If you see suffering, don’t feel sorry

I’ve straight up copy pasted that title from Maria here. I really enjoyed the blog post. I recommend reading all of it, but the tl;dr is this:

If you see someone go through a hard time, don’t feel sorry for them. It deprives them of agency. If you say you’re sorry, you’re saying they’re unable to deal with what is happening.

People are much wiser and stronger than we think. They have the power to use whatever challenge they’re facing as a tool for growth. The best you can do is to be their cheerleader. Say, I know it is hard, but I know you can make it.


Thoughts on Being Non-Monogamous

I suspect the title of this post might raise a few eyebrows. Even though I’ve been in non-monogamous relationships for the past 7 ish years, it’s often not something that comes up in conversation. We’re open about it, but given the contexts most people just assume that we’re monogamous. It’s the default position, especially if you have 2 heterosexual individuals who are married and identify as partners.

It’s interesting how actually prevalent non-monogamy is. Many couples have some sort of “loose” guidelines. For some, it’s just things like flirting, while others may have defined a hierarchical, non-hierarchical, or anarchy relationship model.

There’s something interesting that happens when you embrace non-monogamy. The required extra communication, the ability to talk about thoughts and feelings that are often taboo, having thoughts about someone else, wanting to flirt, feeling joy and excitement from being with others. These are all things that “regular” society says is bad. If you feel these things, then you’re doing relationships wrong. You then feel shame, disgust, or sadness at feeling them. You start to question your current relationship, even if it’s objectively great because well, if you feel those things, then surely something is wrong. This person can’t be “the one” if you have those thoughts or feelings.

It also brings about some introspection with regards to self confidence and jealousy. If you really start to dig down into it, often our thoughts, fears, feelings of jealousy, etc, are products of what we’ve been told are what makes “good” relationships. Clearly if our partner is enjoying being around someone else, that must mean we’re not good enough. Maybe we’re not “enough”, maybe they’ll leave us, maybe they were never that into you. If we examine it, I think we find that many of these are internal problems, problems with our thought patterns. If you truly have a good connection with someone, you should know, understand and be able to talk thru these things.

Many people make analogies to explain it. Just because I usually love vanilla ice cream doesn’t mean I won’t take chocolate once in a while. We can also compare it to our partner playing a video game by themselves or spending time with another partner. Would we be jealous of the video game? I would say no. (I can see someone saying that yes, they could be, and perhaps that is the case, but if so, I’d argue the video game is not the problem. If your relationship is so tenuous that spending time on another activity causes you pain, something deeper is probably wrong.)

If you want to learn more, this intro to polyamory is very interesting. There are also great books on the matter such as: Opening Up (There are also many others).

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments or send me a DM.

Is this the hill you want to die on?

Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a question I’ve been asked quite a few times. It’s a loaded question really, the implication is that if you don’t change your mind, you’ll “die”. That it would be foolish not to change your mind.

For me, it’s often a matter of principle. It’s about doing what I think is right, it’s about not compromising on ethics or values, or just not going along with ideas or plans I don’t believe in. It’s about being authentic.

It’s never as if you really die, the consequence really if often something the lines of not being part of a group, ending a friendship or relationship, leaving an organization, or leaving a job.

Maybe it’s idealistic or optimistic, but I think perhaps we should choose to “die” on hills more often.

Accidents causing death

There’s a very good opinion piece in the CBC about the driver of a semi that caused 16 deaths. https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/humboldt-driver-1.4972428

I feel like so many people judge quickly, but it easily could of been them. Momentarily distracted, changing the radio perhaps. We should try to have more compassion towards mistakes like these.

BikeShedding

One thing I often noticed in politics (as well as other environments where there’s classical management) is bikeshedding. You do a design for a report or for a landing page and suddenly everyone is a designer or a landing page optimiser professional. This is really well addressed by Seth Godin here:

you’d think that there’s a correlation between the last few hours of tweaking and the results that we get. […] For surface shine, 80% might be more than enough. After that, the tweaking is for us, not those we seek to serve. – Seth Godin

It’s all just a sinusoidal function

While the most recent time the thought that the world was but a sinusoidal function happened when reading The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’ but really it applies to pretty much everything. While that article is about the economics and while I only have enough history knowledge to know about the parallels to the early 1900, I’m sure there are many more throughout history.

At first (around when I was 15) I thought it was actually just a circle. It was quite depressing. Humanity on a grand scale and us as humans just kept playing out our own little circles. Much like in Memento we helped ourselves along the way. Giving ourselves the justifications for our future actions. It was all quite depressing.

A few years later, and perhaps as a defense mechanism, I started seeing things as a sin function. Yes we were in a loop, but it was one that was globally trending upwards.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – A few different folks, usually attributed to Martin Luther King (#)

Is one way I try to see it. While in this case it’s about humanity and helps me “accept” what’s going on in the world. (Just to be clear, I use the Buddhist interpretation of acceptance here, not resignation).

This is another one of those posts that I wish I had an answer. I wish I could close this with a straightforward answer to rally people around. An upbeat message. But I don’t have one. All I have is acceptance of the current reality and the part it plays in the greater picture.