10, 2013

individuality within the team. be different.

 

 

This is a follow up post to my recent post about the costs of workplace bullying, more specifically the relationship between workplace bullying, depression and heart disease.  Our thoughts influence our realities, change your thoughts and you will find your self engaging in different behaviors which influence different outcomes. However, sometimes our emotions stemming from irrational thoughts regarding our expectations not being met, can be so strong that the process of changing our thoughts can seem a daunting task.

In this post, I will introduce to you the reader to three primary strategies for creating emotional distance and bringing yourself to a place of calm in order to explore other options.

#1 Meditation

Keeping in mind that during times of extreme stress, people have difficulty maintaining calm in order to recognize and respond effectively to difficult situations, the first measure would be how to maintain calm during times of extreme stress.

The first strategy to learn is mediation, studies such as this one have shown meditation to be effective in coping with and overcoming emotional stress and pain. Another study demonstrated through mri scans that people who meditate have higher cortical gyrification ( a folding of the cerebral cortex believed to be associated with faster information processing). The key part of meditation which makes it effective in  dealing with emotional stress is the process of developing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the process of developing more consciousness towards your interpretations of events and your feelings without overreacting. In short, you train your mind towards being calm during periods of discomfort. Rather than embrace the mindset that you should always be comfortable, you transition into the mindset that episodes of discomfort are a learning experience. You should begin practicing meditation, once every day, beginning with five minutes and the goal to building yourself to sixty plus minutes a day. In this post, I discuss the specifics of this strategy.

#2 Doing Nothing

This strategy is a follow up to the meditation strategy. In this post  I discuss a real life scenario where I have used the “doing nothing” strategy to my benefits, when I found myself on the receiving end of work place bullying.

The “doing nothing” strategy follows the cognitive behavioral principle of A+B =C. This means that an activating event plus a behavioral response equals a natural and logical consequence.  So in response to passive aggressive bullying tactics, doing nothing is your best initial response as bullying tactics depend on  the over reaction of the target in sustaining the bullying long term, until the desired goal is accomplished.

Doing nothing does not mean that you play the role of the passive scapegoat. Doing nothing means that you don’t respond to bullying with retaliating tactics of your own. It only makes the situation more unbearable and difficult for you. All bullying starts off with passive teasers, in which the perpetrator is gauging your triggers for overreaction.  What works for me, is to pick my battles and do nothing until the instigators have crossed a line  which warrants a measured, respectful and assertive response.

Think off it as self defense. If you were on the street, it would not be wise to respond to nasty glares and insults from a stranger, but in  the event that stranger were to place hands on you, you should be prepared to protect yourself. It is also important to note that when I have initiated the “doing nothing” response, it took a lot of work. I documented my observations and when  it came to my work I made certain  that I was as thorough as I could have been, which it difficult for myself to get scapegoat-ed.

#3 Set Firm Boundaries

Not only have I been the recipient of work place bullying, but I have also witnessed other people experience work place bullying in real time. The biggest mistake most people on the receiving end of bullying make is to kiss up to their aggressors. This maladaptive tactic only speeds up the worsening of the process.

You see bullying is irrational behavior most people initiate out of perceived bias against the target.  This means that the person on the receiving end, has done nothing to deserve such harassment. So pandering to the bully only enables the bullying. When I work with kids who are getting bullied, the first assignment I give to them is to stop associating with those who treat them badly. Time after time, children who have followed through with this tactic report that the bullying stopped. Why? Because they stopped placing themselves in  situations where they made it easy for the bullies to harass them. This means that kids who were on a mission to bully the client, had to work a lot harder by going out of their way to seek out their target to bully.

In the workplace environment, you make it harder for your harassers to bully you by setting up and maintaining firm boundaries. If you need any help with them, simply look to your company’s standard of operating procedures. Then make sure you follow everything by the book, and hold anyone who works with you to standard in following the same rules. If a supervisor were to insist that you bend the rules for a favor, you request that they follow company protocol in  getting the rule changed and then you document the interaction between you and the supervisor.

#Bonus: Find Your Tribe.

