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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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bird poops on plum branch
First thing: Relationships

Maggie pointed out this really long article the other day about how the relationships we have with other people are a projection of the relationship we have with ourselves. That's the first sentence of the article, and really, the only sentence that article needed (and the only sentence this post needs too, but here I go). It's one of those bits of wisdom that we will all nod our heads to and agree with, but it's difficult to fully understand the implications of it. If only we could tattoo knowledge to our souls rather than stamp them on our wrists.

Our relationships with other people are projections of the relationship we have with ourselves. When I get frustrated with someone for not taking responsibility for something, it means that I am really frustrated with myself for not taking responsibility for something. And therefore, when I get frustrated with someone, the way to fix the frustration is to address that same issue with myself. It leaves the other person out of it entirely, and leads to work for myself rather than work for the other person. Our relationships with other people are projections of the relationship we have with ourselves.

Second thing: Complaining

I've been having trouble sleeping because I worry too much. And it's been making me more complain-y during the day. I hate when people complain and (by the rule above) I hate when I complain. Other things that our on my hate list which are all really the same thing: people feeling sorry for themselves, people feeling like victims, people saying derogatory things about themselves, people seeking pity, people with low expectations, and people who expect the worst all the time. I'm angry with these people. Of which I'm one. So rather than complain about how I have to put up with these people, and how I feel like a victim of these people, and to seek pity from you for having this tough life that I have, and expecting people to of course be like this all the time, I'm going to stop. No more complaining from me. Cold turkey. While I'm at it, I'm going to lose 5 pounds.

Third thing: Self-medication

I self-medicate worry with anger. And I self-medicate anger with eating and not exercising. But why does it have to be that way? There are disorders on the other end... people who self-medicate anger with anorexia and crazy exercise. So can I switch self-medications? Just how easy is it to switch self-medications? I think I can do it, and not be unhealthy about it. Here's me saying I am. Ask me how many pounds I've lost in a month. Tell me when I'm complaining in a month. I give you a lifetime license to hold me to my word.

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wait a second... if we are against unhealthy self-medication, then why are we opening a bar, again?

moderate drinking and healthy social networks have been shown to increase longevity and quality of life.

what about the consuming of dog hair? ;)

naah, i'm just sayin', unhealthy self-medication is not necessarily something that needs to be stopped completely, along with getting angry and complaining. those things should still be allowed.

you can't let complaining take over your life, obviously, but wtf w/cold turkey? LIVE BIG BENSEN. why don't you only allow yourself to scream complaints instead? no more of this quiet grumbling. SCREAM, goddamnit.

i just had a dream about all of us McLeods at a water park. we were in line for the wussy slide, and then we saw the weintraubs all geared up for the big scary slide. then they r0x0r3d us. hmmm.

no, no, i love the weintraubs. we just need to step it up is all. i mean, dream-wise. heh.

can you think of bigger dreams than your own country, complete with CREDIT UNION?!

for lolz, wtfs, and kelly clarkson of course.

i read that article too and while i think it makes an interesting point, i also don't think that ALL situations in which you might be upset w/ someone's actions are necessarily a manifestation of things you are unhappy with about yourself. i'm not certain that it's that simple...i've actually been thinking about that article alot lately, trying to wrap my head around. but i do agree with the basic idea it's trying to convey and it's an interesting thing to think about when relationship stuff comes up, huh?

these points are all important and good to keep in mind. it's so hard, though, to try to keep yourself in line without going the other direction and becoming completely self-loathing. self pity is such an easy trap to fall into.

sorry about the whiny kids all over your face yesterday, and it's too bad we couldn't go out to eat together. you looked so sad and puppydog-ish!we've been going out far too much lately and are poor. next time!

it's so hard, though, to try to keep yourself in line without going the other direction and becoming completely self-loathing.

yes! i know!

i think it's important to remember that you are the creator of meaning etc, that it's up to you to find the positive side of life... i feel like i'm good at these things, but also: i feel like i'm good at removing myself from the sort of toxic people that make me feel bad too much of the time. i thought that was the point: that we're creating our new family, that we get to choose our new sisters and brothers, and that those are the people who help us feel like the sort of strong people who can change the world. if you just take all the loathing for other people and turn it upon yourself, that can't possibly be good. i like to take some loathing and see where i'm directing it and then go away from it. if you force yourself to loathe, then you're right back where we started, then i might as well have stayed in irvine living with my mom and stepdad. har.

absolutely! about 5 years ago i made a very conscious effort to stop allowing myself to be surrounded by negative, self-loathing people. i hate drama, i hate gossip (well, most of it) and i hate being around energy that brings me down when i have no reason to be down.

that's a big part of why i'm doing daily affirmations now. and taking my vitamins every night. and not smoking anymore. i'm in charge of what i do and who i spend my time with and how i react ot the world around me.

and buster, you were totally being whiny yesterday. perk up!

