Monday: Financial Literacy Apps Are A B.S. Solution To Ending Poverty In Black Communities

Two celebrities have gone viral recently for investing in a “financial literacy app” designed to help “end poverty in the black community”. The celebrities in question do not in fact live in black communities and their estimated net worths are $60 million and $300 million respectively. For anyone who doesn’t know, these numbers sit firmly in the “accountants manage my money and I could throw $100,000 into the bin annually for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t matter” territory.

The median net worth of Black Americans is $9,590 which is vastly different from a net worth in the millions. I strongly doubt this is because Black Americans are mismanaging $59,990,410 throughout their lifetimes. In fact, if you take the median income of $38,000 annually and extrapolate, you’ll find out that Black Americans median lifetime earnings will be $1,300,000.

I have my doubts that learning how to have a savings account will cause an additional fifty-eight million dollars to materialize out of thin air. If that’s the case, then I’ve been doing savings all wrong, clearly. Actually, screw it. Let’s do the math. If the median household invested every single dollar they earned and their earnings compounded annually at an interest rate of 6% due to investment in the stock market, their lifetime earnings would still only be about $4.5million — again, nowhere near $60 million dollars.

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I’m sharing this to demonstrate just how easy it is for people with large amounts of money to remain totally out of touch with the lives of the average people in the Black community they claim to want to help. I wasn’t raised sucking on the teat of media propagandized celebrity worship, so I don’t feel any particular need to be “grateful” that these celebrities are “trying to do something to help” either.

Financial literacy is clearly not going to bring in massive amounts of wealth considering you could have zero expenses and never attain celebrity levels of wealth. I’m the last person who will argue that financial literacy is “useless”, but it’s not a solution to socioeconomic problems facing black communities. The solution also posits the problem as one of individual choice rather than structural issues that disenfranchise black people and black communities in general.

Government policy has gone out of its way to stymy black wealth building specifically as discussed in The Color of Law : A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein, a book which discusses how black people were blocked from acquiring land and property by de jure practices of the US federal government. De facto practices also prevented Black Americans from acquiring wealth and one of the most prominent examples of this was when a white mob destroyed an area known as “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the 1920s. These examples point to a different locus of responsibility than a financial literacy app aimed at the black community would suggest.

I’ve seen an alternative theory which suggests that “all Black poor people are financially literate anyway”. This is another black and white way of looking at the problem that frankly isn’t true either. The fact that any Black people are financially illiterate is still not the cause of their poverty regardless. We don’t need to pretend to have advanced financial literacy to critique this “solution”.

It’s quite rich that people who by and large have teams of people to manage their money believe that they understand how to live within a budget of $38,000 a year — before taxes! Their solutions are quite obviously out of touch. Giving away 80% of their wealth would probably do more for “the community” than creating an app, but that’s another discussion for another day. Quite simply put, instead of coming up with detached top-down solutions, our attention would be better served by focusing on grassroots activists who spend all day interacting with people living below the poverty line or middle class people. These people know what they need and individuals who won the socioeconomic lottery are not somehow intellectually superior to them.

Believe me, if you know many rich people, you will quickly understand that having a team of people to manage your money isn’t a sign of greater intellect or financial literacy. Rich people are simply less impacted by terrible money management because they have more money at their disposal to insulate them from the consequences of their stupidity. Not all rich people are good with money, not all poor people are bad with money, and that’s the bottom line here. Instead of looking for individuals to blame, we need to tackle the systemic issues that have left the black community with a dwindling net worth and low wages. Is there any way we can get an app for that?

Tuesday: Vacation Flux

If I didn’t write this blog post, I’m not sure that I would even recognize this was a Tuesday. My holiday has been going well, but I have fallen off the wagon with so many different daily habits that it’s hard not to feel generally demoralized and demotivated, despite the knowledge that the best thing that I could possibly do would be to get back on the horse and keep going with the habits I want to maintain. Here are some of the things I’ve been missing on my vacation:

  • daily meditation

  • dedicated time to read daily

  • writing every day

  • blogging daily

  • regular and intense exercise

While I’ve been enjoying other activities on my vacation including long walks, sight-seeing in Central New York, and general relaxation, I’ve been feeling a huge weight from a sense that I’m being “unproductive” or somehow setting myself behind in my goals. It doesn’t help that I also have to face some pretty infuriating differences between home and New York, like less space and time to myself, different responsibilities and in some realms, even greater responsibilities than what I would usually like.

I’ve been trying to make the best of things and to accept that sometimes, we are in flux and not drawn to one thing or another in particular. Instead of feeling guilty due to a lack of productivity, I’m working to see down time as necessary and healthy for my development and my future plans. Instead of feeling lost and left behind, I want to focus on the restorative aspects of taking a break.

Things haven’t worked out perfectly when it comes to managing my anxiety, fears, and guilt, but for me the biggest step is to allow myself the space to figure things out and to not have everything “perfect”. When I’m back from my vacation, I know I can get into all these great habits again, and I won’t have to worry about things being “imperfect”. Maybe I can use this time to recognize that “perfection” is not a healthy goal at all anyway, and sometimes, it’s okay to simply exist without being dragged in one direction or another.