Business is about relationships, so if you are worried that employing these strategies wouldn’t make you any friends at work, you are probably right. Instead these strategies are designed to create enough emotional breathing room for you to access your working brain and explore other options. Such as a work cultural environment where you can thrive.

In life there are always options.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

December 9, 2013

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Consider this scenario, you have been written up on the job for a miscellaneous issue. Furthermore you have been given an action plan to complete promising your due diligence in not making whatever error you made that earned you the write up. It sounds cut and dry right?

Well what if at the same this that this is going on, you have come to notice that your co workers are no longer speaking with you.  Perhaps your office or cubicle has been moved to a different location farther from the main group of people you typically work with. Also, what if on more than  one occasion you have been accused of incompetence and negligence and openly berated in front of others?

This scenario can be described as workplace bullying or put more appropriately workplace mobbing. Workplace bullying occurs when standards and procedures are used as a weapon in intimidating and or attempting to end the employment of an employee. Typically workplace bullying occurs on a one on one basis, think supervisor and employee. However on a more sophisticated scale, workplace bullying occurs when an individual is constantly on the receiving end of barrages of criticism from multiple individuals in a workplace environment with one or two people playing lead roles in the bullying.

The idea is to emotionally break down the individual, who is the target of the bullying to accomplish one of two goals. With one goal being to have that employee become more fearful and submissive and the other goal to end the employee’s employment. It is common knowledge that when people are worried about making mistakes, they make more mistakes than usual. So if as a supervisor, I write someone up, over a situation that could have been assertively and compassionately discussed, I am merely documenting my process to justify the person’s removal. Often times with bullying it looks really legitimate on paper, as most people develop maladaptive behaviors to cope with the manufactured stress being projected unto them.

In this report, titled “Offsetting the Pain from Workplace Bullying,” authored by the Workplace Bullying Institute, an online survey revealed that 24.5% of respondents engaged in positive behaviors in response to workplace bullying. An example for positive behaviors would be prayer, meditating, and daily exercising. Compared to 9.9% of respondents who engaged in displaced behaviors, such as going home to fight with loved ones, 32.3% of respondents who engaged in self destructive behaviors, such as overeating and drug use and 33.4% of respondents who responded to workplace bullying via social withdrawal.

The report concludes that the initial response to work place bullying is rarely a rational and conscious one. The reports further states that if it were a rational response, all the responses given would have been of positive behaviors.

 bully chart

This makes sense considering that research studies have shown that people who experience chronic stress become stuck in a pattern of reactivity due to our hard wiring for fight or flight in response to feeling threatened.

In another study, based on a sample of male and female hospital employees, researchers reported that incidences of bullying in the workplace were negatively correlated with mental health. More specifically, researchers reported that one in six people who experienced workplace bullying were likely to develop depression and cardiovascular disease. Although they did note that the likelihood of cardiovascular disease was linked to overweight issues in the participants of the study. However it is important to note that just like the last study, overeating was identified as a self destructive behavior, in which 32.3% of responders reportedly engaged in. It is also important to note that when people engage in self destructive behaviors, they usually do so in an effort to escape difficult issues, such as depression.

This year a psychiatrist,  Dr. Angelos Halaris proposed that a new field be created and further proposed that it be named psychocardiology. His proposal came from a research study he spearheaded where he and his team discovered an inflammatory biomarker labeled interleukin-6, (associated with cardiovascular disease) in higher quantities in the blood stream of most of the depressed people they tested.

I am a big believer that our thoughts and feelings influence our physical health, and it could very well be that depressed people experience more stress which leads to the production of hormones that in the long term have negative side effects on the heart and overall well being of the depressed person.

We are social creatures, and besides the wounding of our egos when dealing with rejection, the situation becomes more alarming when we perceive that our “only” ability to get our basic needs met, is threatened due to perceived threats from reoccurring social conflicts in the workplace. This is the bad news, however the good news is that if you have ever been on the receiving end of workplace conflict, you can learn to bring it to an end.

If fear of not being able to provide for yourself or your family is what keeping you stuck in an employed situation you are not fond of, then you should read this post on fear.

