Posts Tagged ‘disappointment’

The motivational value of emotions (and why emotions get suppressed)

November 14, 2015

My notes (on which the video lecture is based):

When do people have an issue with certain emotions that they label as negative? For a person who has been trained to inhibit the social display of certain emotions (out of terror of social punishment), then there will be an anxiety about showing certain emotions.

Instead of relating to fear as a motivating force to use caution and assess risk and then avoid any actual dangers, some people relate to fear as socially shameful. They don’t want other people to know when they are afraid and so they don’t want people around them to display fear (because that might resonate with them and trigger a surfacing of their own suppressed insecurity). They fear a social recognition of their fear. They are paranoid and anxious, but attempt to hide it.

Instead of relating to disappointment as a motivating force to assess the purpose of one’s own actions and then to assess the effectiveness of one’s own methods and producing those results and then perhaps updating one’s methods, some people also relate to disappointment as shameful. They don’t want other people to know when they are disappointed and they don’t want people around them to be disappointed, so they attempt to protect them from disappointment.

Why? They do not want to be punished for disappointing others and, once again, they don’t want displays of disappointment in their midst because that could resonate with their own buried disappointment, causing their own disappointment to surge to the surface. They fear a social recognition of their disappointment. They are paranoid and anxious, but attempt to hide it.

Instead of relating to anger as a motivating force to recognize one’s own interests and boundaries, finally, people may relate to anger as shameful or negative or disruptive. Anger, just like fear and disappointment, can certainly be disruptive. That is what it is for, right? When someone is ashamed of anger, they do not want to draw attention to themselves and become targets of social bullies who seek to discourage anger with punishment, through guilt trips and ridicule and harassment and of course the organized violence of armed soldiers, as in gangsters, police, armies, and other operations for governing humans through coercion.

Systems for social conditioning conduct rituals to promote shame and compliance in their targeted population of potential human resources (and to minimize or eliminate disruption to the rituals of social programming). In other words, they want to operate their systems for governing humans with the maximum amount of efficiency.
considering the military capacity of various systems that govern humans through coercion, we can respect the intelligence and appropriateness of the ability to inhibit the display of socially targeted emotions such as fear, disappointment, and anger.

We can also respect the rare case of people who seem to us to be safe as witnesses of our full range of emotions. Because of their demonstrations of discretion and perceptiveness and gentleness and communication with others, we made confide in them with comfort and an open trust. For many people, the distress of their paranoia and anxiety will result in them experiencing increased repulsion in regard to communicating with those that they see as unsafe or immature. In contrast, the magnetic appeal of those who demonstrate maturity and trustworthiness maybe, at least temporarily, so disruptive to their normal patterns of inhibiting their own emotions that they recognize their own internal instability and then have a new challenge of finding an appropriate pace for their interactions with the person or people that they find distinctively mature and trustworthy in regard to revealing their own tangles of emotion.

They may wish to drop everything to devote themselves to interacting with that person or those people. They may resist the magnetic attraction that they experience (like resisting by distracting themselves with old familiar habits of socializing and internal dialogue to generate justifications for any emotions that they experience as frighteningly disruptive). They may make their own practices of paranoia and anxiety all the more simple, ironic, and obvious (which serves to help them see it for themselves for what it is, similar to a snake gradually shedding a layer of skin).

Expectation, presumption, disappointment, and learning

July 24, 2015

As long as one knows that expectations are merely expectations, there is actually no disappointment when an expectation is violated. There is just the recognition that the expectation did not fit reality. Or, even if there is disappointment, it is momentary and of no lasting importance.

What is actually the bigger issue is presumptions that we do not recognize as presumptuous. If we presume that something WILL BE or that it ALREADY IS, that is not the same as expecting it and watching for it to eventually develop (probably). Presumptions lead not only to disappointment, but to terror that if one unrecognized presumption is wrong, we may have others.

So, the presumptions lead to confusion, shame (about the confusion), panic (about the shame), and frustration (about the results that come from the behavior of panicking). Unmet expectations do not lead to confusion and so on. Expectations do not lead to suffering.

In fact, disappointment is not even a form of suffering. Disappointment is just the relaxing of a prior hope: “aha, oh well, no!”

However, with presumptions, especially programmed presumptions, we can “take a position against reality.” We can be so terrified of social punishments that we display loyalty to programmed ideals of “what should be” and “what should not be”… such that we speak of presumptions as if they are actually expectations.

We may participate in public school linguistic rituals of “confusing words with objective reality.” We are trained to complain if expectations are not met. “I expected my wife to cook me EGGS, so now based on that so-called expectation, I will throw a tantrum.”

The cooking of eggs was never an actual expectation. It was purely a set-up to justify a display of rage.

The confusion was not a result of whatever the wife cooked instead. The confusion was pre-existing (and was programmed through the curriculum of “ritual abuse” at the public school).

Boredom and beyond (to getting what you value most)

June 18, 2015

Boredom: it is a state of mild discontent. Let’s explore what boredom means. Are you curious?

There can be an element of frustration when bored, right? What if there is frustration and an interest in a lasting diversion from the frustration, but no engaging diversion?

What if there are unmet needed and unfulfilled interests, plus a sense of being suppressed? If someone just has unmet needs, then they explore meeting them. They would not remain bored.

When someone complains of boredom, they may have some unmet need (or curiosity) plus a sense of being socially inhibited (prohibited from pursuing their interests or even talking about their interests). The complaint is an initiative for a new social interaction. “Entertain me! Show interest in me!”

When people want relief from boredom, they want relief from a mild state of distress or anxiety. Boredom is not the same as being relaxed and content and alert and open to new things. Boredom is even a type of mild grief or fear.

Does someone experience a social context of safety to explore their interests? Is there encouragement? Is it general to any interest or specific only to certain interests (with other interests being ignored or condemned)?
Are others curious about their interests or interested in suppressing their interests? Are people encouraged to identify all of their interests or are certain interests (and certain methods for promoting their interests) emphasized?