Saturday: SLUMP ALERT!

I haven’t published a daily blog post since Wednesday and WOW. I’m shocked that I let so much slip my mind but what can I say? Now I’m on vacation, and my laziness has shot up. I have a few days off and I intend to use them well. Here are a few bullet points about what’s been going on in my world these days.

  • I’ve started a new novel project and I’m working deeply in the outlining phase as well as studying relevant works of fiction. This has occupied a lot of my mental space and I’ve become OBSESSED with world-building.

  • The craziest thing about writing slumps is that the last thing you feel like doing is almost always the best thing you can do. Write more! Today, I’ve been feeling agitated and uncomfortable even after my morning meditation. This sucks. A lot. So I’ve decided to apply my anxious energy into this blog and I feel much better. (Here’s my new “long form” post.)

  • My book idea has taken up so much of my time that I’ve barely been reading the past week. It’s shameful! I hope when I travel (which is soon) I get to stock up on some delicious new reads.

  • I’ve been excited to make time for my meditation habit lately because one thing that no one tells you is that the cumulative effect of meditation makes a BIG difference. For example, meditating 20 minutes once a week is so much less effective than meditating 2 minutes every day. I wish I’d known that before because feeling guilty for not doing enough (LOL) meditation has always been a BIG thing for me.

  • I’ve slowed down on my drawing the past couple of days and I’m in a complete shame spiral about it. I know, I know. There are ways to pull myself out of this. Don’t even talk for my photography slump. It’s messing with my head!

  • Unrelated but: WHY on earth do people ask redheads if the “curtain matches the drapes”? What barn were you raised in to think that’s an appropriate question?

  • Today, I’ve been working on a scene weave but went on a long drive. I’m tired now so going to end this post! Sorry!

Wednesday: 6 Real AF Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Are Not Better Than Employees

I was scrolling through Pinterest this morning when I came across this image. This picture summarizes every reason why a lot of the ‘get money’ and ‘rise and grind’ entrepreneur types seriously get on my nerves. I’ve been a successful entrepreneur for four years — aka I put a roof over my head, I’ve grown my business each year, and I’ve been in the black the entire time all while doing all these other responsible things adults need to do like get health insurance, therapy, retirement accounts, investing, etc. Yet when I see pictures like this, I bristle with revulsion.

Let’s break down every annoying bit of these “people with jobs are idiots somehow” meme…

 
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1) The Title: Stay ahead of the competition

I have news for you baby entrepreneurs or internet people who’ve sold a t-shirt and now have delusions of grandeur. Your competition is not people working a 9-5 job who have never been entrepreneurs. Those are your freaking CUSTOMERS and posting crap like this will alienate them because guess what? Most businesses fail. And most people have jobs! To start from the basis of seeing other individuals who are not even in your specific niche as competition reflects a level of narcissism that’s honestly confusing more than anything else.

2) Watch webinars while they watch Netflix

This one makes me chuckle probably because my fiancé is one of the world’s most sought after webinar consultants in digital marketing. I’ve seen a lot of webinars. I’ve read a lot of webinars. I can assure you that there are some Netflix shows that are WAY more valuable than a webinar depending on your niche. For example, I write sci-fi romance. Would a sci-fi fiction show that allows me to study the beats in sci-fi fiction serve me better than watching John Doe explain the principles of business I should have learned years ago? Yes, it would.

Down time is critically important for entrepreneurs and creatives since we suffer from burnout more than many other professions. Maybe the guy watching Netflix to avoid burn out is doing better than the person who spends every waking moment thinking about their business (but not actually doing anything since watching a webinar is still consuming content and most webinars are designed to sell you something.)

3) Go to seminars while they go to concerts

I don’t get it. Do seminars happen every single day and only when concerts are in town? It’s unclear to me why you can’t do both and it’s also unclear to me why one is superior to the other. Many seminars especially in the self-help/business niche are again, designed to be elaborate sales pitches. Concerts on the other hand can be relaxing, fun, and for many influencers a time to create good content. One of my fun side-hustles involves designing and selling t-shirts. If I spend my time at a concert, I can covertly observe what clothing is popular, what t-shirts I see and get ideas for my business. Any experience is what you make of it.

My down time point still stands here too. Not to mention that many concerts would be way less expensive than seminars. I’m not saying don’t go to seminars or networking events. I’m saying that a $400 ticket to see Beyoncé is going to cost you way less than the $2,000 required to go across the country for a major networking event. Most concerts aren’t even in the $400 range! How is spending $40 to see Beres Hammond cheating you of business growth?! It isn’t.

While only one is tax deductible (maybe, I’m not a tax expert and this isn’t financial advice), one may be more valuable to you than another depending on your niche, your strategy, and your specific needs as a business owner. And again, there’s no reason on God’s green earth why you can’t do both and attending concerts has never been directly linked to failure and stagnation as either a professional or an entrepreneur.

