All posts filed under: Relationships

Week 37 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Trust

“He was confused.  He had never asked her to trust him or said anything to make her believe he was worth her trust.  And she knew his past – so what did she expect? She had trusted him – to do what, exactly?”

Do you know what it means to trust someone? What about trusting yourself?  Answer quickly, before philosophy gets in the way. You think you know, until you realize that you do not know at all what it means to trust and be trusted.

Click to visit this week’s post to learn about trust.
Plus, journal questions to help you understand how and why you trust!

Week 10 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: What’s Love?

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Love In English, the word “love” can refer to anything from pleasant regard (“I love your blouse.”) to deep interpersonal affection (“Your love completes me.”). Although the word is frequently used, many of us, when asked, would have to think about what we really mean.  Why bother defining love? Prevent misunderstandings: An instance of the word “love” may be casually misunderstood because of the variety of meanings it takes on, dependent on context and individuals involved.  The meaning is often taken for granted by the hearer and speaker. Clarify expectations: If you’ve defined your own usage of, “I love – “, then you’ll be ready to ask another person what it means to them when they use the sentence. Deepen your debate: Some people reserve the word “love” for strong emotions; other people use love often and easily.  What’s the true meaning of love?  Everyone wants to know. How many ways do …

The Heart of the City at Minus 8 Degrees

A Valentine’s Day poem written during my walk to work.  A bus stop advertisement mentions “the heart of the city” and inspires the title. The Heart of the City at Minus 8 Degrees The smell of rotten vegetables touches my nostrils The city is a fermenting refrigerator A hint of freshly dug dirt The sidewalk under repair Diesel exhaust – Frozen hearts of the workmen Engines running to stay warm on Valentine’s Day ___ Hardened souls, Yet the scent of colognes and perfumes Betrays secret desires How embarrassing to need love Hold me, on Valentine’s Day ___ My eyes meet other eyes For a moment, the reality of city life: Wide open hearts, closed windows Always I wonder Who is chasing whom, Valentine?   Critical Thinking: Take two minutes to mentally review your day, recalling images  and seeing them behind your closed eyes.  Write a short poem of your own.  Three or four lines will do!  Use a metaphor, which is a literary device for comparison and symbolism, a word or description is applied to …

Week 6 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: Power Over Others

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Power Over Other People One topic that has interested philosophers of all the ages and all civilizations is power.  To have power over others is to have the ability to influence their behaviour. When you have power, you have some kind of authority to make decisions and efficacy for creating real consequences.  Contrast the (illusory) feeling of power with actually being powerful over others. Power over others comes from various sources: Parental authority – parents’ ability to influence their children, regardless of age Education – overpowering by out-smarting Charisma – persuasive language and charming personality Political – ability to authorize actions that effect other people Status – a job title that creates respect or fear Money – “purchasing” certain goods and behaviours Physical strength – dominating through offers of protection or creation of fear The Pursuit of Power Power can be motivating and addictive. Many human beings enjoy feeling power over others and take …

Week 4 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: Disagreement

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: Disagreement As global migration increases, societies become more diverse.  Workplaces bring together equally skilled people who, nonetheless, have highly divergent opinions about all kinds of topics, including social issues, politics, education, culture, sexuality, and ethnicity.  Diversity increases disagreement. It’s ok to disagree with others – you have the right to choose your thoughts!  Holding your tongue when you disagree can make you resentful, feel taken advantage of, or become passive-aggressive. It’s ok to disagree with others but keep your opinion to yourself.  If you don’t know when to pick your battles, you might become frustrated, exhausted, and end up with a bad reputation. This week’s questions are designed to help you understand your reaction to disagreement.  By understanding your reaction, you gain the power to make a conscious choice about how to react in the future. The Questions:  Do you find yourself agreeing with mere opinions (not facts) even when you don’t agree?  …

Week 3 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Parent-Child Relationships