It is natural in childhood to encounter a variety of social dynamics. Some people share your interests (such as your favorite TV show etc). Some people are trying to mold your interests (parents, teachers, advertisers). Some people have interests that conflict with yours (like siblings who want a parent’s attention or opponents in a card game or a sport).

When we complain of boredom, are we testing someone’s interest in us? How important is it who we  complain to?

If I am bored, then I can pursue new social interactions. I can look for opportunities to meet new people. I can initiate new conversations.

I can begin by saying “Hi, I am not aware of any interests of mine that I am comfortable directly stating.” I could even say, “I have some interests but I am not comfortable directly stating them, so I am about to say something that interests me in the hope that you will respond favorably to that test subject. I call it a test subject because it is actually not a primary interest of mine. In fact, as for the whole idea that I am interested in interacting with anyone in general or you in particular, I plan to deny that emphatically if accused.”

“I am looking to start a conversation but without openly saying why. Maybe I am clear on some of my interests and maybe I am so anxious that I deny having an interests. Maybe I so crave social collaboration that I present myself as someone who does not have self-interests. Maybe I am so interested in social interaction and partnership that I say self-interests are problems and what we all need is to be more focused on certain social issues. However, of course those social issues are important to me because I perceive that they fit with my self-interests.”

I want to initiate. I want to assess the response of one or more people. How open are they to interacting right now in general? How open are they to whatever subject(s) I raise?

Maybe I want to create opportunities to vent repressed emotions like rage or grief or fear or delight (attraction). Maybe I have been attracted to outcomes that I have been trained to keep secret or deny or ignore. Maybe I have been trained to be socially anxious (timid, shy, ashamed).

Maybe I want to explore human interaction itself. Maybe I value conversations and communication in general. Should I pretend that I don’t? Should I pretend that I am totally independent and self-reliant and satisfied?

Should I protect other people from my own displays of disappointment? Should I suppress disappointment out of social anxiety for the possible consequences?

Boredom is an indication of unfulfilled interests- even a sense of fear about directly stating the interests and the lack of fulfillment. How open am I to developing clarity about my interests and identifying fitting methods for fulfilling those interests?

Being occasionally bored is common. If I am in a boring interaction, can I say so? Do I have the sense  of security to voice boredom (unsatisfaction)? If not, then what can I do to promote my security as a first priority and then also promote whatever other interests are unfulfilled.

If I am jealous, can I appreciate my attraction to something that I do not have? Can I recognize boredom as having an aspect of repulsion to something that is present? Can I respect that others may be insecure and wish to suppress certain interests of mine?

Maybe I can help them get their needs met so they are not threatened by mine. Maybe I can pursue my interests
in a way that does not disturb them (that avoids attracting their attention in a way that distracts me from identifying what I value most and getting it).

Accessing core interests: Why do people say “I’m afraid of disappointing you?”

June 12, 2015

I’ll start with a casual example, then we will get to the subject of core interests as well as secondary interests like a fear of disappointing others. Note that “fear of disappointing others” is never a core interest, but could be a shield or protective layer to preserve a core interest without exposing it to social scrutiny.

Here is the example about what is really going on with disappointment. If 3 people go bowling, who will have the best time? Will a higher score produce a better time?

At the end of the first game, the one with the top score can be disappointed that they did not do better (and may be anxious and frustrated almost the whole time, except for occasional relief and elation). The one with the worst score can be pleased with their results and delighted every moment of the way. So, depending on underlying motivations, the measured results may or may not produce interest or satisfaction or fulfillment. We can keep score without being anxious about the score, right?

If you were the 3rd person bowling with the other two, who would you prefer to give more attention? Unless you were a professional bowling coach (of a professional bowler), you might choose to generally ignore the grumpy jerk and just focus on the person that is more fun. Or, maybe you care so much about the grumpy jerk that you “give them a time out” and respond to what simply may be calls for high-quality attention.

They may start talking about their score and how important they know that bowling is to you. You might interrupt them. You might even say that you know that their whole commentary about disappointing you with a low bowling score is NOT a test of your response to them. You might play along and say that you care VERY deeply about their bowling score (and that you KNOW that they do, too). Then, you might give them an awkwardly long hug and apologize (VERY deeply) for being so desperately ineffective as a sarcastic brat.

So back to the 3 bowlers and their scores, we know that disappointment is not just about results. It is about our interests and motivations. If I prefer to clown around and even intentionally get a low score in a bowling game so that someone else can celebrate their victory over me with me, then that is a very different motivation than obsession about being competitive as a bowler. Unless I am seriously pursuing a career in professional bowling, the ultimate difference between scoring 300 or 200 or 100 in a game of bowling is not 100 or 200… but zero.

In fact, it is even possible to go bowling with someone just for the social aspect of the experience. Maybe we do not even keep score.

So that was my quick example. What did you learn so far from it? Next, here is some background analysis to learn even more.

First, how open am I to experiencing grief (mine or someone else’s)? How open am I to displays of grievances (as in other people’s anger toward me or mine toward them)?

Grief and anger are signals that an important interest is not satisfied. The method that is not working is probably of no importance. Forget what clearly did not work, at least for a moment. What is the underlying interest (behind the unsatisfying method) and what would work to fulfill that guiding interest?

If someone says they are afraid about disappointing me with a low bowling score, they might really be afraid of disappointing me. Maybe they are using bowling to introduce the subject of them disappointing me. They might even directly say “I am requesting that we communicate more about expectations and motivations.” That is quite direct and healthy, isn’t it?

Back to various signals of an unmet interest, a primary procedural issue is whether the power of the emotional display (such as crying or sending a dramatic text message) actually brings social attention as desired. People do not communicate except to draw social attention and guide it, right?

When experiencing “negative” outcomes (like anger, frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion), it may be clear to the person experiencing the outcome what interest is not fulfilled. However, especially with “surprising frustrations,” there may be layers of avoidance mechanisms to untangle before the core interest is clear to them (or anyone else).