Tomorrow, I will post on three cognitive strategies which people who are currently experiencing any perceived bullying or chronic social conflict in the workplace, can practice. The practicing of these strategies are designed to create emotional space and calm within the person so that through clarity, he or she can consider effective alternatives towards bringing the conflicts to an end.

 

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

October 30, 2013

“Your core beliefs help shape your reality.”

This morning I came across this post, in which the author gave her social commentary on the ongoing Barneys scandal. In essence what the author states is that when people who are poor spend the little money they have on overpriced products they don’t need, they are being strategic in trying to fit into a society in which they feel rejected by.

I have heard this rationale before, and I get it. However I respectfully disagree with it and here’s why;

However before I begin, I would like to state that I don’t know the true financial situation of the young man and young woman who were harassed and humiliated by the NYPD for shopping in the high end department store.

I would also like to state that when police officers take it upon themselves to pick you off the streets and put you in jail, because you were spotted with an item they believed you could not afford, citizens across the country (regardless of ethnicity) should be concerned.

If you are poor, and you have grown up finding yourself on the receiving end of condescending attitudes from would be snubs, due to beliefs in prestige, supremacy and  etc, then it stands to reason that adopting such a belief as yours would only bring you more of the same.

So if I purchase a luxury car, because I believe I would be regarded with prestige when seen with the car, then I am only going to attract people who believe in prestige. The problem with people who believe in prestige is that they have a bad habit of being judgmental and condescending towards those they believe don’t measure up. This means I will be inviting more of the same in my life if I subscribed to core beliefs in prestige and acted out on those beliefs.

Also, I am always going to find myself extra sensitive to how I am being regarded by others and constantly in pursuit of more possessions that signal prestige to others, which keeps me trapped in an unhealthy reality.

On the other hand, if I purchased a car that I found of practical value which also suited my tastes without a care for how others would perceive me, I would find myself attracting people who are non judgmental and open minded. So in spite of the fact that snubs do exist and do judge me from time to time, my true reality would consist of people who accept me unconditionally.

For those who have been tricked into believing that unconditionally acceptance must come at a steep price, my message to them is this; unconditional acceptance is always free.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

July 18, 2013
The style of anger management I practice is solution focused, it calls for a person to be brutally honest with himself about the circumstances that influence his life experiences and the realization that we as human beings are at the mercy of each other. Anger management does not work when people buy into the illusion of what “should” or what “should not” happen to them.
The idea that your life should unfold in a particular manner, is not only an illusion but leads to adopting irrational beliefs. People have become so married to their irrational beliefs that like addicts, they become very upset when these irrational beliefs are challenged, even though these beliefs have done nothing to help them solve any of the problems life deals them on daily basis.
Recognizing Your Vulnerability is a Good Thing.
The primary reason people are more likely to respond to disrespect with anger, than admit their feelings have been hurt, is because we have been conditioned to believe that the latter communicates weakness. We want to feel strong and in control, this is understandably an inherent human trait, however feelings of vulnerability are your minds’ way of informing you that you are in an non supportive situation. It’s that simple. Now what you choose to do with that information is dependent of the skills you have learned and practiced. Responding with anger does not undo the disrespect and it does not help to address the conflict, especially if the antagonist is willing to take things further.
Your Beliefs Either Help or Hinder You
From taking deep and voluminous breaths to practicing verbal judo, none of the traditional anger management techniques are going to work unless you let go of irrational beliefs that do nothing but stroke your ego. It’s all about what you believe, what you believe either prepares you or hinders you from responding appropriately to anger provoking situations. Getting angry is a waste of time, especially if you don’t have the right tools to recognize and manage your more real and vulnerable emotions. Looking back at the responses I received from a recent post about anger being useless, I realize now that I should have used the iceberg illustration, which shows anger as being the tip of the iceberg with more real negative feelings making up for the bulk of the iceberg.
So here are three healthier beliefs that can go a long way in helping you better manage your experiences with anger.
You are not Entitled to be Liked.
We are social animals, and being recognized and accepted in our respected communities are important to us. Advertisers recognize this, that’s why most ad campaigns portray a message that most people prefer to use a particular product over another. Another tactic is to take a popular and well liked person and have that person endorse the product. The message is simple, if you are not using this product, you are out of the loop. People fall for this reverse psychological tactic often, this is why people are usually focused on people who don’t like them, even though there are more people who are willing to accept them for who they are.
If you come to believe that you are not entitled to be liked by anyone, you will find yourself gravitating with gratitude and humility towards those you readily recognize, like and respect you.
We are All at the Mercy of Each Other.
Human beings are capable of inflicting the greatest of harm unto others, likewise they are also capable of performing the greatest of good towards their fellow human beings. This paradoxically situation is usually played out at a mass shootings, where a shooter shows up and guns down innocent people, and ordinary every day people resort to heroic acts towards saving the life of a shooting victim. This belief that we are all at the mercy of each other helps to put into perspective just how silly the idea of being “better than” is. When you go through life convincing yourself that you are better than a certain group of people for what ever reason, you have premeditated yourself towards experiencing significant resentment, when someone that you consider yourself better than decides to take you to task, and possibly shows you up.
As with the previous belief, recognizing that we are all at the mercy of each other, gravitates you with a sense of gratitude towards people who regard you with dignity and respect.
The Golden Rule
Treat and regard others, the way you would like others to treat and regard you. Likewise, do not teat and regard others in a manner you would not like to be treated and regarded by others. No one is perfect, so even when you encounter someone who has made a poor decision in his or her attitude towards you, you should treat that person with the same level of dignity you would like others to treat you when you have made an error or a poor decision.
Believing in the golden rule keeps you grounded and focused on addressing your real issues instead of being obsessed with a grudge, feelings of hate or a desire for retaliation.
It is important to note that none of these beliefs encourage anyone to become docile, passive or compliant towards their rights being violated. They actually encourage people to exercise more assertiveness in their daily interactions with others, with a healthy dose of compassion.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional  counseling and life coaching private practice.
July 15, 2013

