LET yourself be happy – fight obsessions

Ah so much to say about happiness. If you believe it’s in your power whether you are happy or not, read on!

To let yourself be happy you must fight your obsessions. You must learn to “let go” “let be” and “let unfold”.

Let go refers to things you have or had that you obsess about. Learn to accept that everything has it’s time, be it a relationship, a job or an object. To let go of something, do think about the good sides as nice memories but consider also what negative sides there were. Maybe the object of obsession weighed you down or made you so comfortable you had stopped to learn and evolve. Think about the opportunities that will open up when you let go.

Let be refers to things you obsess about having. That one-night stand with your co-worker (your wife / husband will never find out) or that far too expensive bauble. Whatever it is – any joy from a forbidden experience will be fleeting while the bad feelings you will harbor toward yourself will be there to stay. And shiny objects – well, we crave them but once we have them we get used to them so quickly that they are not worth sacrificing for (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself with what you can comfortably afford).

Let unfold is about obsessive control and impatience. Save your energy to influence things you can influence when you can influence them. Train’s late? Take the moment of respite to think about something pleasant instead of obsessing about the lateness. Somebody is doing something for you – use the time that frees up to do other things rather than to shadow the other person and fretting about how to do things right.

If you master these three LETs, happiness will come so much easier to you!

All this is easier sad than done. I do know this since like all humans I suffer from the obsessions we try to counter here. But if you don’t say or think it – how will you ever train yourself to let yourself be happy?

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How we are all sexist and why we should stop

Why are we so obsessed with gender? We scoff at people determining individual identity by zodiacs, blood types and head forms but we don’t hesitate when someone says “well he’s a guy – I’m not surprised” or “well she’s a woman – they are like that”. I catch myself doing that as well!

Why is this so wrong? Well for once it’s sexist and thus discriminating. Please go back to the quotes above and replace “woman” or “guy” with “nigger”, “black”, “Chinese”, “American” or any other group – sounds disgusting, right? Also it hurts me as an individual – it denies me the ability to be an individual with a distinct identity if it is assumed that because I’m male I must and will behave in  a certain way. Also it serves as ridiculous excuse for a lot of behaviors such as  men fooling around (“men have needs”) women bitching and being unreasonable (“well I’m a women – I have needs”) or vice versa.

“Gender influences individuals – there are hormones and such – it’s scientifically proven!” some might say. Well, I don’t deny that at all – my argument is rather that we are overly obsessed with it. We confound statistical probability with certainty – e.g. it’s statistically likely that a man is stronger than a woman. But it doesn’t mean that all men are stronger than all women. Or it might be statistically likely that boys like cars – now let’s say it’s even as likely as 80% – that still makes millions who don’t like cars and thus renders the statement “boys like cars” WRONG.

The gender brain-washing-machine starts so early – in most cultures we have very clear ideas such as girls like dolls and boys like cars. Well, I found either very dull – I liked violent cartoons but I also liked baking. But it always warms my heart when I see that there are some efforts to let kids decide gender-neutrally what they want to play with such as in Sweden and even some individuals to go to extreme lengths such as this father in the US who rewrote the dialogues in Zelda giving Link a sex-change so his daughter could enjoy a game with a female heroine (yes, girls can like adventure, too). I’m not arguing to force kids into doing stuff they don’t identify with – I’m arguing our gender-attirubtion (“caring=girl”, “adventure=boy”) is at best outdated and we should raise individuals not stereotypes.

This is what I think happens. If you believe in free will your identity (let’s put genes aside) is formed by absorbing external influences and fermenting these observations with your free will to create your individual identity:

Forming individual identity

There are countless external factors from parents (did you have them? did they love you? what is their background and belief system?) to the country you grow up and your natural environment (being prone to be eaten by predators vs. cozy urban “everything’s a quick drive away”). And even your gender is there! Again if you believe in free will you take these influences and form your individual identity.

Host of factors influence our individual identity

Now the problem in our world is that instead of gender (with hormones etc.) being one factor that influences us we let gender infuse every last aspect of our lives. We add a gender-dimension to everything! This can reach an extent in which free will is pushed aside by the onslaught of genderized aspects thus simply copying generalized half-truths directly into our individual identity or more simply brainwashing us.