4) Go to the gym while they go to bars

Is it normal and healthy to go to the gym in the middle of the night? Sometimes, I guess, but I really wonder what the purpose of this is. I typically work out first thing in the morning, leaving plenty of time to socialize in the evening. I’m not really a bar person, nor do I think that going to the bar is better than going to the gym, but again, I don’t see why someone can’t do both. The people with 9-5s who some entrepreneurs think they’re better than somehow have the time to go to both the gym and the bar on a daily basis.

The point here is that there is no “either or”. I exercise every day and even if I choose not to go to the bar daily, I certainly have the time to do both.


5) Work on your side hustle while they go to bed early

I run two successful Amazon bestselling pen names including countless social media accounts and email lists associated with them, sell audiobooks, run ads on a YouTube channel, and sell t-shirts on a major online platform, plus I write this blog. On average I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. It’s not terribly difficult to work on your side-hustle AND go to bed early. Again, there’s nothing wrong with not working on a side-hustle. Or not going to bed early.

You have to question the superiority complex in someone who needs a side-hustle looking down on someone who might not. For example, I don’t need the money from my t-shirts. I enjoy making them and designing t-shirts and learning about print-on-demand in the eCommerce space. If I decide not to work on it for five to six months, I’m not missing out on anything. If you’re making a good income and you don’t need or want a side-hustle, why should you work on it? Go to bed early instead of burning out. You’ll be better off in the long run.

6) Do what you love and travel the world while they slave away at their 9-5

This really cinches this pyroclastic flow of contradictions and nonsensical logic. Be a workaholic who works dead in to the night, never doing anything fun, and focus exclusively on gains physical and financial, but somehow also travel the world while other people are working. So will you be working, or nah?

People who “slave away” at their 9-5 jobs often travel the world. In fact, some of the best traveled people I know work 9-5s that pay them enough money to travel to Caribbean carnival celebrations all over the world, or interesting locations across the United States. I’m doing what I love as a writer. Someone else might be doing what they love as a software engineer, a bartender, a café manager, a teacher, a swim coach, a banker, a lawyer, or a freaking farmer. The presumption that “the hustle” is the only thing pleasurable gives off the distinct impression that a fulfilling life wasn’t part of the equation when this graphic was created.

To conclude

This whole post reeks as if it appeals to the type of wanna-be entrepreneur lacking in grit and filled to capacity with get-rich-quick schemes and appealing to people who only want to sit around and look down on others. Of course all these contradictions will appeal to you if you aren’t actually walking the walk, but if you’re filled with propagandized notions of entrepreneurship.

Well, I’m a small business owner, and so is my fiancé and we both say this is complete nonsense. Looking down on 9-5s is totally inappropriate and isn’t justified by any negative things about entrepreneurship a person might have heard in the past. We aren’t competitors anyway, we’re comrades. But that’s another story. 😉

Tuesday: Top 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Professional Writer

I’m short on time today, so outside of some small expansion on my points, I’m going to keep this brief and give you a list of the Top 7 things I wish I knew before I became a professional writer. Phew! I’m sure this list could be much longer since I knew absolutely nothing before I went into self-publishing. If it weren’t for a couple of mentors, I might still be blissfully unaware of how self-publishing can be a lucrative way to support oneself. Here are the things I wish I knew before I got started

1) start earlier

I wish someone had told me to just START when I had the first inkling of what I wanted to do. I got started writing 2 years after my mentor tried to put me on to the whole thing and I missed an entire era of much easier money in self-publishing. The best time to start is now is DEFINITELY true of writing.

2) solve “writers block” early

The difference between a professional writer and an amateur can be found in their entire attitude towards writer’s block. Amateurs use “writer’s block” as an excuse. Professionals recognize that whether you have writer’s block or not, you have to find a way to push through it and write. Professionals realize that you can train yourself to be more creative and have more creative ideas. This is not a fixed skill! This is also something you should solve early on so you keep having good ideas.

3) network professionally

Online networking has made a lot of difference for me from keeping tabs on industry changes to getting helpful tips and reliable subcontractors. The sooner you can join a real professional network, the better.

4) you will get over bad reviews

Amateurs think negative reviews are the end of the world. Professionals realize that there will always be someone who has something negative to say about your writing. Even Harry Potter has some horrid reviews, scalping JK Rowling and dragging her name through the mud. It’s impossible to write without criticism whether it’s justified or not. You must get over it! And you will!

5) the naysayers are wrong (but not for the reason you think)

Most people who speak negatively about the money making potential of writing or self-publishing do not make money in writing or self-publishing. While some gatekeepers like to think it’s impossible for anyone new to break in, these folks are rare. Most professional writers who make money self publishing are aware that it is possible for anyone who puts their mind to it.

6) editing counts

I used to hate editing and do everything under the sun to avoid it. I learned that editing is actually just as important a process as writing. Even if you have to pay someone, exchange labor, or get a friend to help you, editing is crucial and counts for so much.