“You don’t need validation from anybody to solve your  problems ”

In my practice, I see young and  older people who have gone back to school, more specifically back to college. They are usually pursuing a college degree for which they have no idea what they  are going to with, except getting a better pay. Often times when I ask people in these situations just how much of a pay increase they believe they will receive, they report that they don’t know. Why? Because they haven’t given it much thought.
 Their game plan is simple, attain a college degree, let prospective or current employers know you have a college degree, then land a new and better paycheck doing work that may or may not mean anything to you. I call this validation bias. Validation bias is a mental condition where people have become culturally conditioned to believe that without validation from a recognized or perceived authority figure, that they are inept at taking any initiative towards solving their problems.
Here are some examples, an architect who can’t find employment, and ceases practicing his craft. An engineer, who can’t find work, and gets a job as a supervisor at a call center, making no efforts to capitalize on his trade, an accountant who can’t find work and is frightened by the idea of opening a small tax preparations practice, and the list goes on.
So how do people develop validation bias? Given that human beings are social animals, it stands to reason that validation bias develops within a sufferer’s community of origin. If you  grew up surrounded by adults who seldom exercised any measure of initiative, chances are it never occurred to you that you should aspire to become the captain of your own life.
Here are three signs that you may suffer from validation bias.

Ⅰ. Your plan for success involves how someone in a position of authority is going to recognize your hard work and reward you.

Ⅱ. You feel cheated when you have not been recognized or rewarded for your achievements.

Ⅲ. You have no clear vision for where you want to be, or what you want to be doing with your life in the next five years.

If two or all of these signs apply to you, then here are three steps to take towards liberating yourself.
Ⅰ. Practice taking a more pragmatic approach with anything you do or learn.

During my Masters program, I worked as a caseworker at a juvenile prison. Everything I learned in class and from research, I put to practice the next day I worked. I had a vision of myself as a competent professional, who was knowledgeable and able to help most people who approached me for help. I wasn’t terribly concerned about finding employment, (granted I was already employed) I just wanted to be really good at what I did.

Ⅱ. Make a list of your own issues, you need to start addressing.