So, let’s dive in to the process of accessing the core interest. If some method (or set of methods) is not working for me (to produce the results I need), then there are two primary ways that things can go. In short, either way I will experience grief (disappointment), whether that is sooner… or later.

First, the more open that I am to experiencing grief, the more likely I am to just complain about the results I have been producing. I lay no blame (or not for long). I just display my lack of satisfaction. I may even make jokes about my clear lack of satisfaction.

So, as I display my experience openly, I notice my dissatisfaction and then I stop what is not working (and perhaps soon explore new methods). If I had expected a particular method to work and it does not, then I am not only unsatisfied but my hopes were disappointed. The hopes were too high (as in naive).  I did not know until I knew.

All that is quite common. The more open that I am to noticing dissatisfaction and disappointment, the better I can perceive those signals to adapt. Note that dissatisfaction and disappointment are simply signals to adapt.

However, sometimes I may be less open to those signals. At least occasionally, many people for whatever reasons may be unable to recognize grief quickly and then adjust. They may be “too busy” to slow down and pursue improved effectiveness. As a result of their current methods, they may be “too stressed” or “too anxious” or “too exhausted” or “too overwhelmed.” They may even be avoiding a primary interest by sabotaging their energy (draining it on familiar distractions).

Think about the logical consistency of saying that they are too exhausted to slow down and find better methods. They do not have time to find better methods of managing time (or energy, etc). If they just had more time, then they would love to explore time management, which they admit that they need, and maybe they will eventually. If they are only temporarily exhausted, it certainly is possible for circumstances in life to “settle down” and in mild cases (not severe), then it is reasonable to wait for a possible “accidental” source of relief.

But even if relief comes (“a break”), what then? How important do we make time management (and an underlying issues like staying clear on our core motivations)?

What can be expected if someone persists in methods that exhaust them? They may experience frustration, blame, contempt, and then perhaps a big enough crisis that they panic. However, the innovations that people choose in a panic may be much less favorable than when they slow down, catch their breath, and calmly review alternatives (and predictable results).

So, why would I ever say to someone that I am afraid of disappointing them? That can be a signal of perceived dependency or desperation. If I perceive that I desperately need their approval and collaboration (as distinct from the approval or collaboration of someone else), then it makes sense to anxiously avoid disappointing them. Note that the “fear of disappointing someone” is also known as anxiety or paranoia.

If I depend on them, then I do not want to display my own disappointments to them either. I do not want them to flee or explore alternatives. Plus, I may anxiously attempt to avoid displaying my concerns or fears.

But if I notice my disappointment and display it openly, then I am doing so because of my interests and motivations. If I hide my disappointments, then I hide my interests and motivations.

Why would someone be afraid of their interests and motivations? Because to recognize them exposes us to our own disappointment (as distinct from saying things like “well, that is just boring” or “oh sure no everything is just fine”). Why is that relevant? Showing disappointment could get us in trouble socially. So, anxiety and paranoia are the habitual outcomes that we produce.

How do we learn that showing disappointment could get us in trouble? A short answer might feature the words “during childhood.” If we ever were punished for displaying disappointment (like “I will give you a reason to cry”), then the trauma of that can result in chronic physical tensions to block the display of the emotion of fear.

Note that disappointment is a form of fear. We are never really disappointed about the past. We are disappointed about what a particular past event means to us about our future.

If 3 people go bowling, the one with the top score can be disappointed that they did not do better (and may be anxious and frustrated the whole time with occasional relief and elation). The one with the worst score can be pleased with their results and delighted at the experience.

Disappointment is not just about results. It is about our interests and motivations. If those interests and motivations continue in to the future, then there are two possible outcomes from an unsatisfying result: disappointment (which is fear about the future) or acceptance.

Disappointment is not the same as acceptance. With disappointment, I remain anxious about the future because I have a background of exhaustion plus an interest that I have no idea how to meet (or know of no method that appeals to me).

So, there is a low-intensity panic. I may feel the energy in my solar plexus sink (like “having the wind knocked out”). I may even feel nausea and vomit.

When I have been anxiously hiding fear about the future, and then my pretenses are exposed, that is disappointment. When my desperate hopes are crushed, the underlying desperation remains and is exposed.

My method for hiding my desperation and exhaustion has failed. So, my fear is out in the open. I may be ashamed. I may withdraw. I may even lash out in blame and displays of resentment (which are signals to others that I have unresolved or unexamined issues like a lack of strong social bonds that I do not “own”).

When disappointment is visible, then the old fear (of not meeting a particular need) is still there and that underlying fear is now subject to exploration and observation. I have two basic ways to proceed: I can remain open with others while my fear is present (which involves courage and humility and trust, plus certain kinds of interaction from them) or I can keep them from noticing my fear.

To hide it from them, I could hide (flee) or I could remain with them but hide the fear. I could fake or freeze or distract or deny. I could even distract from the root of the fear by saying “oh it is just that I am afraid of _____.” I may admit to small fears (or even claim to fear things that I do not really fear) as a way to distract from the real interests in the background.

Many people could say “it is always best to display the fear bravely.” However, if that is always best, then why do the other options exist?

Is it wrong to be desperate while pretending not to be? It is just one way to operate.

Part of the terror about disappointing others is the idea that others may recognize elements of pretense. If others recognize patterns 0f possible pretense in me (not just error or confusion but intentional deception), then I might expect criticism or punishment. I might expect to crumble under the pressure and break down in grief and admitting to exhaustion.

Why is admitting exhaustion such a concern? If I value certain aspects of what is familiar, then I might habitually preserve the familiar rather than risk losing any of it.

When there is a background of barely-suppressed distress, I may want to avoid the social vulnerability of displaying it. After all, I suppress displaying it because I am pretending to have less social vulnerability / anxiety than I actually experience.

That is THE core pretense / core issue in the background. Social anxiety goes with a lack of satisfying social bonds. But if I display any lack of satisfaction with current social bonds, people could withdraw. So, there is the familiar trap / tangle. I am not satisfied with my current reality, including my social momentums, but the only people that I already know to share the dissatisfaction with are people I already know… and what if they are also compulsively hiding their own dissatisfaction?