7) writing should be fun, even when it’s work

Usually when you’re writing fiction, if you’re bored that means the reader is bored. This is especially true in commercial fiction, which I write. Writing should be fun. Your stories should be fun. A good measure of whether you have a fun story will be whether or not you are having fun while writing it.

What do you think of these tips? Is there anything else you wonder about writing professionally or self-publishing?

Monday: Oops!

I didn’t write a post yesterday and spent most of the day in a negative state of mind. I don’t feel bad about this, I simply recognize that I needed the time to myself, and I have been feeling the pinch of a lot on my plate. I will be traveling soon and I can feel overwhelmed about that, even if I’m accustomed to traveling a few times a year. When my anxiety gets the better of me, I need to learn to RELAX!

Today, I’m excited about the work I’m getting done. Despite the intense heat we’ve been facing here in the Caribbean, I’ve been happy to set about writing all day long. Recently, I’ve been working on a passion project and have made some decisions to change a huge part of the story planning. The whole thought of getting rid of hours of work pains me, but I know what I will replace it with will be so much better.

When working on creative projects, it’s hard to detach, but the longer I spend as a professional writer, the more I’ve come to realize that I need to detach. When I have a bad idea, I need to let it go. When something doesn’t turn out the way I want, it’s okay to adjust and make changes. Creative people can get wrapped up in so many myths about creativity, and we feel like there is one “correct” way to do things. We also behave like there is a “punishment” for getting things wrong. Even seeing a specific result as a punishment can be a problem in itself.

Well, I’m probably rambling on here, so I’ll make a tiny list of some takeaways from the past couple of days when I missed my daily posting and this morning as I muscle through some work.

  • There is no one correct way to be a creator.

  • Nothing that happens as a result of our creative process is a “punishment”

  • No good can come of fear in the creative process.

  • Sometimes we need time to ourselves, and that’s okay!

I hope today I can feel a bit better, but for now, I’m going to be sipping water and staying cool while I write my daily fiction requirement and try y best to enjoy my day.

Saturday: 7 Ideas For Self-Care Saturdays

It’s Saturday, and for the first time all week, I’ve done my hair, putting in little braids and tying them to my scalp. I’m relieved as I finger detangle my hair and coat it with some Cantu potion before tying it up. I realize that I haven’t done anything this soothing all week outside of my short daily meditation practice. Self-care doesn’t cost anything, and it shouldn’t. I sit with the same cup of coffee that I have every morning and take an extra moment to taste the notes on the medium roast. I jot down ideas in my journal, and check my sales just once before moving on to personal projects.

One of the reasons I enjoy writing and working from home in general is the time I get on the weekends to check in and take care of myself. At the end of the day, no amount of work, money, drama, or stress is worth our peace of mind. Here are five of my favorite ways to recharge on the weekend (and this time, I won’t include meditation, which I still love).

1) Take a really long time to get ready for my day

When I’m working during the week, I usually get up early and quickly brush my teeth, shower and change into my clothes. On the weekend, I slow everything down to a snail’s pace and take my time getting ready. I also do “extra” things to pamper myself like doing my hair, or giving myself a neck massage.

2) Read an interesting book

I’m typically reading something interesting, and I like to make progress on the weekends because I have a lot of uninterrupted time to read. I’ve been reading a book about the history of Washington DC recently, and really enjoy reading books on history, psychology, and politics in general.

3) Shut my phone off & go outside

I love stepping away from my laptop and phone on the weekends, especially because I’m forced to spend so much time on them during the week. Especially since I’m in the Caribbean, I like doing something outdoors on the weekend whether that’s the Castries market, heading to the beach, or going for a long walk with my fiancé.

4) Bake bread

I love baking, but recently, I’ve been into baking bread and find kneading my dough unreasonably therapeutic. My fiancé doesn’t complain about the rolls, and I lose tension in my neck. Win win!

5) Visit family members

Sometimes visiting my family members doesn’t recharge me, but even introverted people need to socialize, and connect with their communities. While I truly love time by myself, visiting family can give me an added boost of encouragement and connectedness.

6) Research creative projects on Pinterest

Recently, I’ve been researching helpful drawing tutorials and story references for books, but there are all types of projects I research on the weekends. Some times, I obsess over the aesthetics of place settings, or find motivational quotes to post during the week, or I just learn from infographics and other blog posts. The key is to approach this with intention and purpose so that it’s not mindlessly scrolling through social media.

7) Take things really slow

I tend to be an anxious, harried individual, so on the weekends I do my best not to rush anything. I take my time to cook, to draw, to exercise, to relax, to play, and enjoy a few hours without the weight of obligations pressing on me. I really appreciate the time to slow down.

What do you do for self-care on the weekends? Put how you recharge in the comments below.

Friday: Personal Choice & Feminism

I’ve been officially exercising again, a big change since I broke my toe four weeks ago. It’s been a painful four weeks and I’m not comfortable with the level of inactivity I experienced. As I grow older, I’m beginning to truly realize how valuable it is to exercise and actually take care of myself. The teenage lifestyle of scarfing down Skittles and Swedish Fish without a care in the world is over. Although, I did always recognize that it was unsustainable.