The standards of living is the same for everyone, no one is more responsible for your well being and that of your children (if you have any) than you. This might seem like a strange concept to some, but then again if you find this concept strange it may not entirely be your fault. Through mass media, there seems to be this push for people to adopt a cultural mindset that grown men and women shouldn’t be entirely responsible for their well being. Issues ranging from health care provision for a person’s family to educating one’s child seem to no longer be considered a person’s responsibility but that of the government at large. The truth is, your issues are your responsibilities and no one else’s. The good news, is that if you are able to read and comprehend this post, you are capable of coming up with answers to your problems.

Ⅲ. Start coming up with reasonable  plans on how to begin addressing your  identified issues.

To date the best  approach I have found is to research someone who has experienced and successfully solved the same problems you are currently experiencing, such as finding love, building wealth, parenting, career, etc, and the list goes on. Granted while everyone is unique and you will seldom find the perfect out of the box approach, you can always work with a professional like myself to develop and implement the plan that works just right for you.

The irony about validation bias, is that people with this bias  are willing to work really hard for others they look up to, but unwilling to put in half the effort into  improving their own lives. To that I say, you are worth every effort you put into bettering yourself.
Thanks for reading, and please share this post with anyone you believe would benefit from reading it.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC a professional counseling private practice.

July 10, 2013

From time to time I encounter an article or a post on the alleged benefits of anger and why people should get angry under certain circumstances. In this post, my mission is to inform you that on the contrary, you should strive to never get angry and here’s why;

Anger in my professional opinion is a useless emotion, it’s probably the default emotion that comes with just having a reptilian brain in regards to dealing with frustration (cognitive exhaustion) and resorting to self defense. However with the manual override that the cerebral cortex provides us, anger has become obsolete.

Understandably, people sometimes express skepticism when I state that anger is a useless emotion, this is because ego centrism to varying degrees is ubiquitous across all cultures. We make the mistake of externalizing our expectations towards the world around us, instead of internalizing expectations and externalizing preferences.

Here are three reasons why anger is obsolete.

Anger is Never a Solution.

Think about it, what good has anger ever served you? Take for example, in a relationship with your spouse or domestic partner, does getting angry help strengthen the relationship or bring you two closer to separation? Some times when I meet with a couple for the first time, both partners present with such anger towards each other that they begin competing in airing out each other’s dirty laundry. If things get really hostile, I will ask if they are paying me to learn tools on how to properly address issues in their relationship, or if they are seeking validation from me on why they should split up.

Often times when we get angry at someone or a situation, what we are really experiencing is cognitive exhaustion. The experience of cognitive exhaustion usually leads to two options, the first being to stop, rest and collect your thoughts and the second being to throw a tantrum.

If you have ever witnessed a two year old trying to tie his shoelace for the first time, you can probably attest to the tantrums which soon follow after several unsuccessful attempts. Good parents then help the child reach a state of calm before showing that child a technique for learning to tie his shoelace.

When we have adequate knowledge or tools for which to address our problems, we don’t get angry.

Anger is Never Useful for Self Defense.

If you have ever being mugged at gun point, knife point, or even threatened by a dog or wild animal, you can probably agree that getting angry at the time was the farthest thing from your mind. You probably simply wanted to survive the ordeal.

When your life is truly threatened, your mind immediately transitions in a problem solving mode. This means you will resort to any sensible bit of information you can think of, which increases the likelihood of you surviving the incident. If you have ever seen YouTube videos of people successfully defending themselves against an aggressor, I am willing to bet it’s because that person already had some sort of training, (if not extensive) on self defense. So in that instance they resorted to their knowledge to protect themselves.

Anger is not Inspirational

There is nothing inspirational about anger, I think people who believe anger to be inspirational get confused because of the surge of adrenaline going through their system when they get angry. Earlier on I wrote that anger is a default emotion that was originally programmed into the reptilian brain, this makes more sense when you realize that a surge of adrenaline helps you take off in flight or put up a last ditch effort to fight for your life. However adrenaline surges should never be confused with inspiration.

Inspiration comes from the belief or realization that a belief you hold, or something you have earnestly hoped for is about to be realized. When people become inspired it’s because they are being spiritually pulled in by a singular or shared vision of something they desire and not from a sense of anger of something they do not desire.

A revised copy of my book, Anger Management 101- Taming the Beast Within is about to be released and prior to announcing the launch date, I plan on offering subscribers to this blog, the book at a discounted price for a limited time. I will provide further information when my publisher and I finalize arrangements.