Yeah, I see your point. It tangles all cords. Tonkey best my friend. Boy pushing apple cart. And yeah, you know I'm a (not-so-)secret self-loather, but I feel like I'm better at managing self-loathing than external-loathing. One leads me to making drastic personal changes in my life, and the other leads me to not being able to sleep. And I'm not talking about any anger with you or McLeod or anything like that... it's a general response to stress. And I think you're right, screaming my complaints would be fun. AAAAAAH! THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN LINE FOR COFFEE!!!!!!

now that's the spirit. screaming is always more effective and satisfying than being grumpy.

i'm willing to wager that if you screamed more during the day, you'd sleep better. seriously, do it! NOOWWWWWW!

while reffereeing an arm-wrestling tourney last week i made the contestants scream while they wrestled. it was so amazingly awesome and cathartic, i screamed right along with them. of course the other patrons of the bar were a little annoyed, but fuck them.

re: general response to stress,

can we get an in-house acupuncturist? i think we really need one. i'm also considering 9am yoga @ mcleod? if we get enough people, we can all chip in to hire an instructor.

I think you can be critical and creative and resourceful and motivated without being angry at people. And that article talks about how grumpy people need a good boss, and takes advice from a guy who hires people for a call center. Grumpy people might make good monkeys, but that's not really our world. But I don't ever want to become a person who's always happy and content with everything either. It's a fine line.

i've noticed that when i get grumpy (especially w/McLeod stuff), all i really need is some alone time... and relaxation... and time away from McLeod. i think having days off is very important, because that'll get you rejuvenated for using the things you might complain about to turn into change and creativity.

last week (was that last week? i can't remember now) i was feeling grumpy and exhausted from all the events and meetings about events etc, and then i had my fun day around town w/paul rucker, and everything changed! he got me so excited about art and life and McLeod again. i think it all happened in one moment when were were running around fremont. all i needed was a change of scenery, really.

I'm just saying that I don't think complaining is necessarily a bad thing. I think it can be a good tool. Obviously we are no monkeys. I also think that you have a super sensitive complaint filter and sometimes you get in a mode where you interpret everything as a complaint, even if it was just a statement on something remarkable and not meant to be a supercranky grumble. You know, just because someone mentions their $80 electricity bill doesn't mean they are a failure as a human being. ;) It's just a statement and whether it is complainyness is your story.

Switching tracks, you should join me in Being Healthy! We can remind each other to order the salad instead of the potatoes. And share dishes instead of overeating. It will be fun.

Okay, I'll join Road to Health Fest 2007! Wee!

Yeah, I have a big complainy story in my head and that's why I've decided to make it my own deal instead of getting mad at other people who complain.

I can see the point in this article. I tend to hate and get frustrated by the people that remind me the most of our own failings and weaknesses, and love or become fascinated with the people that are exemplars or reminders of the things that I want to be. And while other people take part in presenting the situations that we react to, we, ourselves, invest the meaning into whatever it is that happens. One person's hero can be another person's fool.

But I have to go with lele's general perspective on this. Part of who we are is defined by conflict and frustration and hurt feelings and unresolved issues, and how we manage all of that. In these situations, we have two choices to deal with the stress: we can change ourselves, or we can change our environment.

But who is to say that one is better than the other? There are no answers, only choices. As long as we're doing something constructive and creative and meaningful to us, as opposed to something destructive and limiting, either approach can work. And there's nothing wrong with complaining, as long as it gets you to where you need to go.

I am saying that changing yourself is better than trying to change your environment... especially when the environment is relationships. How easy is it to change another person? And how harmful and them and the relationship is it to yourself to try and change them? The best we can do is lead by example, and see if that rallies more people to change themselves. At least, that's my choice.

So, what do you think the value of complaining is? Separate from trying to fix the problem (which doesn't require complaining).

As long as conflicts and confrontations aren't completely excluded from that strategy, I'm all for leading by example. Arguments and conflicts can be ways by which we define ourselves, our limits and our boundaries within a relationship. Messy, pointless conflicts, where no one ends up winning in the end, certainly aren't constructive in that regard. But neither is assuming that all of the problems in a relationship begin and end with us, though. At a certain point, we lose our sense of identity and self to other people if we constantly change ourselves to address the interpersonal conflicts we have and the environment that we're in. In our evolution, we always need to balance changing our environment to meet our needs and changing ourselves to fit local conditions. And hey, being annoyed and bothered every once in a while isn't a bad thing either.

But separate from trying to fix a problem, you're right... complaining has no value. Complaining without a purpose beyond complaining is pointless; it doesn't deal with the problem at hand, and it is probably just an attempt to get solace from the people around you. But it's what comes out of complaining that matters. If it gets yourself moving, or calls people to action, what's wrong with that? The ends should matter at least as much as the means.

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