Will they condemn my expression of dissatisfaction? Will they betray me or abandon me? If I perceive that I currently lack strong social bonds, then the possibility of abandonment (or even condemnation) will likely be a big concern for me. People who perceive that they have strong social bonds are not paranoid about expressing their own dissatisfaction (or about hearing about the dissatisfaction of others, even disappointment relating to them personally).

I pretend that I am not anxious. I am anxious because I am not as satisfied and as well-adjusted as I would like to be. To maintain the pretense, I either do not pursue fulfillment or only very privately.

If I am not confident, then hiding my lack of confidence is the only option that avoids openly recognizing a lack of confidence (which then opens me to opportunities for developing confidence). What if people share my experience and my interests and then even suggest simple opportunities for greater satisfaction?

Showing interest in increased effectiveness implies current dissatisfaction. So, I pretend not to be interested in effectiveness (and in the confidence that comes from repeated effectiveness).

High-quality communication allows for me to safely recognize specific habits of avoidance and pretense. High-quality communication allows for me to form and nourish strong social bonds. Effective communication is like watering the seeds of healthy relationships.

Without high-quality communication, social bonds may be “thin” (needing constant physical presence and signals of validation, like hugs). For very young children, social bonds are still growing (thickening), so they naturally start thin. Without learning to speak and then to effectively communicate, the social bonds may endure, but will never “blossom.” For someone to be able to form new social bonds throughout life in to adulthood, the skillful use of language is extremely useful.

So, a lack of social confidence may involve a relatively low level of competence in the use of language. Lack of social confidence is a social issue, but can also have medical factors. Is there a demon that possesses someone and results in weak habits of social bonding? There is no such demon (even if a licensed high priest insists that there is). However, there are neurological factors in the use of language, including stress hormones in particular and emotions in general.

How effective am I at forming strong social bonds? One factor is my social circumstance (where I live, how much prosperity I control, plus access to existing contacts, etc). At least in extreme cases, another obvious factor is neurological development and neurochemistry (including things like being alert or well-rested).  Those two (social circumstances and neurology) may be rather obvious.

What about this other issue though? Is it also obvious that how well I use language is also a factor in my own satisfaction with the social bonds that I experience? Do I blame others obsessively? Do I withdraw and then fixate on “that one new social bond that can solve everything?”

As I develop more competence at high-quality conversations (including with adults), then I am more likely to be relaxed about forming new bonds. I can form one new bond. I can form several.

I am not avoiding the disappointments, unmet needs, and shames of prior social bonds. I am not pretending to be constantly satisfied (as in “content” or “happy”). If I am not currently satisfied, I know it. I may not display it in the same way to everyone, but at least I am aware of how satisfied or well-adjusted  I am (as signaled by my own emotions).

In particular, I am not avoiding my needs or interests. I am open to my motivations. I am not terrified of them. I am not anxious to bury them. However, I may respect that they can be powerful and intense and complex, so I am attentive to the pace of any exploration I make in to accessing my core motivations and unleashing them.

I “own” that I have motivations and that they may not all be met (or even clear to me). Maybe I value disappointment as a signal of an unmet need. However, maybe I have been terrified of disappointment.

If I was terrified of other people displaying disappointment (like some men who are actually repulsed by movies with crying), then I would have withdrawn from situations in which I perceived someone else to be willing to openly display their motivations and their level of satisfaction. If I perceive my own social bonds to be desperately weak, then I will be anxious about other people getting angry at me. I was terrified that I might be abandoned. I was desperate.

In a case like that, I would have been open to remaining in situations that did not work exceptionally well for me, but that did seem to work better than whatever alternatives I perceived. I may have intently explored alternatives (perhaps discretely or even in total secrecy). If my social bonds are not clearly satisfactory, then I may even trigger “little outrages” in others to assess their level of devotion (tolerance) and also to attempt to distract them from issues that could trigger outcomes that I consider “potentially catastrophic.”

I would lack confidence. I would be shy. I would not be secure and assertive. I would not develop more assertiveness (or only rather slowly).

I would avoid the issue of unsatisfied needs. I would avoid displays of dissatisfaction. I would be uncomfortable around open displays of unsatisfied needs.

Contrast all of that with a healthy mode. If others are angry with me (disturbed by me), I want to know. With priority relationships, I seek to identify the source of anger and get unmet needs met. With low-priority relationships, I am interested in outbursts of contempt (even not directed at me) as signals for me to withdraw.

In a healthy mode, I value the disappointment of others and myself. I naturally ignore the disappointment of anyone who does not interest me. Otherwise, disappointment can signal to slow down, clarify focus, and refine methods. There is an underlying fear of an unmet interest and I value meeting it reliably.

When latent disappointments build up, there may also be frustration to resolve and exhaustion to remedy. Note that the ultimate solution to exhaustion is not to suppress motivations or fears. As always, identify what outcome is a priority, then establish relevant methods, then prioritize and proceed.

Exhaustion is a signal that something currently being done needs to be delegated or discontinued. Efficiency (as in time management) will be highly valued.

Or, if the label of exhaustion is just being used as an excuse to hide something else, then the social assertion of exhaustion could work as an avoidance mechanism. People may even respect the signal’s message without raising the issue of the signal’s “precision.”

Imprecision is part of communication. For instance, I may say “I value time management.” That statement is a “social display” and may or may not be precise. Why would I say it? To whom? Do I actually invest time in my own introspection and planning or not?

We may want to know if specific other people are suppressing frustration, disappointment, or motivation. We might assess that by displaying specific “dramas” (probably quite sincerely / unconsciously) and then noticing their response (if any).

Of course, we would only be interested in knowing about others if we were in some way interested in them for our own motivations. Do we consider someone a possible ally in regard to a secondary motivation? That is one level of interest. Do we value someone as a prospective partner in regard to a core motivation? That is a greater level of interest.