Brainwashing with gender obsession

This deeply rooted sexism is not only annoying but also deters us from becoming who we really are. So think twice next time you argue with “typically male”, “what do you expect from a woman”, “this position requires hard decisions – a man would be the natural choice” or “for this role we need to hire a woman because they are more emphatic”. It’s difficult – I know! We do it all the time – heck my mom does it and she would be horrified if I told her she was sexist. Still it’s worth our every effort to change!

Oh and if you are not swayed by the arguments because you think gender roles are “logical”, consider that it’s also logical that the sun circles the earth and it’s still wrong, And if you are in the “natural” camp – think about how “natural” reading and writing is and whether you would rather do without it to get back in touch with raw nature.

Why egoism is neither natural nor practical

I would like to talk about something I dislike: proliferated assumptions on how the world work that are WRONG, make no sense and are still believed by many.

Today: egoism! “It’s everybody on his own”, “egoism is only natural” or “It’s dog eat dog” – sounds familiar? Well it’s stupid.

Game theory shows us what happens in an ego ruled world: Take two players that face the choice of either doing nothing for the community (ego) or doing something for the community (altro). Say the choice is cleaning the shared flat. This yields the following matrix:

scenario matrix

Now let’s play this and say one of the players is altroistic (behaving unnatural so to say – maybe he fell on his head when he was little or his parents didn’t love him enough / too much – who knows?) but we live in an ego world.

altroism in an ego world

If either one player behaves altruistically he will soon realize that he does everything and stop doing it – so in an ego world even if there are some who try to be altruistic they will soon stop so the equilibrium is where nobody does anything and the apartment sinks into chaos.

ego world = dirty apartment

So while egoism can exist in our world it’s not “natural” or else nothing would work. But how do we get from the ego-world equilibrium to the optimum where everybody invests a bit into the community.

our world – you arrange for it to work

Well what IS natural is an incentive to behave altruistically. Clinical studies have shown that behaving altruistically makes us happy and nothing incentives us more than happiness. Yet as we must learn to read & write we must learn to cultivate this altruistic thinking.

There are two easy ways to approach this gateway to natural happiness. First, Buddhism. I can’t say anything about it since I have a deep aversion against religion. I like the ethics of it but then this goes for Christian ethics as well (and probably others if I would look into them). So if you want to go the non-spiritual path I suggest looking into MBSR – mindfulness based stress reduction, a non-spiritual approach to the 2.5k years old teachings of Buddhism that as mentioned above is scientifically proven to increase balance and happiness.

My spiritual guide (in the sense that I haven’t met him yet) is Matthieu Ricard – maybe he manages to click that button inside you, too:

Being Bi

I labelled myself bisexual or actually just “bi” but bisexual fit better – I am sexually attracted to men and women but not biromantic but rather heteroromantic as a man who so far only fell in love with women.

The first sentence sounds complicated on purpose (the spell checker doesn’t even know the last two classifications) since I hate labels but it’s a hate-love since it’s neat to have one word to describe a complex topic.

My wife knows from pretty much since when we started dating about my -ah- wide interest in mates and so do some of my closest friends. With that for me I usually tell myself I’m “handling” my let’s say excentric or uncommon sexual preference fine – no need to change anything. Yet, still when I thought about creating an anonymous blog to write about things important to me this was the first topic that came to my mind.

I never felt the need to “out” myself as bi but lately I fell like I’m in truth cravenly hiding part of me if I can’t say “that guy is cute” in any situation but first need to check that it’s inner circle people around me before saying it.

I realized from the onset of hormones that I liked both boys and girls and it never was an issue for me. I never considered the stupid arguments of such feelings being improper or unnatural since if I had them why shouldn’t they be natural. At that time internet was yet to be in our house and it was only by chance that I saw a b0ok that gave me a label for my feelings called something like “Bisexuality – twice ashamed” (that was meant in the sense of insecurity that comes with coming of age not in the sense that bisexuality was bad).

I tell myself that I don’t come out since sexuality is something private. But sometimes I wonder if it’s because there’s rarely positive association with bisexuality. The few comments I heard were usually along the lines “men cannot be bisexual – someone who says he’s bi is actually gay” or “it’s the worst for a woman to be with a bisexual men… well it’s ok if you don’t mind that he has constantly gay sexual encounters on the side” – and some of these comments were from what I considered well-educated, liberal and open-minded friends… so what can I expect from the general public?

So I’m still torn between coming out to more friends or leaving things as they are. I might have to revisit this topic in further posts.