Think Of People In Life As You Would Think Of Them In Death

Have you ever noticed how good a person everyone is when they are remembered at their funerals? Even the ones most fundamentally flawed sound like they were outstanding citizens, despite all their acknowledged faults. While attending one such challenged individual’s funeral, I wondered why we had to wait until people were dead to see them so positively? Why could we not do that while they were alive? That’s not to suggest we should ignore their flaws, especially the serious ones. No. That could be harmful to us, and it would not be helpful to them. I’m suggesting we note their good aspects as starting points when we think of them, before tacking on their flaws, instead of the other way around. It would certainly slow and reduce our rash judgment of others, of which there is far too much happening today.

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Flaws Are What Makes People Most Interesting

We worship the ideal, but we idolize the flawed. If you were not convinced, how many examples must I give to convince you? How many flawed religious leaders have been followed by countless masses in the name of the ideal religion? Why are tabloid shows, sites, and newspapers magnifying, or sometimes inventing, flaws of people so popular? Why aren’t products which are true opposite to tabloids successful? Would ideal beings have any sort of compelling story on their own given they have no flaw to deal with or overcome, and were only interesting due to the flawed people around them? What would the religious saviours’ stories be without the flawed humans around them to improve? Are ideal beings even human enough in their nature to fairly expect humans to relate to them, given our humanity trademark is our imperfection?

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Definition: Awumbuk (Baining People of Papua New Guinea)

Awumbuk

[ pronounced aWUMbuk ]

From the Baining People of Papua New Guinea, a feeling of lethargy that descends when a house guest finally leaves.

  • From the TEDTalk below (at about 10:45), by Tiffany Watt Smith, which includes a bunch of emotions where there are no words in English, but which you may well have experienced, but never had one single word to describe them! Or which you may go out and try to see if you can conjure up the feeling from hints in its definition for where and/or under what conditions one might experience it.

 

From the belief that guests shed a heaviness into the air of your home so they can travel more easily, leaving that heaviness with you! So those Baining people leave a bottle of water out to absorb this heaviness and ease the burden.

It might take the right house guest to make this happen for you, but you have probably felt this before, and can again if you pay attention to your feelings after having house guests in the future. Water bottle outside is optional. 🙂

Donating some Shopping Savings as “Random” Acts of Kindness

In some places, you can find people asking for money outside of stores, including grocery stores. Halifax is one of them. I’m not a fan of giving them money, to be honest, because I am not sure where that money ends up being spent. Yes, that’s judgmental because I worry about not being approving of it if I knew. But I’ll firmly defend that with it’s my money and I’ll do with I want with it. I might note, though, that I am just as judgmental towards giving money to bigger charities that do things like hosts lavish celebration parties they reached their goals, or pay their CEOs exorbitant salaries in the eyes of most.

All that judgment doesn’t mean I don’t give to others. I just take a different approach than most, one that requires more work, to know or plan on how to spend that money in ways I approve of. I work hard for it and save it, and I’m not about to give it away so people can become reckless with it, possibly even harming themselves rather than helping that thwarts my good intentions in the first place. If good intentions were bricks on the road to Hell, then I’ll make sure I lay them, not have others lay them on my behalf, thank you very much!

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Good or Bad Idea, Giving Lottery Tickets to Homeless People as a Random Act of Kindness?

One of the rewirements I’m supposed to do in this Week 3 of the  Science of Well-being course I’m taking is to build connections by talking to people I don’t know (i.e. starting conversations with strangers) and doing random acts of kindness (RAKs). Now, RAKs aren’t hard to find. Most people would give you examples like buying someone this or that, likely someone you don’t know, in some situation like the person in front of you or behind you in the coffee line. Those are fine, but for someone with Signature Strength of Creativity being #1, Curiosity being #2 and Judgment (aka Analysis) being #7 of 24 Character Strengths, who believes things are more meaningful if “earned” through a little more work, this buying of generic stuff was “too easy”.

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