Category Archives: Happiness

Wow! Where does the time go? :) A thought for today on choice vs. “making”

Hello again, and thank you to those who have stayed around to see when The Takedown would once again have a post put to it. Things have been a bit crazy on this end as I have been looking for work after getting my EMT certification, as well as dealing with some personal issues and life in general; but on the whole I won’t complain because I still have a home to live in, a family, and not the least of which, I woke up this morning!

My post today deals with something that we commonly do as people; namely blaming others for “making” us feel/act a certain way. I do it, I’m fairly sure anyone reading this does it – it’s a facet of our being human. It’s also something that is, at its base, untrue. Now before I go on, let me make one thing clear – I do not believe, and I believe it has been shown, that you cannot help your initial reaction to something. We don’t have that precise of a control over our emotions. You can, however, choose how you continue to respond to what was said or done, and that is where the distinction truly lies.

People don’t “make” us angry. We choose to be angry at what they’ve done, or what they’ve said, or how they’ve acted. They don’t “make” us anything, when it comes down to it. The responsibility for our choices, our ongoing feelings, and our reactions and responses to what happens around us lies with the one who looks back at us out of the mirror every day – US. (Or in my case, ME, since I don’t see any of you when I look in the mirror!)

There’s a popular post on Facebook that says “Clients don’t come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” The statement is attributed to Richard Branson. It’s nice, it’s simple, but it’s not true. It all comes down to the choices each one of us make, every day. If the reason you treat people “well” or “take care of clients” is because your company treats YOU well, may I respectfully submit that there’s a problem? (Consider my work as an EMT – if I only treated my patients well because whomever I worked for/volunteered with treated ME well, I would think there’d be a REAL problem, and right quick, too!)

I prefer this thought, myself – and I believe it’s much more realistic (although I would substitute the word “nice” with “kind,” because “nice” is a social construct – but I digress:

Kindness and Peace

It’s something to think about.

God bless today, my friends!

 

There are more kinds of glasses than “Rose Colored”

Most of us, I am fairly sure, have heard the expression that deals with wearing “rose-colored glasses.” In essence, the expression deals not with optimism or those people who are optimistic, but with excessive or unrealistic optimism. (Kind of like the difference between giving people the benefit of the doubt and the old joke about seeing the priest/pastor/rabbi coming out of the brothel and someone saying, “Ahh, one of the poor ladies must be dying.”) The comic that follows this one originally came from a collection that was created to show the shortcomings of modern “feminism.” However, when I read it, I realized that the same image could be used to illustrate something much more profound, if you will; namely the joy-sapping burden that so many carry with them every day that causes them to be perpetually angry and unhappy with how they perceive (operative word – perceive) the world. I’ll post the comic below, then follow up with my comments on it.

SQUzkps.jpg

As I read it, I realized that you could take that same comic and insert any of the outrage du jour “causes” that are around today, and have them apply just as well.

  • Racism? To the person who chooses to see racism in everything, it would have things like: “White guys enjoying what they got on the backs of black people” (Guy with the phone); “Why is the darker colored guy the only one working?” (Guy putting up the poster)
  • LGBT Activism? For those activists, it would be things like: “Denying her true feelings to ‘fit in'” (Woman with baby); “Straight couples obviously ignoring the gay man and excluding him” (the couple, talking, with the third guy sitting alone, looking at his phone)
  • Extreme, judgemental “religious-ness” (and I’m a professing Christian, so believe me, I’ve seen it.)? To the person who sees everything in terms of morals and self-righteous judgement of others, it would have things like: “Obviously either a whore or gave up on her marriage” (Woman with baby); “Shameful the way they’re flirting and trying to hook up in public” (man and woman talking on bench); “Disgusting poster, and that man putting it up so others can ogle it;” (man hanging poster)

And on, and on, and on…..

I think you get the point I’m trying to make. You may be saying, “Ok, then what’s the point? Where’s the encouragement? Where’s the Boot of Truth?” It’s right here. In each and every one of the examples given, the viewpoint taken is not only unrealistic, but it’s a choice. You can just as easily choose to NOT see the world that way as you can choose TO see it that way. IS there racism in the world? Of course there is. Unfortunate as it is, it’s a part of humanity, and it’s one that deserves to be fought. Does that mean that everything that happens to one group of people is a RESULT of racism? No, it does not. IS there misogyny in the world, and are there women who are treated unfairly? You’re damned RIGHT there is. (It’s a pity that so many of the self-proclaimed feminists are so vocal about how “horrible” it is here in the USA, and yet so dead silent on how women are treated in Muslim countries, and others, but that’s another post.) Does that make men universally evil, universally the enemy, and every bad thing that happens to a woman the result of misogyny? No, it does not. In each of those examples, an extreme stance has been taken – one that makes everything that happens a result of whatever it is you say you’re “fighting against.” It literally consumes you and alters your perception of the world and the people around you.

Friends, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There ARE legitimate causes in this world. There are legitimate injustices and evils to fight against. Each of us has a limited time on this earth, and we need to be careful and cautious about what “cause” we choose to give our time to. We also need to keep one of Nietzsche’s most famous statements in the forefront of our minds while we do:

“He who fights monsters should see to it that he, himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Whatever cause you fight for – whatever evils you stand against – don’t let that make you see them everywhere you look. Don’t become that extremist. Don’t let yourself be swept along by those who want to hijack a good, valid cause, and turn it into a hammer while anyone who doesn’t agree with them is turned into a nail.

