Category Archives: Psychology

Wearing Black

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My EP from 2005. This picture is from our photo shoot in the Castro in 2002. Chuck Butter and Liz Rose

Black is almost all I wear, honestly. I’ve often wondered why this is the case. Most of my friends wear nothing but black. What’s going on? I like what this article has to say:

“Colors excite our minds in various ways, and how we react to some of them can tell a lot regarding our personalities.

One study states that black is seen as ‘serious’ and ‘reliable,’ which means confident:

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The study states: “Black is Best Most of the Time.”
“Throughout all our survey, black came first or second in most “good” traits (for example confidence, intelligence and sexiness) and barely figured in the “bad” traits (arrogance). It wasn’t a particularly good performer in the “generosity” scale, however, coming second to last after brown, but it’s hard to imagine is being any other way. Try getting your kid to sit on the knee of a black-clad Santa.

Benevolent nocturnal visitations aside, black is the colour to wear when you’re trying to impress, reassure or woo. There’s a certain trustworthiness about it on a person that would make you hand over your life savings and thank them for the privilege.”

More from Maria Hakki:

“Black is generally an indication of “seriousness” and reliability”, so it stands at the top of the list of colors that both sexes find beautiful.

Why?

The answer is simple. Confidence. Almost half of the women and 64% of the men participating in the study think that black emits self-sufficiency. It is the most beautiful, bold, confidence-boosting and calming color that exists.

Those who wear all black are also usually very sensitive, a bit unstable, and want to draw attention on who they are and what they are trying to achieve in life, rather than on their appearance. Another study stemming from color psychology, says that people who love black often have a desire to reclaim their power.

Johnny Cash said: “I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion – against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.”

 

 

Hell and back

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“Lost” by Charles Bukowski

they say that hell is crowded, yet,
when you’re in hell,
you always seem to be alone.
& you can’t tell anyone when you’re in hell
or they’ll think you’re crazy
& being crazy is being in hell
& being sane is hellish too.

those who escape hell, however,
never talk about it
& nothing much bothers them after that.
I mean, things like missing a meal,
going to jail, wrecking your car,
or even the idea of death itself.

when you ask them,
“how are things?”
they’ll always answer, “fine, just fine…”

once you’ve been to hell and back,
that’s enough
it’s the greatest satisfaction known to man.

once you’ve been to hell and back,
you don’t look behind you when the floor creaks
and the sun is always up at midnight
and things like the eyes of mice
or an abandoned tire in a vacant lot
can make you smile
once you’ve been to hell and back.

“Lost” by Charles Bukowski, from Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

Fallon, Hart & the terrifying baby ostrich

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OK this is hilarious. Who knew Kevin Hart was so terrified of wild animals… even a baby ostrich chirping happily in Robert Irwin’s arms (yep that’s the late Steve Irwin’s son)!

It’s been an intense week for all of us, and Pluto (major purging), is stationary Direct this weekend, so here’s my attempt to lighten the mood a little! I hope you enjoy this and laugh as hard as I do when I watch it!

Intimacy

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“We can let ourselves be close to people.

Many of us have deeply ingrained patterns for sabotaging relationships. Some of us may instinctively terminate a relationship once it moves to a certain level of closeness and intimacy.

When we start to feel close to someone, we may zero in on one of the person’s character defects, and then make it so big it’s all we can see. We may withdraw, or push the person away to create distance. We may start criticizing the other person, a behavior sure to create distance.

We may start trying to control the person, a behavior that prevents intimacy.

We may tell ourselves we don’t want or need another person, or smother the person with our needs.

Sometimes, we defeat ourselves by trying to be close to people who aren’t available for intimacy – people with active addictions, or people who don’t choose to be close to us. Sometimes, we choose people with particular faults so that when it comes time to be close, we have an escape hatch.

We’re afraid, and we fear losing ourselves. We’re afraid that closeness means we won’t be able to own our power to take care of ourselves.

In recovery, we’re learning that it’s okay to let ourselves be close to people. We’re choosing to relate to safe, healthy people, so closeness is a possibility. Closeness doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves, or our life. As one man said, “We’re learning that we can own our power with people, even when we’re close, even when the other person has something we need.”

Today, I will be available for closeness and intimacy with people, when that’s appropriate. Whenever possible, I will let myself be who I am, let others be who they are, and enjoy the bond and good feelings between us.”

– The Language of Letting Go

different relationship needs of men and women

This is so insightful about men’s and women’s different needs in relationships… what do you guys think?

 … from alarajrogers

 

“Oh my God this actually explains so much.

So there’s a known thing in the study of human psychology/sociology/what-have-you where men are known to, on average, rely entirely on their female romantic partner for emotional support. Bonding with other men is done at a more superficial level involving fun group activities and conversations about general subjects but rarely involves actually leaning on other men or being really honest about emotional problems. Men use alcohol to be able to lower their inhibitions enough to expose themselves emotionally to other men, but if you can’t get emotional support unless you’re drunk, you have a problem.

So men need to have a woman in their lives to have anyone they can share their emotional needs and vulnerabilities with. However, since women are not socialized to fear sharing these things, women’s friendships with other women are heavily based on emotional support. If you can’t lean on her when you’re weak, she’s not your friend. To women, what friendship is is someone who listens to all your problems and keeps you company.

So this disconnect men are suffering from is that they think that only a person who is having sex with you will share their emotions and expect support. That’s what a romantic partner does. But women think that’s what a friend does. So women do it for their romantic partners and their friends and expect a male friend to do it for them the same as a female friend would. This fools the male friend into thinking there must be something romantic there when there is not.