This morning, I woke up to find bird guts and feathers spread all over my office, which kicked me into high gear for enjoying my Friday. So we meet now: workout complete, meditation complete, massive cleaning project complete. The best part is it’s just after 6 a.m. How do people not like waking up early?!

I’ve been mulling over one of my biggest issues with “Hashtag Activism” the past week or so and coming to the conclusion that I really need to be done with the “mainstream” internet feminist topics. This isn’t about people like Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement, which has a clear impact on not just spreading awareness on a major feminist issue, but has led to justice for victims of sexual assault. However, the few people who focus on issues like this can sometimes be crowded out by people online with generally good intentions who may not have clarity and nuance about feminist issues, so they apply broad brush analysis and understanding to what’s important in their world: whether not liking Sansa from Game of Thrones is misogynist, how many men they can and should have sex with, and other individual problems.

This quote from MindTheGap, a feminist blog from Cardiff, UK, explains Audre Lorde’s intentions when she said the personal was political:

First, it’s important to note that the phrase ‘the personal is political’ manifestly does not mean that everything a woman does is political or that all her personal choices are political choices. In feminist terms, the ‘personal is political’ refers to the theory that personal problems are political problems, which basically means that many of the personal problems women experience in their lives are not their fault, but are the result of systematic oppression.[SOURCE]

Taken out of context, and spread as a slogan decontextualized from the original work, “the personal is political” has come to mean whatever anyone projects onto it. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I think the issue comes when people with explicitly anti-feminist agendas adopt phrases like this and propagandize anti-feminist beliefs using this phrase. A good example of this is “feminist advertising” of any kind in industries who rely on women’s low self-esteem to push products, yet may sell the idea that purchasing their particular product is more feminist than others. “Eyeliner sharp enough to kill a man”, and all that jazz.

Consumer choices have become “political” to some people, but they haven’t examined how a patriarchal society has impacted the more invisible parts of woman’s daily lives like division of labor in the household. Focusing on individual choices and our personal lives as our primary and individual concerns also removes the community aspect of feminism, where women with greater privilege can ally with less privileged women. If we think our work here is done when we purchase the correct razor, or watch the correct most feminist TV show, we don’t think about other people.

Lately, I’ve been disillusioned with a lot of the feminist conversations online which mostly involve lobbing hatred towards other women for likes and retweets and false communities that do nothing for our human need for interpersonal interaction, and leave room for despotic personalities to control political conversations in groups that they potentially know nothing about. (Not all black people, communities, islands, nations, cities, towns, and families are monolithic, so presumably, one person cannot speak for all of them.)

I’ve been discouraging myself to think of feminism as a form of individual expression. This rampant Western individualism is nearly invisible to people living within and practicing it. As such, I like drawing attention to this individualism within myself and considering whether there is a more ethical approach to social problems. It can’t hurt to consider ways we might be focused on our communities rather than ourselves.

Thursday: Thoughts On Inequality

This Thursday, I want to jot down some of my thoughts on inequality, particularly because of a conversation that my fiancé and I had this morning regarding All The Rage by Darcy Lockman. Gender Inequality, income inequality and other forms of inequality are the foundation for social justice. We seek a more equitable society where resources are distributed equitably, labor and responsibility are shared, and where every human being is guaranteed their human rights according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

With this in mind, here are some of my thoughts for the day, again, loosely organized so that I may expand on them in a longer post later. If you find any of these interesting, and want me to write more, just let me know in the comments below, because I am definitely interested in hearing what any readers may think…

  • Inequality makes both parties unhappy, including the party benefitting from the inequality. This idea is postulated in All The Rage, and within heterosexual couples at least, studies show this to be true.

  • In general, men seem to believe the trade-offs they’ve agreed to make by benefitting from patriarchy and doing nothing about it large-scale are women’s responsibility. They worry about “not expressing their emotions” but not about how they will profit off of decades of women’s thankless, unpaid labor. The two are connected.

  • One thing I don’t understand about society in general is why the concept of equality is so fundamentally repulsive to some people. What has to be so wrong with you that you cannot agree that everyone should have equal access to food, water, shelter, etc? I think about Non-Violent Communication strategies and how they could be used to address this issue quite often.

  • Inequality can often become invisible, which is one of the problems discussed in older books on poverty like “The Other America” as well as recent books like “Evicted”. One of the major issues we have is that disguising poverty has become easier, which makes the problems easier to ignore. This is particularly disturbing to think about when you think of recent cities initiatives to block out the homeless from sleeping publicly. Even if hostile architecture has an upfront cost, the long term benefit involves making inequality more invisible. The long term prognosis for solving homelessness involves more accountability.

  • I had an up close experience with inequality that gave me pause. Sandals recently purchased a large amount of golf course land in Cap Estate St. Lucia, and they’ve been ripping up the old gold course in order to plant new grass and redo the landscape. As we drove by, I noticed large pipes spraying gallons and gallons of water into dirt that was only going to become grass. Later that evening, I read a local news story about a single mother whose kids were taken away because she can’t afford to have running water in her home, and has to get some from her neighbor. The government has determined she is too poor to be a parent. These two experiences co-exist within the same 26 mile long island.