Do we look to someone for high-quality conversations? Then we might also be interested in noticing how they interact with others.

Are we committed to healthy social bonding? If so, then we must be willing to loosen or sever social bonds that are notably unhealthy (as in draining or even exhausting).

Do we complain of discomfort around someone? If so, what do we do about it besides complain? Once the pattern of repulsion is clear, do we respect the signals of our own emotional responses? Is the respect sudden and decisive (like a total cessation of interaction) or do we temporarily compromise the urge to pull away (or push away) so as to withdraw slowly? Maybe other core interests are served by a slower withdrawal, right?

Every pattern of behavior has relevance. That is why each of them manifest.

Want to know what is going on for someone? Observe them. The functions of their behavior (the underlying motivations) can be recognized in time.

If someone is threatened by observation, that is not unusual (and signals a sense of social vulnerability). Observation can be withdrawn, done secretly, or “owned.”

My attention to other people can be thought of as a gift that some people will recognize as a gift and then greatly treasure, others will not notice at all, and some will flee from in terror. It is good to notice how different people respond to attention and how their responses can change.

Why do I look? I look to see. There is no other reason to look.

J.R. Hunn
480 265 5522

How much should you agonize about how to avoid disappointed expectations?

November 16, 2014

The idea that one would be better off completely avoiding disappointment is… delusional. Disappointment is an important part of the learning process.

Further, the idea that one has the capacity to prevent expectations is also delusional. We can say “I expect that once I completely prevent myself from having any expectations, then I will avoid disappoint.” However, that is an expectation (making it ironic) plus it is delusional and certainly will lead to disappointment and all of that is perfect.

The following ideas are some foundations of intelligence:

capacity to perceive
– to form sensations, to filter those sensations, to focus on particular data (like how the eyes can change focus between near and far objects), to organize the selected data, & form perceptions out of the sensory data

capacity to perceive contrasting qualities and form complex 3-dimensional patterns

capacity to perceive 4-dimensional patterns (patterns of change over time)

capacity to recognize a familiar sequence and project a possible future

capacity to experience confusion (or disappointment, etc) and recognize that a false presumption or misinterpretation has been made

capacity to re-calibrate based on identifying presumptions, questioning them, and then making new observations to refine the capacity for pattern recognition

(all of those lead to the capacity for language, which are symbolic sequences of sounds and/or of written shapes)

capacity to recognize symbolic patterns, such as this sequence of 2-dimensional shapes on a screen

Idealism, perfectionism, disappointment, blame, rage, etc

December 2, 2013
Symbol for the Enneagramic type " Perfect...

Symbol for the Enneagramic type ” Perfectionist” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Satan chastising mirror

I think that other people should not be so ashamed of themselves. I really just do not get it how they are like so ashamed, you know?

No, no, I am NOT frustrated. Listen to me for once, okay? I did not say that! I hate it when you always analyze me every time I am shouting at you like that is some kind of a big deal to you. Look, I am just saying that they SERIOUSLY need to stop being ashamed before, um, before it is TOO LATE….

I mean, what if they start to over-react? What then? Have you even THOUGHT of that? What if they start being all DRAMATIC for no GOOD reason?!?!

I mean, what are people going to THINK of them if they are ashamed about themselves the wrong way or for the wrong reason? What happened to all of the loyal perfectionists anyway?!?!

Critically Ashamed

Critically Ashamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where can I find a REAL perfectionist these days? I’ve been looking around for someone WORTHY of the title of perfectionist and I have been FORCED to conclude, despite my absolutely heroic optimism on the subject, that no one is truly DESERVING of the title of perfectionist. What a HUGE disappointment this whole idealism thing has turned out to be!

English: perfectionist measuring and cutting grass

English: perfectionist measuring and cutting grass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Science Project 1974

Science Project 1974 (Photo credit: The Rocketeer)

Satan shaming the mirror

Inspiration, idealism, frustration, and maturity

November 12, 2013



Inspiration is innate. We do not need to learn it. However, we can be trained to focus away from what inspires us. We may be distracted.

We may notice that all around us are powerful social influences. Certain people and groups have guided our attention and our behavior.

In our families, schools, and churches, we may be trained in various forms of idealism. Idealism means a specific model or pattern of how to relate.

Idealism organizes what we expect, what we respect, what we reject, what we value, and how exactly we respond to whatever we first notice and then value. So, we have all been exposed to these programs. The programs organize our lives, governing our experience. They systematically direct our values and our interpretations. They govern what we display, including what we may pretend to be.

The importance of idealism

Why is all of this important? Idealism can lead to us repressing some experiences and even rejecting them completely. We may numb ourselves to huge ranges of our own experience. What if instead we were suddenly respectful of all of our experiences?

Note that idealism has already trained us in what to respect as well as in what not to respect (or even to disrespect or reject). We respect certain things more than others. For instance, which do you respect more: the current laws where you live now or the laws that used to be dominant a few thousand years ago in a location far away from you? Do you give more respect to your native language or to a language which is foreign to you and totally incomprehensible?

Idiota identificate idioma idiotica.” (To the one who is ignorant, everything unfamiliar will be labeled nonsense. What a fool in the dark does not perceive or comprehend, they may even claim cannot exist. They close their eyes to relax, to cope with their fear of the dark and what horrors may be in it.)

A new respect

So, here are two realms that we could respect now (which we may not have been respecting already). First, we could respect the systems which have influenced our experiences. Second, we could respect all of our own experiences which we have been rejecting (perhaps even some experiences that we have been rejecting so completely that we might be totally ignorant of them).

Once we recognize that there are systems that have been influencing us, we could respect the various systems which have influenced our experiences. We can begin to notice the extent of their influence.

Have you ever noticed people investing huge amounts of time and energy in to ferociously competing with each other over which idealism is ideal, glorifying one ideal and condemning all the rest? It can be exhausting just to witness.

What if we respect all systematic programming of idealism as fundamentally similar? What if we respect the programming of a variety of ideals? The diversity of conflicting idealisms can lead to masses of people polarizing in to opposing concentrations of fanaticism. These opposing factions of idealism may erupt in to animosity, rivalries, feuds, and wars.