Have the courage to stand and say “No. The ends don’t justify the means, and this is going too far.”

God bless, my friends!

 

“Change, and not a moment too soon!”

Hello all! I haven’t posted in the last short while but the reason has been a good one; I received word about a week ago that I have been accepted to begin a volunteer position with a local EMS ambulance corps. I have, as you may imagine, been busy with taking the necessary prep courses online, as well as getting my physical, being fitted for the necessary breathing filters and the like.

I am very pleased to have been given this opportunity, and am looking forward to being able to put my skills to use in serving and giving back to the community. (That phrase always sounds trite, to me; I wish there was a better one) Fear not, though, the blog will continue, and with my next post I will continue with my theme of giving my opinions and findings on various survival related/preparedness related gear.

Thank you for continuing to check out The Takedown, and keep coming back! It should be a wild ride, from here on out! For those that do, your prayers would be appreciated and, if you do not, your good thoughts and well wishes would be equally appreciated!

See you soon!

 

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed.

I wanted to take a moment to wish a very happy and Blessed Easter to all of those who read and follow my blog. It would be a pointless endeavor without you, and I am grateful that you are here.

For those who share my beliefs, I wish you a happy Easter as you remember the resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate on this day, and His unmerited mercy towards us in granting us the means to eternal life and forgiveness.

For those who do not, I wish you a happy Easter as you celebrate the day (hopefully!) with friends and family, and enjoy whatever plans you may have.

In all cases, it is my prayer and wish for you that whatever you may do, that you and yours would be blessed and safe this day.

God bless, my friends!

 

An encouragement that “You are enough!” courtesy of The Minimalists

Today did not start off well. I was already stressed from an outside situation, and began a conversation with my wife that in reality, should never have taken place at that particular time.

Yeah – stop laughing, any of you out there who are married and have done the same thing with YOUR spouse. You know where this is going. 

Predictably, it didn’t go well, and resulted in (a) my being even more stressed and (b) a sincere apology from me to my wife for being a knucklehead. (Or, as I said to her, “I knew better but did it anyway. You couldn’t have said anything right then that wouldn’t have sounded wrong to me.” Hey, it happens. I have feet of clay, you know? Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the fact that my wife doesn’t take a blunt object to me, sometimes? 😉 ) However, after she left for work, I sat and ran over it in my mind with an attitude of “What went wrong?” and I realized that an old enemy had sneaked back into the picture – one that I thought I had vanquished and sent screaming off, wailing on his way to rotting Hell long ago – Mr. “Let Me Explain!”  (cue dramatic music) 

…well, that sounded bloodthirsty, didn’t it? I’ve been reading the original Conan the Barbarian novels, and I think it rubbed off a bit. I digress.

The conversation had gone downhill because, to me, she had not “understood” where I was coming from and so I began to try and explain. The more I tried to explain, the more muddled it got. The more muddled it got, the more frustrated I got, and the harder I tried. The vicious circle came around and bit me square on the backside, and HARD.

It was then that I ran across this post, dealing with that very subject, which I now link here: http://www.theminimalists.com/explain/ What grabbed me, in particular, in that post were these two ideas:

1.The people who require an explanation probably won’t understand you, anyway. You can’t control what they think. (Emphasis mine)

2. The people who are close to you, important to you and understand you don’t need an explanation because they already get you – because you are enough.

It ended with a very freeing statement – “If you want to explain yourself, go ahead. It’s ok to do so. Just don’t feel obligated to. You don’t have to waste your time.”

Strangely enough, the more I looked into the subject, the more I found those same ideas expressed, time and time again. It hit home with me, mainly because I had dealt with this in the past, and then had gotten lazy and started doing it again. Friends, none of us, unless we are in a court of law, MUST give an explanation for our actions. (Though I would offer this caveat – if you’re dealing with your spouse, a law enforcement officer or your boss and they have a legitimate reason for asking, I’d do it. I’m not advocating arrogance, here.) The fact that someone doesn’t understand you, or what you do, or why you do it does not obligate you to MAKE them understand, or even try, for in fact you cannot do so. It goes back to not being able to control what others think. If they understand, then fine. If they don’t, then fine. Each of us is different. We are all on different journeys in life and, as such, there will always be things that we truly cannot understand about others, nor can they about us.

AND THAT’S ALL RIGHT. 

The Boot of Truth? You are not obligated to explain things to others, nor to make them understand. Be who you are. If you, like me, realize that you have a need/desire/want to always explain, always try and make sure others understand – take heart in the fact that you don’t have to, and let this be the first step. Do the research, do the checking, and free yourself. It may be painful, and you may lose people who aren’t willing to accept you as someone who sets a boundary and says, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t make you understand,” but in the end it will be worth it.

YOU are enough! 

God bless today, my friends!

 

 

An encouraging post to help us along

Some time ago, I became a follower of the painting style of the late Bob Ross. If any of my readers out there are not sure who he is, may I heartily recommend that you find some of his videos? Even if you are not a fan of his style of painting, his easygoing, smooth style and eternally happy way of conducting his show is a welcome breath of sanity in today’s world.

To that end, I present this video, done for PBS’ Digital Studios, entitled Bob Ross Remixed and featuring scenes and some of his best know “Ross-isms” from his show.

Here’s the video. Enjoy, and God bless.