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: parent-child relationships I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. and If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. The author of the two preceding quotes is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian psychiatrist especially famous for relating all mental abnormalities back to idiosyncrasies in the parent-child relationship. I don’t know if I agree that the parent-child relationship is wholly defining of us, but it is surely fundamental to the people we become.   Human beings need parental figures for survival and social development. The first people you interacted with were probably your parents.  The parent-child relationship is an unavoidable source of tension but it can also be an irreplaceable source of joy. Knowing what you think about your parents can help you understand the source of disagreements.  It can also reveal the source of your expectations for other types of relationships.  Your ideas about …

A New Years Resolution Suggestion for the Intellectuals: Awaken to Non-verbal, Loving Communication

It’s time to reflect on 2018 and make plans for 2019!  My new years resolution is to express love in deeds, not just in words and conversation.  Let me explain. I genuinely love to hear about the life experiences of other people.  Human beings are so different and interesting.  I love to interact with their stories by examining, analyzing, comparing, connecting and playing with their ideas.  As an intellectual person, I love to process words, concepts, descriptions, metaphors, fantasies, and memories. In interactions with other people, what I already do well is listen deeply.  This happens naturally because the words spoken by others are intrinsically valuable to me whether I agree with them or not, whether I understand their point of view or not whether they cause pain inside me or not. By intrinsically valuable, I mean that I’m listening because it’s pleasurable in itself, not because I’m looking to profit or gain wisdom.  My motivation to listen comes from the joy of witnessing the mental and emotional life of another person. The Value of …

Sorting out Compassion, Pity, and Love

I started reading a book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It’s philosophical fiction and ripe with existentialist themes.  You find it on Library Genesis.  The story is about a womanizer and, at one point, he considers his unusual compassionate feelings towards a woman he is sleeping with. He says, To take pity on a woman means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word compassion generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second rate sentiment that has little to do with love.  To love someone out of compassion means not really to love…  (Chapter 9) This passage really caught me off-guard – my intuition is not the same as the author’s.  Does compassion imply a power or hierarchical relationship in which one person has pity for another?  To me, the word compassion has always meant co-feeling and suggests companionship and shared emotions, including joy. Read It and Weep Let’s see what the Oxford Dictionary has to say: Compassion: Sympathetic pity …

Learn to Ask Better Questions

What is a question? I’m sure you ask questions everyday, but probably don’t have a ready answer for that question. Maybe your first reply is something along the lines of, “it’s a way of getting information from another person when you don’t know something.” That’s only partially correct.  Confused why?  Keep reading: my blog today is about questions, designed to enhance your question asking skills.  Asking the right questions provides advantages: You’ll be a better listener. Listening is an interpersonal skill that is just as important as talking.  A conversation needs two people; it’s not just two people volunteering information and moving the air.  If you can ask a question after someone stops talking, it’s a sign that you were listening and understood what was said. You’ll improve your relationships. This will apply especially to the men in relationships.  Asking questions will both allow you to avoid talking when you don’t want to and make your partner feel loved (Ask me about my day, please!). You’ll know yourself better by engaging your curiosity.  Figuring out what …

Mating in the Modern Era: Attraction, Advantage & Lies

In part two of Mating in the Modern Era, I’m discussing the ethics of attracting a fit partner! In part one, I discussed choosing “fit” partners, meaning someone who is evolutionarily well-adapted for modern survival. Human beings use deceptive techniques to attract a mate.  This isn’t unique to our species; all animals do this.  It’s important to understand that evolution sanctions highlighting our best features and hiding our defects.  Evolution tells us: Each human being should maximize his evolutionary interests by attracting a “fit” partner.  But have human beings created game-changing circumstances that raise ethical issues about attraction and advantage? Is Attraction a Game of Deceit? The current concern is that body modification is unlimited.  Even brain chemistry and hormones can be modified, too. Plastic surgery can alter appearance beyond recognition to create a fresh identity.  The ethical issue of intentional deceit raises some questions:  1)      What do we alter in order to present a more attractive image? Are all these areas fair game? 2)      Even if intentional deceit is sanctioned by evolutionary needs, is body alteration …