  • Inequality manufactures a sense of perpetual dissatisfaction. The two go hand in hand with each other and I wonder how much happier people would be if we dedicated our lives to pursuing equitable living for all people rather than hoarding resources for ourselves (uhh, if you happen to be a resource hoarder that is and not struggling to make rent next month. I’m not sure who is reading this.)

  • What’s the most personal level we can practice reducing inequality on? Is it giving to people who have less than us without strings attached? Is it taking the time to help our neighbors with something? Is it sharing our skills and wisdom to empower someone to leave a difficult situation? Maybe the only way to tackle inequality is via practicing some kind of active politics?

I’ve had some experiences recently that fall in line with many of my life experiences involving privileged people. I feel disturbed at the lack of contentedness I see amongst the people who hoard resources, or exploit labor at the expense of others. I wonder if they feel empathy towards other people. Or maybe empathy is only reserved for stray dogs, and only other inferior creatures who don’t run the risk of getting uppity.

When I see water, fresh water, that people in this country need, getting sprayed into the ether so a multi-millionaire on a golf vacation can see useless ineffective sprawling lawn and leave a three star review on Google, it’s hard to feel patient, hopeful or idealistic about the world. But I do. Because despite all of that, I know the truth is that we, the caring, kind, compassionate people are many, and the greedy, selfish, hoarders are few. For today, I need to believe at least that.

Wednesday: What To Do On Mediocre Days With No Motivation

I’m here with little motivation to write, partly because I lost the blog post that I slaved over yesterday for half an hour, and I am still a little wounded to put much effort in today, silly as that might seem to you. I’ve finished my writing for the morning, done some meditation, and made a pumpkin soup for lunch at home. Overall, for a “mediocre” day with no motivation, I’m doing alright. This morning, I got some sad news (which I will write about later) and I’ve been dragging myself along ever since. Unfortunately, sad news doesn’t stop time. We still have to go on and get things done. “Adulting”, am I right?

‘Here are my three simple tricks I use to keep me going when I feel like curling up in bed, re-reading King Lear, and shutting the world out:

(1) Mindfulness Meditation

I wouldn’t keep recommending meditation if it didn’t really work for me. I’m not the only one who agrees. Scientists know that mindfulness meditation has real effects on reducing anxiety, and the spiritual practices centered around mindfulness meditation do so for a reason! This morning before work, I added 5 minutes of quiet meditation to my day so that I could get my mind a little quieter and focus on what absolutely needed to get done.

(2) Socialize

As an introverted writer, sometimes I forget that my “social battery” does actually require some depletion in order for me to recharge on my own. I’m quiet, and I enjoy spending time alone, but on tough days, it’s actually better to reach out and remember that you’re connected to a wider world. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. Today, I texted my sister, my family members, and spent some extra time with my fiancé, which has been lovely and reminded me that there are reasons for me to pull myself out of bed.

(3) Draw or Color

“Adult coloring books” are all the rage now because we are beginning to recognize that creative activity, no matter how small, can play a huge role in making us happier. People are inherently creative and when our creative spirit is fed, we feel really good. Coloring and drawing can also have a meditative aspect to them that make both activities very relaxing. The final thing I’ve done today is spent 30 minutes or so with a pencil and paper, just having fun and drawing something new.

What are your tips for mediocre days when you have little motivation? What is your “bare minimum” self care routine? Comment with ideas down below.

Monday: Thoughts On Deception

My brain is scattered and I’m behind today and I want to treat this blog like a fancy tumblr right now, so buckle up, strap in, and let’s talk about deception…

  • We have all encountered a pathological liar in our lives, but what I have never been able to understand is why do some people choose deception as their primary strategy?

  • How do liars keep track of all their lies when I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday morning?

  • I tend to hate definitive labels that portray certain traits as fixed, including the word “liar”. Has anyone ever met a liar who has changed though?

  • Are the ends of telling a big lie (since of course, yes, all humans do tell small lies), justification enough for the means of deceiving people who are close to you?

  • Out of curiosity, I researched the most common lies and found them uninspiring and lacking the weight of what I consider so be a truly morally harmful lie.

  • Can a lie truly harm no one? I wonder.

Sunday: 10 Skills I Want To Learn

Pop-science articles about neuroplasticity have many people convinced that there’s an age when we can (and should) stop learning. I contest that this isn’t the case and learning new skills is a matter of practice, determination and building new habits and identities.

Here are a few skills that I’ve always wanted to build and some ideas for what I plan to do in order to build them.

  • Gardening — I’ve started a few small gardens before that haven’t lasted very long. My next goal will be to review my gardening books and plan to start my garden after I’ve moved out of my apartment. My goals here are to increase my food security and take a more scientific approach to gardening.

