All posts filed under: Personal Growth

NEW Emotional Wellness Workshop – Vancouver, BC, Canada

I’m excited to announce the first of a series of four workshops on emotional and mental wellness.  The first workshop is taking place on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver. There are limited spaces, so please RSVP by emailing me at hytutoring.emily@gmail.com This workshop focuses on teaching the skills required to live happily and healthily.  It’ll be fun, informative and transformative.  It will end with a Restorative Yoga practice to leave you feeling refreshed!

The Problem of Role Models: You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

In a confusing world that forces us to curb our natural behaviors, we often look to exemplars (i.e. role models) to facilitate and accelerate the decision making process. Those exemplars aren’t participants in the process  (obviously, we don’t have Warren Buffet, Jack Ma, or Mother Theresa on speed dial) but they influence our decisions in an indirect way. We reflect on our beliefs about these exemplars, asking questions such as What Would ____ Do? and allowing ourselves to be guided by the imagined response to a similar scenario.  There are different kinds of exemplars, and here are a few examples: Role model: A person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others. Idol: (colloquial usage) an image of a person with an ethereal, god-like, or transcendent status to which worship is addressed. Prophet: e.g.  Jesus, Mohammad, Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Lao Zu, Confucius, etc. Moral saint: a moral philosophy term coined by Susan Wolf who says, “By moral saint I mean a person whose every action is as morally good as possible, …

Money Mindset Makeover: Assess and Take Action to Improve your Relationship with Money

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post on Marx. Several readers contacted me directly about this post with worries about whether or not I support communism.  Sorry to disappoint your curiosity, but the post itself was not written as a piece for or against communism.  Rather it was first an exercise in understanding Marx’s philosophical foundation for his attitude towards capitalism, and second an attempt to make Marx’s philosophy useful, relatable and memorable to lay-philosophers – many of whom naturally have little patience for abstract theories, irrelevant in the modern economic world. If you didn’t read the post, the TL:DR of Marx’s “Estranged Labor” is that Marx thought – for philosophical reasons – that the labor market as an exchange of work for pay is inherently exploitative and inhumane. In case you were confused by that post, I’ll reassure you that’s not what I think, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. Perhaps, after reading Marx, money has left a sour taste in your mouth.  Fear not: this week, let’s re-think money in …

Understand Marx’s “Estranged Labor” to Create A Personal Revolution

Marx was a German philosopher of the 19th century who is most famous for his economic views.  Marx observed laborers and the economy and his observations led him to come to the conclusion that revolution was necessary and inevitable. Why would Marx write that revolution is necessary and inevitable? Many of us would look at the world, and upon viewing the many erroneous and bloody revolutions would take revolution to be abhorrent, unnecessary and to be avoided at all costs.  Marx disagreed, for he was a Hegelian in his reflections that history is a series of progressions that take the form of: Thesis – a particular state of order; a beginning proposition Out of which arises the: Antithesis – a radical move against that thesis; a contradiction arises And finally: Synthesis – a reconciliation that creates a brand new state; a progression of history For Marx, revolution was necessary and inevitable because the way that people lived under the current economic system had become a contradiction of what human beings ought to be. The Problem …

What Everyone Should Know About Coping Behaviors & Addictions

Let me begin by stating that we all have the so-called “addictive personality”.  This label isn’t reserved for the weak or unmotivated or broken.  The addictive personality is, in fact, the the human condition. I think it’s obvious: each one of us resorts to some kind of coping behavior when life is too stressful and we feel overwhelmed.  Some of these coping behaviors involve legal or illegal substance abuse, but not all do.  Because some are more obvious and readily cause social and financial ruin, they are labeled “addictions”; however, each one of us has a chosen coping behavior or behavior that matters dearly to us and a harmful dependence can develop to any of these behaviors. The fundamental similarity among all of them is the aim to avoid painful emotions. No one is immune to painful emotions such as fear, loneliness, sadness, guilt, jealousy, boredom, inadequacy, etc.   The coping behaviors that allow us to avoid overwhelming emotions tend to fall into three categories: Consumption – e.g., food, media, and shopping Numbing out – e.g. drugs …