Please share this post with anyone you believe will benefit from reading it.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling private practice.

July 8, 2013
In a previous  post where I wrote about having the courage to change, I highlighted three common beliefs people have, which keep them psychologically stuck. The first of those beliefs was the belief that states, “I should never experience discomfort.”
In this post I will be discussing why discomfort should be embraced and two strategies to practice in embracing discomfort.
First, let’s understand why beliefs against discomfort exist in the first place. At some point during the middle of the  twentieth century, the idea that skills and expertise were inherited, instead of developed with practice was born. (Perhaps this coincided with the popular discovery of the DNA structure.) Even today in my practice, I witness this mindset reveal itself in statements people make.
Take for example,
“My kid is smart “or “I dropped out, because I realized that I wasn’t cut out for the program.”
If you read between the lines of these statements, you will encounter the belief that success in any endeavor is supposed to come easy, after all what else should you expect if you are born with a set of genes that dictate success in a certain profession? This belief  leads to the belief that if you start learning a certain discipline and you encounter difficulty, then it must not be for you, because if you had the genes for it it would be easy.
There is a second reason why people have become so zealous about having comforts in their lives. This reason is because most of us have come to see comforts in life as a stepping stone in human evolution. Some of us have come to see struggle as being so beneath us for so long that feelings of incompetency in dealing with certain difficult have set in.
For example, even though I grew up in Lagos, where electricity was grossly inconsistent, I am pretty sure that if electricity went out in my home, I would consider it an emergency, before talking myself back to a place of reason.
If child birth is any indication, the path towards any thing good in life is paved with significant struggle.  We are designed to work hard, compete, enjoy briefly the fruits of our labor, before getting back into the routine of things.
Of course if you find the idea of routines boring and tedious, it’s probably because you are unfamiliar with the concept of meaning and purpose. Having a sense of meaning and purpose is what generates feelings of motivation and content in our lives. (If you are wondering why I didn’t mention happiness, read this post).
When it comes to feeling content,  consistent  feelings of content  can be achieved even during periods of discomfort, this is because feelings of content are positively correlated with a person’s consistency in living up to his or her meaning and purpose in life. Now if you have found a sense of meaning and purpose in life but believe that you shouldn’t experience any discomfort, you are probably going to be  experiencing a lot feelings of being emotionally  stuck, due to your hesitancy towards taking risk and experiencing struggle.
So if you have gotten so used to, or married to the idea of comfort and you have come to realize that this mindset isn’t healthy, here are two strategies for you to practice toward liberating yourself.
I.
Take for example, you have a goal and you have written a plan to achieve this goal, but  you have become frozen in executing your plan. Most likely, because you fear losing some of the comforts you currently experience, or you  fear that in the event you fail you will permanently experience a life more uncomfortably than the one you are living. More than likely it could be a combination of the two fears. Regardless you start by creating a list.
This list will start out with four columns. On the first column, you will identify all of the comforts you have going on for you, then in the second column, you will identify what pragmatic values these comforts add to your life. In the third column, you will identify changes you are hesitant to make, then in the fourth column, you will  list what pragmatic value these changes will  add  to your life, in the event you follow through with making them.
The idea behind this four column list is simple, after your list is complete, you should now have a clear picture regarding  which activities you engage in, help or hinder your ability to achieve your goal. Further, you will also have a clear picture regarding what changes you need to implement to set you on course towards achieving your goals. For further clarification, every thing that helps you succeed should be written down on a fifth column.
II.
The second strategy is meditation, more specifically mindfulness mediation. The concept of mindfulness is straight forward, it is the process where you practice emotional resiliency towards non life threatening disturbances in your world. It is the act of doing nothing, by practicing the discipline of not seeking immediate gratification in response to experiences of discomfort.
The more mental strength you acquire from mindfulness mediation, the more focus you will be able to apply toward achieving your goals, regardless of how uncomfortable the process becomes for you. Here is a site, that offers more information on mindfulness medication.
Thank you for your time and if you know anyone who would benefit from reading this, please share this with him or her.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling private practice.
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