Respecting condemnation

All of those behaviors correspond to the experience of feeling threatened, as in insecure, as in afraid. Of all experiences that are systematically repressed and condemned, the condemnation of fear may be the most common.

Of course, condemning itself is a frightened behavior. The condemning of condemnation is the logical extreme of irony (and hypocrisy).

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Respecting the full range of emotions

We can categorize human emotions in to two basic groups: emotions of attraction and of repulsion. Further, we can consider a spectrum of inward and outward variations, like emotions of withdrawing or retreating as distinct from combative emotions of aggressively repelling. These “fight or flight” responses are both frightened reactions.

Among the emotions of attraction, there are receptive or inviting emotions like gratitude, delight, and enthusiasm, but also more assertive or aggressive emotions of attraction like inspiration, lust and greed. Some emotions are considered more masculine or more feminine, as well as more encouraged or discouraged.

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Respecting frustration

Notice that frustration is one of the most conflicted of emotions. There is an interest in a possible outcome, then a sense that the possibility has been frustrated. A particular method had been identified in the hope of fulfilling the interest. However, after investing energy in to that method, the results have not been fulfilling but disappointing.

There is an interest, a hope in a method, an investment in to that method, and then a disappointment. But there is more to frustration.

Frustration is not mere disappointment. In the case of mere disappointment, there may still be a sense of calm and curiosity. If the initial interest is still a priority, then the curiosity will result in the exploring of other methods besides the method that was disappointing.

Frustration implies not only disappointment, but fear. There is a fear of failure present- a recognition that the interest might not be fulfilled. However, even with the disappointment and fear, there is also a distress. That distress is the conflict of being afraid and disappointed, but also being afraid to admit being afraid and disappointed.

When someone is frustrated, they may say things like “I wish this was working, but it clearly is not, and yet it really SHOULD!?!?” There is an element of confusion in frustration that is not present in disappointment.

Respecting confusion

What could be the source of the confusion that frustrates us? Could we be confused because of respecting an ideal which we have been trained to value and defend, but which is clearly inconsistent with our own direct experience?

Idiota identificator omniscient, humiliati!” (The one who is ignorant and claims to know everything, they will be humbled.)

It can be stressful to pretend that an ideal is realistic when here is extensive evidence contradicting a particular presumption or ideal. Such a pretense can lead to intense frustration.

“How do I advance my own interest without discarding an old model which I do not want to admit might be obsolete? I could keep trying what is obviously not working! I could complain loudly and hope that someone cares enough to come and rescue me from my confusion and distress. I could have a tantrum of frustration!”

Respecting tantrums

“I should NOT be frustrated! It is not that my ideals are idealistic. My ideals are self-evident, which is why I desperately avoid reviewing the original logical process which led to the forming of my sacred, self-evident ideals.”

“So, I will viciously ridicule or even physically attack anyone who questions my ideals. I will blame them for my frustration. I will have a tantrum, and then another, and then finally some more tantrums, all along blaming other people for annoying me with their attention and their unfamiliar perspectives, which they should have kept to themselves, especially if I directly asked them to share. They deserve to be the targets of my abusive tantrums of self-righteous, justified frustration.”

“By the way, I am NOT frustrated. I am not in distress. I am not in hell. I’m a very happy person! I was always totally happy until THOSE people came along and frustrated ME by witnessing the disappointment that I desperately am afraid of admitting is present.”

“Things should not be how they are. Things should fit my sacred idealism. I do not feel guilty for questioning my ideals because they are self-evident and I do not doubt them at all. In fact, I resent anyone who suggests that I might have ideals clouding my perception.”

“My ideals are the very best ideals in the history of idealism. I might admit that everyone else says the same thing, too, but they only say that because all of them are naively sincere, while I am clearly heroic in my loyalty to my ideals which are definitely not obsolete now because they never will be. My ideals are eternal. Everyone else’s ideals (unless they agree with mine, of course) are temporary and passing and idealistic. My ideals are the best. That is why I am always so happy and never ever frustrated, you know, like all of those other people who are so negative that they condemn contempt and so on. Don’t you just hate people like that? They are just SO dramatic, right? Plus, they could really use some more sincerity. By the way, naïvely sincere loyalty is in no way connected to frustration. So, in conclusion, because I do not deserve to be frustrated and because I should not ever be frustrated, therefore I am not now and never have been. Seriously, do NOT question me on this!”

Respecting terrified ill will

There are many social institutions designed to measure the spectrum of mental health or mental illness in a governed population. Those who demonstrate certain remarkable behaviors are likely to be identified and regulated (such as medicating them to subdue them or immobilize them).

I consider many emotions to be behaviors. Agonizing is an activity. Frustration also requires activity to escalate the original disappointment in to a full-blown tantrum of distress.

When we think of emotions like delight or rage, we can also think of facial expressions and physical gestures. However, all of those may be the results of a more subtle form of behavior: linguistic behavior.

English: Emotions

English: Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Respecting maturity

Recall that social institutions train us in what to value, what to repress, and what to pretend. We are trained in how to relate to our experiences in regard to how we label sensations and organize them in to perceptions.

What portion of reality do we perceive? A tiny fraction. With all of the sensations available to us, we filter out the vast majority of them and then focus on certain details as “important” and then organize those important details in to our experience.

How does one shift from the experience of frustration to maturity? First, one must admit to having had the experience of frustration, plus consider how it could be important. Without recognizing the importance of frustration, there would be no interest in learning from the process of frustration. There would be no distressed discontent to drive us toward maturity.

Maturity involves being perceptive of frustration and of idealism. The more precisely and quickly that I can identify frustration and idealism (in others but also in myself), then the more mature I am.

What is the distance between me and inspiration? There is no distance. Frustration arises only because there is an underlying inspiration which has been frustrated.

What has frustrated our inspiration? Idealism about how we should be and how we should not be serve the function of repressing certain inspirations and encouraging others.