  • Illustration — now that I’m writing more science fiction, my desire to bring the ideas into life has risen. Small stick figure drawings in my journal plus a lifelong frustration with my artistic abilities mean I have a lot of psychological blocks surrounding drawing.

  • Ceramics — I’ve always admired homes with kitschy imperfect but beautiful handmade ceramic plates and mugs. This isn’t an immediate goal for me, but I would love to learn how to at least make mugs, plates and basic items for my home.

  • Bread making — while I’ve definitely mastered my simple dinner roll recipe, I know making bread is so much more than that! I want to learn everything about bread making especially how to create a sourdough started and how to use different grains. So far my sourdough starters have become fly infested failures, but I’m not unwilling to try again.

  • Solar power engineering — simple solar cells fascinate me and the future of clean energy fascinates me too. From the time I took advanced physics in high school and then electricity & magnetism, I’ve had a secret wish that the practical applications for solar power could be a lot of fun to learn

  • Videography/direction — anything I can learn behind a camera, I’m up for. I’ve made YouTube videos, cut together book trailers, and I love working on new skills of this nature.

  • Screenwriting — another form of writing I’m obsessed with right now. Again, my desire to expand my writing skills has led me to this goal. I’ve read a few books on the subject and feel excited to carve out time to flesh out my ideas!

  • Photo retouching — the inner workings of photoshop and Lightroom enchant me. I recently learned how to use Lightroom to enhance photos and for once, feel confident in a skill in this department. My next step is proper retouching which I feel intimidated by. For this, I’ve watched a number of YouTube tutorials but I know practice makes perfect.

  • Sculling — Always a coxswain, never a rower, that’s how the phrase goes, isn’t it? 😉 I always felt like sculling would be a powerful workout and totally meditative. I dream of renting or buying a scull and taking it out onto lake Cayuga. Step 1, get myself into rowing condition! This will be one of my top priorities when I move to New York.

  • Tennis — I have a love, hate relationship with tennis that has mostly been hate. It’s time for me to get out of my awkward, uncoordinated fear and practice again. Having a good outdoor sport under your belt will always give you something to do in the summer!

I was was supposed to publish this yesterday but didn’t meet my goal! Here’s the short/simple post today. What new skills would you like to learn? 👇🏼

Saturday: My Release Day Work Routine

I self publish novels every month and this week, I’ve more or less neglected this blog all in preparation for this magical Friday — my release date for my latest full length novel. Yesterday, I uploaded the book to every platform that I could, and today I got into my “release day” routine.

  • Double check book links in all the stores and reply to any emails related to the book being for sale on my website

  • Write sales email and social media posts to schedule today and throughout the weekend. (5 emails, and around 20 posts)

  • Hop onto social media accounts to engage with frequent posters in real time and potential buyers right away and keep them updated.

  • Write Facebook ads for my Facebook advertising strategy

  • I usually write Amazon ads too, but my latest release is in a romance niche too dirty for Amazon so I can’t run ads on their platform with the book given my metadata.

  • Update all my smart links and add my books to my Author page on BookBub, Goodreads and Amazon author central

  • Email recipients of advanced copies to get their reviews out

Those are the fundamentals of my release day routine which requires a lot more of the marketing and design aspect of self-publishing. I love studying marketing data, so I enjoy this part of the month plenty.

Thursday: Thoughts On “All The Rage” by Darcy Lockman

  • This book definitely makes it on my required reading list for anyone considering becoming a parent or co-parenting with a man.

  • Great complementary book to Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, which explores neurosexism and patriarchal bias in science examining gender differences

  • The funny/humorous tone in this book in the trend of Jessica Valenti’s writing style makes it really easy to dive in and relate plus the analysis of Facebook groups and other contemporary forms of community women create makes many of her points even more salient in our social media saturated world.

  • This book comes with many other recommended reads on gender and division of labor that I’ll hopefully be able to review.

  • The clear & negative impact of inequality is interesting especially when you think of it in terms of the covert contracts that appear to be implicit in most heterosexual relationships. The scary part is that more equal labor distribution before kids can totally vanish once a woman decides to have kids. Sinister to think about.

  • At around 50% of the way through the book, I thrust it straight into my required reading list before having kids. Eye opening and the book will probably spark many projects.

I know this blog post is short but I’ve been writing a lot for work this week and trying to keep my head above water there. Do you have any summer reading? Drop your latest read in the comments below. 👇🏽

Friday: Covert Contracts With Sexist Men

Most men are sexist either consciously or subconsciously. If you’re turned off, good. Go read a book and come back when you’re ready for unfiltered honesty. If you’re still with me, let’s keep going, shall we? Considering the fact that most men grow up in a patriarchal world, modeling their behavior from sexist fathers or receiving messages from their mothers and family that reinforce sexist behavior and beliefs, it’s hard to make it to adulthood without some sexist beliefs.

Women also come of age beneath heavy patriarchal conditioning with desires, expectations and attraction shaped immensely by social messages. While I’m blessed to have women in my life who thoroughly interrogate our sexist world (it’s just as likely this blessing is fueled by impatience, I might add), it’s an unfortunate truth that most women don’t.

