Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … April 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: Did you ever see a three-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy treat each other differently?

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely not.

 

Dear Man: So you see, all these things that we are told are “instinctive” in the genders of our species are really instructed and nearly beat into us during our upbringing.

 

Dear Woman: Well, beat is a little strong.

 

Dear Man: Is it? Because my problem with men right now is that I feel it’s my responsibility to trick them, lie to them and ease them into situations of my liking.

 

Dear Woman: Likewise, I am informed that you are a ticking time bomb which I should be careful handling, or otherwise the whole mess will blow up in my face.

 

Dear Man: It makes us passive-aggressive. In other words, there’s something I want, but I have to cheat or deceive my way into accomplishing it, because I am not really convinced you have my best interest at heart.

 

Dear Woman: With all due respect, it is comically driven home to me that you couldn’t possibly be interested in what excites me, so I have to hide it from you to keep peace.

 

Dear Man: So here’s the question. Can we have a passive-aggresive relationship with each other, based upon dishonesty, and expect to ever enter the realm of affection, which includes trust?

 

Dear Woman: Hell, no. Candidly, I don’t trust you. I don’t believe you’re out for my best. I don’t think you have any desire to include me in your inner sanctum of truth, but instead, want to wheedle and deedle around my wishes just so you can have a dinner partner.

 

Dear Man: That’s a little strong. But I basically feel the same way–except I’m really wheedling and deedling to be able to say that I’m not alone and that I’ve fulfilled the American dream of being attractive enough to bag a partner.

 

Dear Woman: So if the system’s rotten, do we have to tear down the whole thing and start over?

 

Dear Man: No, I don’t think so. That’s too exhausting. I think we just have to make sure we don’t make the same mistake that Adam and Eve did.

 

Dear Woman: Okay. Elaborate.

 

Dear Man: Well, my understanding of the story is that Eve didn’t really agree with the instructions about what to eat in this Garden, but had no means of communicating with God–or the man she was with. So she went passive-aggressive. She took Adam on a walk, and they ended up at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and because she was dissatisfied and unable to share her feelings, she fell into a trap of being attracted to the beauty of the tree and the notion that eating that fruit would make her smarter. Honestly–nobody wants to be smarter unless they fear they’re dumb. Who made her feel dumb? Was it Adam’s silence after sex? Did she think God and Adam were in a club that did not include her? But if you read the story, Adam is with her the whole time–but passively aggressively pretends that it’s all her doing. So pretty early on, the human race began to act like the opposite sex was just that–opposite.

 

Dear Woman: I never thought of it that way, but it’s completely logical. So here’s what I get out of this. First, if I don’t understand, I should tell you I don’t understand and not be afraid that you’ll think I’m an idiot.

 

Dear Man: And if I don’t agree, I should be able to tell you I don’t agree without coming across like I’m right instead of just curious.

 

Dear Woman: And we shouldn’t assume that the other person won’t like something just because of the way they comb their hair.

 

Dear Man: Comb their hair?

 

Dear Woman: I thought of other things, but that was the most polite way to say it.

 

Dear Man: Passive-aggressive is when I think I can control you by withholding information.

 

Dear Woman: Withholding information is what we do when we want to be dominant instead of cooperative.

 

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Little is Big on a Bad Day … February 15, 2013

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Pictured above is the Miakka School House, a historical landmark which I photographed last night during my visit to the tiny community, which is strategically enclosed in the greenery and mushiness of Central Florida.

You might suspect that in person, the schoolhouse does not appear to be psychedelic. I have enhanced it. Some people would say I’ve distorted the image. Such is life. Rarely do we get a glimpse of an image in actuality before our minds take it over and attempt to either enhance it, or in a fit of frustration, distort it.

I will tell you this of a certainty–very few people have their lives ruined by a disaster–mainly because disasters are rare. It is much more likely to have your life altered, devastated or left barren by a little thing that is blown out of proportion than it ever is by being struck by lightning. The human tendency to take “little things” and make them “big” simply because “we’re having a bad day” is what renders us fearful, suspicious and often frozen–unable to move forward.

Our upbringing doesn’t help. Adding to the trepidation are the number of murders offered on television as evidence of a cruel society. And honestly, just the human tendency to think that evil is more intriguing than good causes us to swing to the dark side. I guess it would be harmless if it weren’t so harmful. But it is often in the midst of our false concerns that we fail to recognize a true opportunity, which ends up leaving us with a mess.

How can we keep from distorting the facts presented to us? Or just as bad, from trying to enhance everything in order to make it look better, ending up with a bizarre representation?

First of all, I think we have to admit to ourselves early in our morning that we are ill-prepared for the day and have set our feet toward being a dunderhead. Sometimes I even give those around me the gracious warning that I am a ticking time bomb of stupidity.  Amazingly, often that is enough to shake us out of our dim-wittedness.

Yes, merely confessing “I’m having a bad day” sometimes changes it into a good day. But if you continue to walk around in a foul mood, insisting there is nothing wrong with you, it’s everybody around you doing “stinky work,” you can set in motion the beginnings of a real disaster.

“I’m having a bad day. Please, someone help me.”

And since you know you’re having one of those bad days, and you are susceptible to making everything little too big, don’t make any decisions without asking three questions:

1. Have I done this before? Is this situation in front of me, which seems so foreign and problematic, really just an opportunity that I’ve previously handled, wearing a different hat? You will be surprised at how encouraging it is to remember former successes.

2. If this did happen before, what did I learn from it? Most people think that the brain remembers things because we see something that triggers memory. Actually the brain only remembers things when we ask it to retrieve similar occurrences. The brain is not helpful, just available. So if you don’t ask your brain to dredge up the past, it will lock it up solutions like they’re in solitary confinement. What did I learn the last time?

3. And finally, what is different with today? Occasionally something will be unique in your present dilemma. But usually not. Generally speaking, the only thing separating today’s frustration from yesterday’s clear-headedness is a bad night’s sleep, nightmares or low blood sugar. What is different?

By the time you finish asking these three magical questions, having already admitted  having a bad day, you have much less chance of turning something little into something big, distorting the image set in front of you. It is a problem we humans encounter incessantly. Therefore, it would be a good idea to have a plan of action for handling it.

Because of the rainy, drippy weather, only a handful of determined souls made it out from the Floridian rural countryside to our concert last night. I drove a long way to get there. So I was tempted to take something little–like poor attendance–and make it a big thing. Instead I asked myself the questions:

  • Have I been here before? Yes, and every time that I remained faithful, it’s always been beautiful.
  • What did I learn? Whether you and I are in front of eleven people or eleven thousand, it makes no difference if I am sharing in a bad mood. So buck up.
  • What is different? Me. I am different because now God has given me the grace to ask these miraculous questions instead of dumping bad attitude along the side of the freeway like I’m running away from town to escape an eviction notice.

You don’t need to enhance your life and you certainly don’t need to distort it. Just stop making little things big–just because you’re having a bad day.

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