Respecting social institutions

Will there ever be a social institution which does not repress certain inspirations and promote others? Will there ever be a social institution that does not bias people and train them in what to respect, what to reject, what to pretend, and so on?

What if the sole purpose of social institutions was to influence or govern human experience? What if my attention has been influenced? What if my behavior has been influenced?

Is this something to hide? Is this something to be ashamed of? Is this something to pretend is impossible because it conflicts with a social ideal that I may have been worshiping in idolatry?

Embracing maturity

Those who are open to frustration and grief (as in disappointment) have a remarkable opportunity. Because they are not terrified and ashamed of fear, frustration and grief (as in disappointment), they have a unique perceptiveness and clarity.

They are like people who are beginning to open their eyes as they live amongst a culture whose eyes are closed. Their advantage over the masses may be enormous. They may perceive things sooner and much more precisely than the masses.

They may accurately assess opportunity and danger, rather than rejecting all perceptions of danger in a hysterical, paranoid, new age panic of “anti-fear condemnation.” They embrace balance, rather than pretend that there is such a thing as a one-sided piece of paper. (In fact, they simply reject the idea that there SHOULD be such a thing as a one-sided piece of paper.)

Further, they may value the contrary opinions of others, at least occasionally. They may value interaction with others who are mature and respectful and insightful. They may seek out such interaction and divest from what is not working well in order to explore more attractive opportunities.

What is your interest in such conversations? What frustrations are you willing to release? What threatening idealisms are you willing to stop condemning, if only for a moment so you can pause to close your eyes and relax?


Grief, grievances, and the courage to forgive

August 9, 2013


English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: A disappointed person

English: A disappointed person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Life can be considered a series of perceptions and responses. For instance, when I experience a sudden decline in my interest to continue doing something, I can call that disappointment. That can lead me to discontinue or pause old patterns of behavior. That disappointment may lead to an openness to exploring new behaviors. IN short, disappointment is the process of a shift toward the conserving of energy (such as toward rest and introspection).




One possible “response” to the experience of disappointment is the intentional refining of perceptiveness. I may be so disappointed that I get very curious and suddenly begin to invest my attention in verifying the accuracy of my perceptions and even in refining the precision of my perceptions.




Contrasting with disappointment is excitement. Recall that disappointment is simply the process of a shift toward the conserving of energy (such as toward rest and introspection). Excitement is the opposite: the arousing of stored energy to be available for investing in to a pattern of action that is already familiar. When some specific action is perceived as a possible source of new favorable experiences, there is an excitement that brings conserved energy to a ready alertness to for increased activity.








Next, a notable mixture of disappointment and excitement is fear. Sadness is mere disappointment, but when combined with a perception of a threat, then reserve energy is aroused for heightened alertness and such responses as fighting, fleeing, freezing, and faking (which can all be methods for avoiding a perceived threat). 




Further, the specific form of fear called “fighting” is generally known as anger. That includes physical fighting as well as verbal aggression such as yelling, shaming, punitive lawsuits, and other efforts to respond to a perceived threat by returning an even greater threat (terrifying the target, frightening them, shaming them, punishing them).




So, disappointment mixed with excitement (such as the excitement of an intense embarrassment over a public disappointment) can lead to other responses. These may include the terror of a jealous rage, or of tenacious character assassination, or the safer distance of gossiping about how one’s own identifying as a victim allegedly justifies a lasting contempt and resentment and obsession about the one(s) vilified (those identified as villainous). The source of the grievance is always grief (disappointment).




English: Disappointment after funeral

English: Disappointment after funeral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




In many ancient spiritual traditions, there are numerous warnings that vilification is a normal response that people can expect to experience. Persecuting perceived heretics for exploring spirituality is the natural reflex of those who perceive a particular exploration of spirituality to be a threat to what is familiar to them.




Perhaps the most terrifying of all spiritual teachings is the teaching about the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is when someone simply recognizes the validity of the terrified reflexes of disappointment, of a frightened excitement about that disappointment, then of a terrified raging of jealousy and contempt and ill will so on.




Rather than return ill will, one who is not experiencing the perception of an immediate threat can simply recognize the natural human responses of rage (which is a form of excited terror, which is a form of disappointment). By focusing on the root of disappointment (and with empathy for the experience of disappointment leading to terror and rage), it is simple to recognize the attempt to present a threat, then just forgive it.





As We Forgive

As We Forgive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Forgiving the threat does not necessarily mean ignoring it, but there is no automatic need to vilify the threat, nor to retreat. Rather than respond in confusion at “how could anyone ever experience a perceived threat and respond with such intense upset,” one can accept what is present without condemnation.



Harassment is simply noticed as harassment. It can be responded to in a variety of ways: a lawsuit, a warning, or even simply an apology.



I understand that it can be frightening to face the possibility that one’s prior perceptions were imprecise or even totally inaccurate. It can be frightening to face the simplicity of the grief without an addictive dis-association through vilification (through the identifying of one’s self as the pity-deserving victim and of some other as the one who was solely responsible for the disappointing results).



It can be frightening to accept that blame is simply one of many possible behaviors. If blame produces disappointing results, there are really only two logical alternatives: stop displacing responsibility through habitual blaming or… continue the habitual blaming in the hope for new results to the same old behaviors, to one’s own investments of energy.




Once there was an athlete who was not hired back by the team that recruited the athlete for a single season. The player was then called a “Free Agent.” Soon, the old team issued warnings to any other teams that showed interest in that player. Why?



Could it be that there was some concern that maybe the player would perform well with some other team? Could it be that the old team was more concerned about the imagined embarrassment of their former team-mate performing well than about developing their own skills or recruiting new talent? Could it be that creating a grievance is a method of coping with grief (or even with a sense of guilt)?