A Cheerfulness Practice to Radically Improve Your Mindset and Get Rid of Ennui

Don’t let a chronic case of the Mondays bring down your entire life.   Have you ever felt that each week is more of the same?  You make it through Monday to Thursday.  Finally, it’s Friday! But suddenly it’s Monday again.  How did that happen? The weeks run like torturous deja vu. Or perhaps it feels like every day is worse than the last.  The same breakfast, the same commute, the same crabby coworker.  And even the weekends are starting to seem as bland as plain, congealed oatmeal. It’s not that things are bad.  The response to “How are you?” is  “Oh, I really can’t complain.”  How do we cope with this perpetual, mild dissatisfaction?  Nothing’s really wrong.  Or is it? This listlessness has a name: ennui (pronounced: On-We).  It’s an emotional state of overcast, the kind that threatens of rain for days on end, but fails to provide the relief of a downpour.  It just goes on being overcast.  After the overcast becomes “normal”, you occasionally find yourself nagged by memories of last summer, …

Can you Be Present AND plan for the Future?

Pop-culture’s Enlightenment Error “Happiness is only achievable in the present moment.” “To be present you must put aside thoughts of the past and future.” “Just breathe, trust, let it go and see what happens.” Statements about being present are multiplying as quickly as smoothie shops.  Mindfulness websites, motivational wallpapers, and Instagram captions recycle and repurpose ancient wisdom into naïve platitudes that briefly catch our attention as we scroll our lives away.  Quotes paired with photos of smiling yogis, poised on mountain tops, implant into our minds the idea that happy, enlightened people spend life sitting cross-legged, ignoring responsibilities, and breathing – nary a thought of the future and certainly no planning necessary. Somehow they blissfully and serendipitously sashay through life, free of career goals, relationship goals, or worry about what to cook for the kids tonight. Undoubtedly, compared to neurotic fretting, this carefree notion of being present is helpful.  If you’ve totally lost control of your environment and your emotions – you really messed up big time – well then, jettisoning any thoughts of the past or future …

Understand Maslow’s Hierarchy to Prepare Yourself for Personal Growth

The 20th century psychologist, Abraham Maslow, created a theory of human motivation that has been highly influential in psychology, sociology, philosophy, ethics, and business. Unlike many other psychologists who focused their studies on various mental illnesses, Maslow studied human excellence and what makes humans healthy.  For that reason, Maslow’s theory is relevant to you, as someone who presumably wants to be healthy and happy, too. Maslow’s theory provides deep analysis, but at the same time it’s quite intuitive, meaning that you’ll understand it and instinctively agree. Once you understand it, you can apply it to your own life and become ready for self-motivation and growth. Maslow’s Hierarchy – 5 Tiers of Needs Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is illustrated as a five-tiered pyramid. Needs get more complex as we climb the pyramid.  The base tier are physiological needs for eating, drinking, and sleeping.  The next tier is the security need, satisfied by immediate safety and savings for the future.  Above physical and security needs are social needs, such as friendship and intimacy.  The highest of the …

How to Live without Shame and Avoid Rationalizing

A few days ago I was discussing justification with a colleague. The previous two blog posts were about Justification (Parts 1 and 2). He suggested a third aspect of justification: excuse-making or rationalization.  This is distinct from the epistemic notions of justification.  A discussion of rationalization justification falls under the categories of pragmatism (human, goal-oriented reasoning) and psychology. What is Rationalization Justification? Rationalization is an excuse-making behavior we resort to if we commit an act that is deemed unacceptable to ourselves or others. After the conscious realization that the behavior was unacceptable, we begin to feel emotionally uncomfortable – guilty, shameful, inferior, unworthy, etc.  The response to those feelings is to “rationalize the situation”. Rationalization is a type of excuse-making that retroactively justifies the behavior that we deemed unacceptable.  It “makes the situation OK”.  By providing justifying reasons for the unacceptable behavior, we are able to re-interpret our behavior to be acceptable.  Rationalization allows us to avoid painful emotions that we would otherwise have felt when looking back at the behavior. I think there are …