This here is an example of patriarchy hurting everyone. Women have a much healthier approach to emotional support – they don’t die when widowed at nearly the rate that widowers die and they don’t suffer emotionally from divorce nearly as much even though they suffer much more financially, and this is because women don’t put all their emotional needs on one person. Women have a support network of other women. But men are trained to never share their emotions except with their wife or girlfriend, because that isn’t manly. So when she dies or leaves them, they have no one to turn to to help with the grief, causing higher rates of death, depression, alcoholism and general awfulness upon losing a romantic partner.

So men suffer terribly from being trained in this way. But women suffer in that they can’t reach out to male friends for basic friendship. I am not sure any man can comprehend how heartbreaking it is to realize that a guy you thought was your friend was really just trying to get into your pants. Friendship is real. It’s emotional, it’s important to us. We lean on our friends. Knowing that your friend was secretly seething with resentment when you were opening up to him and sharing your problems because he felt like he shouldn’t have to do that kind of emotional work for anyone not having sex with him, and he felt used by you for that reason, is horrible. And the fact that men can’t share emotional needs with other men means that lots of men who can’t get a girlfriend end up turning into horrible misogynistic people who think the world owes them the love of a woman, like it’s a commodity… because no one will die without sex. Masturbation exists. But people will die or suffer deep emotional trauma from having no one they can lean on emotionally. And men who are suffering deep emotional trauma, and have been trained to channel their personal trauma into rage because they can’t share it, become mass shooters, or rapists, or simply horrible misogynists.

The only way to fix this is to teach boys it’s okay to love your friends. It’s okay to share your needs and your problems with your friends. It’s okay to lean on your friends, to hug your friends, to be weak with your friends. Only if this is okay for boys to do with their male friends can this problem be resolved… so men, this one’s on you. Women can’t fix this for you; you don’t listen to us about matters of what it means to be a man. Fix your own shit and teach your brothers and sons and friends that this is okay, or everyone suffers.”

 

What self care really means

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Excellent insight about self care. I often advise people in my practice to abide by H.A.L.T.S.: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sick. If you have any one of these needs, address it immediately before making big decisions.

But there’s more to it!

Check out this article by Brianna Wiest:

This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake

 

“True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to escape from!

…and that often takes doing the thing you don’t want to do.”

“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do: like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore, or get a second job so you can have a savings account, or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time…

It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires, it is letting go. It is choosing NEW. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.

It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.”

https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2017/11/this-is-what-self-care-really-means-because-its-not-all-salt-baths-and-chocolate-cake/

Do this when you feel icky

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“What Science Really Says About Negative Emotions.

Pretending unwelcome feelings don’t exist isn’t helping. Here’s what to do instead:

by Shelby Lorman.

Source.

Ever been told to smile when you’re feeling down? While there’s science to support the idea that forced positivity can temporarily boost your mood, convincing yourself that you’re always happy may do you more harm than good, according to an insightful piece on Quartz by Lila MacLellan. Research suggests suppressing your less-than-pleasant feelings can harm your psychological well-being, and that accepting them is a better option.
Acceptance isn’t about making peace with your negative emotions: the “magic of acceptance is in its blunting effect on emotional reactions to stressful events,” Brett Ford, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, told MacLellan. Ford added that over time, acceptance of negative emotions can lead to “positive psychological health, including higher levels of life satisfaction.”
How and why this happens isn’t exactly clear. But Ford’s recently published research (in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) offers some insights. The research is from a few years ago, when Ford was a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. She and a few other Berkeley researchers designed a three-part experiment in hopes of learning more about the link between acceptance and psychological well-being. The participants were from various socioeconomic backgrounds and races, and included people who had dealt with major and minor negative experiences (think the difference between losing a job and losing track of your keys).
Ford and her fellow researchers found that people who were more accepting of negative emotions (MacLellan calls them “habitual acceptors”) like anger or anxiety had reduced feelings of ill-being, something backed up by previous research, and were more likely to have better well-being. MacLellan notes that “accepting dark emotions like anxiety or rage won’t bring you down or amplify the emotional experience. Nor will it make you ‘happy’—at least not directly.” Instead, acceptance is linked to overall “better mental health when it’s used in response to negative emotions, not positive ones,” MacLellan writes.
Ford hopes her research can improve future mental health treatments, which “currently rely on some approaches that fail people,” she told MacLellan. “When something happens and you try to reframe it like, ‘Oh it’s not such a big deal.’ or ‘I’m going to learn and grow from that,’ it doesn’t necessarily work,” Ford said.
Bad experiences are inevitable. But if we only let in the positive emotions, we’re less equipped to deal with the rollercoaster ride that is just part and parcel of being alive. “People die in our lives, we lose them, if we have only been accustomed to being allowed to have more positive thoughts, then these realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen,” according to Svend Brinkmann, a psychology professor at Denmark’s Aalborg University quoted in the piece.
Part of the challenge of acceptance is that it runs counter to our culture’s expectation to be happy all of the time. We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Ford told her that “some companies want their customers and employees to be delighted all the time. That’s unreasonable, and when we’re faced with unreasonable expectations, it’s natural for us to start applying judgement to the negative mental experiences we have.”
This probably isn’t helped by the fact that social media today is awash in well-curated and filtered frames of positivity. While a quick mood boost might feel great, continually suppressing our own negative emotions in favor of feel-good things only sets us up for a “striving state of mind,” according to Ford, which is paradoxical to finding peace and acceptance.
The good news is that acceptance can be learned. You can start by thinking of “your emotions as passing clouds, visible but not a part of you,” MacLellan suggests. Next time you experience a negative emotion or feel pressured to smile when you’re really not feeling it, remember that, as Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”
Read more on Quartz.