David Gray Please Forgive Me US promo single

David Gray Please Forgive Me US promo single (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



If there is anything even more frightening than forgiveness, perhaps it is grief. In contrast, anger and rage and contempt and ill will are things that people will go out of their way to cultivate, like seeking out people who agree with their justifications for their terrified raging argumentativeness and madness and animosity. For more doses of terror, even horror movies offer people the cultivation of fear, which may also be valuable as a way to avoid grief (like rage).



However, sad movies (“tragedies” and “dramas”) may be perceived as very dangerous threats. Not only can they produce tears, but forgiveness, gratitude, and even laughter. That kind of vulnerability may be perceived to be a major threat, especially in public.




So, what ever happened with the free agent and the old team-mates? There was drama. There was disappointment. There was forgiveness. There was peace of mind.



Most people agree that the movie was not as good as the book. The movie version was clearly a creative work in regard to how to put the book on to a screen, but whatever criticisms we may have of the movie, it did bring new fame to the book, leading to rumors of the writing of a sequel.



Some critics of the movie said that if a sequel would ever be made, it was sure to be a disappointment. Isn’t it interesting how sometimes some people focus so much on the possibility of disappointment?



They may obsessively condemn the past as a disappointment, then blame a villain for victimizing them. It is almost like they are slowly approaching the possibility of no longer practicing a terrified rage of vilifying their own past, and instead just grieving over having ever had some hopes that were not fulfilled (at least not yet).



Is it ever threatening to experience a new hope? What would be terrified of hope? Is victimhood the most heroic way to champion happiness?



Don't Want to Forgive Me Now

Don’t Want to Forgive Me Now (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Once, I was not happy but disappointed. Can you even relate to that at all? Could you ever forgive someone for being disappointed, for being scared, or for being angry?

Well, what else is there to forgive people of?!?! Being happy? Being grateful? Being mature?



Forgive people of practicing resentment. Forgive people of displacing grief. Forgive people of jealousy. Forgive people of obsessing over the past. Forgive people of perceiving threats. Forgive people of “growing up” and then forgiving you long before you forgave them. Forgive them, yes, of being happy, being grateful, being playful, being hopeful, being


a former team-mate or a free agent.



Forgive them of experiencing all of the things that ever disappointed you. Forgive them of ever experiencing disappointment, grief, or grievances. Forgive them of being present for a part of your life that you might prefer to avoid accepting for a bit longer (as too disappointing, too terrifying, or too enraging). Forgive them of perceiving a future champion in the one whom you perceive as (and label as and relate to as) an eternal victim: yourself.




Once upon a time there was a champion who had never been disappointed. No, just kidding.



The experience after rage, after terror (after the perceiving of a major threat), and after disappointment is… courage. There simply is no courage without grief. There simply is no champion without disappointment.






the sacred partners of desire, expectation, disappointment, frustration, blame, relaxation, & learning

October 26, 2012



I propose that your desire is sacred. Desire and inspiration and enthusiasm are similar labels for similar things.


Colt McCoy


From desire, a curiousity arises spontaneously to explore new actions with hope. If any activity begins to show favorable results, then hope can lead to expectation. Things may go very smoothly and easily, but not always.


English: A disappointed person

English: A disappointed person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Expectations are sometimes unfulfilled. Disappointment may arise. Feeling disAppointed or discouraged is a fear about the future- like a future Appointment that you were counting on has been cancelled- a disAppointment.




disappointment. (Photo credit: DeeAshley)


Disappointment is actually not a big deal usually. However, you may be afraid of showing disappointment because of a fear of being condemned or attacked. Maybe other people were expecting you to produce certain results (maybe they pressured you or had hopes and desires for you). Maybe you are afraid that they will be disappointed by your results and then will get angry and condemn you, blame you, punish you.


So, if there is a fear of openly experiencing disappointment, then, rather than withdraw to the possible safety of privacy to grieve, instead, the same methods may be continued. If there is still some desire and some hope, then more activity may be pursued- perhaps even more earnestly, energetically, and anxiously so as to be insulated from expected criticisms. That persistence or insistence may lead beyond mere disappointment to frustration and even a panic of desperation.


Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244)

(Photo credit: Sybren A. Stüvel)


In a panic of disAppointment and desperation, frustration can become so intense that it leads to blaming someone for (allegedly) causing the frustration. The target of an overt blame will always be someone who is perceived to be safe to blame- perhaps someone very physically distant or even a group of people far removed in space and time. Note that no one ever openly blames someone that they are terrified of arousing or disturbing. Of course, there can still be  a private resenting.


Two people in a heated argument about religion...

Two people in a heated argument about religion when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University. Click the audio button found above and to the left to listen to them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Now, you may be afraid of directly showing anger (as in frustration), because you may want to be polite not rude (to be safe not condemned/punished). Caution may be very intelligent as in safe. Because of such an intelligent resistance to showing frustration, rage can build up and then burst out. Ironically, rage can be even more dangerous.


However, could rage be a signal that you have been using a method that does not fit with your desire? Could blame be a signal that you have been using a method that does not fulfill your desire? Could disappointment be a signal that your methods have not fulfilled your inspiration?


Again, I propose that your desire is sacred. Your inspiration is sacred. Your enthusiasm is sacred.


Because of all those are sacred, so also is everything that leads out of them. Your disappointment is also sacred. Your frustration is sacred. Your blame is sacred. Your rage is sacred. However, your old methods are not sacred.


Produce Vendor

Produce Vendor (Photo credit: La Grande Farmers’ Market)


If certain methods that are already familiar to you are only bringing you disappointment, frustration, blaming, and so on, then it may be time to relax from your old methods. Every method fits perfectly to produce exactly one outcome and only in the appropriate conditions. What if you do not want the results that an old familiar method has been producing in a particular situation?


Relax! If you recognize that you are inspired to produce something else that those old methods do not produce, then consider that inspiration is… holy. Let inspiration and desire lead you to new methods, to new refinements of familiar old methods, to wherever the divinely intelligent Will of God is directing your attention now. For those who are terrified of such spiritual language, then let your enthusiasm and curiosity and passion lead you however your instincts flow.


sacred dog

sacred dog (Photo credit: Sophs74)





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