Dating (as a heterosexual woman) and clinging tightly to patriarchal beliefs whether consciously or unconsciously, is a recipe for disaster since sexist cover contracts are established. When these contracts, which do sometimes have apparent short term benefits for women, make unappealing demands, women find themselves quagmired by the myriad of small decisions and perceptions that have ultimately contributed to their position.

How do women cope with these covert contracts and expectations? Resentment is certainly one way, but certainly there’s another way that doesn’t involve tearing away at ourselves from within. It won’t hurt (much) to hold men accountable for their behavior. When you recognize a covert contract, some aspect of your relationship that exists solely because of your sex, rather than holding onto resentment, isn’t it much easier to draw this out and bring it to the foreground? Speak about your experience and don’t allow a fear of being "assertive” press you into submission.

We are much better off finding out if we can bring our issues to the table early on rather than stuffing our feelings until we feel too emotionally involved to tell a man to get his act together.

Wednesday: Why You're In Toxic Relationships... 9 Essential Skills For Cultivating Healthy Long-Term Relationships

Every relationship changes or evolves. Over time, we grow closer or further apart from various people in our lives and through each “season” of our lives, we find ourselves surrounded by some of the last people we may have imagined. During certain points of your life, the seeds that you plant eventually flourish and individuals are left to reap what they sow.

Relationships that last don’t do so because of fate, God’s grace, or through wishing them to last. We cultivate skills and values during our lives and what we’re left with is a series of relationships — either good quality or bad. We’re either “surrounded by toxic people” and dissatisfied, or contented and stable.

These 7 skills weave the fabric of relationships that last, and most relationships in your life need these ingredients or they will unravel quicker than a cashmere sweater. Most of these skills play off of each other — you often can’t have one without the other and together, they make your relationships an impenetrable force against hard times.

1) Respect For Boundaries

No relationship truly exists without boundaries. A respect for boundaries doesn’t only refer to setting boundaries but respecting others boundaries as well. If you believe that only your boundaries are worthy of respect and you routinely trample over others, disrespect their space or react negatively when confronted, you’re experiencing a breakdown in the most fundamental part of forming relationships. A healthy set of boundaries also influences the pacing of different relationships which enables you to have both friendships and romantic relationships that last longer.

 
“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

 

2) Support

Boundaries create the foundation of all healthy long-term relationships, but support is the blood that keeps a relationship alive. Supporting other human beings in a social context is one of our biggest drives as social creatures. It’s in our nature to aid those around us and provide support to people within our communities (Kropotkin). Mutual support is what’s critical. If relationships are one-sided, this leads to problems later on and resentments. Of course, different people support each other in different ways and show their love in different ways. What matters is that we find people we are compatible with who understand how to give and receive support the way we need them to.

“Support” doesn’t mean uncritical, blind agreement with every decision another person makes. Sometimes support refers to the way you challenge people and help them grow. In unhealthy relationships, one person does not give genuine support or is unable to receive unpleasant feedback. This ties into having healthy boundaries because if you have healthy boundaries surrounding what actions you will and won’t accept, you will learn to seek supportive relationships that reflect the way you wish to be treated.

 
A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

 

3) Consideration


Many people want a partner or friend who can “anticipate their needs”. Unfortunately, this way of viewing things is codependent in nature, as it expects an element of mind-reading that most people aren’t capable of. (Hello, Miss Cleo? You there?) Perhaps instead of seeking mind-readers, we need a little more nuance. Consideration covers this general principle and makes far more sense. You don’t need someone to guess what you want to eat for dinner (ladies, we really don’t) but you might want a friend who offers to grab you coffee when you’ve forgotten your wallet at home, or someone who takes your feelings into account when making decisions that affect your life.

Cohabiting with my fiancé forced me to acknowledge how important consideration is. This is one of the actions that adds up slowly over time but if there’s no consideration for another person’s feelings, the results are catastrophic. A lack of consideration is one of the hardest relationship problems to bounce back from because this behavior usually leads to many small frustrations piling up over time until issues and resentments are insurmountable. Consideration can be a form of support and also an expression of healthy boundaries. For example, if you’re armed with good boundaries, you are more likely to consider someone’s feelings and behave in an appropriate manner because you understand and respect that values of another person. People behaving in an inconsiderate manner are less likely to have an appropriate response to boundaries being set and are rarely available to offer support at a time when it isn’t convenient to them.

 
Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

 

4) Coöperation

Coöperation and support are similar, complementary traits, but cooperation requires a little more depth than support. Coöperation refers to hands-on problem solving in a given moment. You may need support from your friends when you’re going into a job interview, but when it’s time to clean up your apartment after a huge rager, you don’t only need support, but coöperation.

In all relationships, problems arise. Shutting down or behaving in an unproductive manner is uncooperative behavior that eventually degrades relationships over time. Problem solving in relationships requires both parties to have a vested interest in building up healthy boundaries, solving issues that arise, and maintaining peace and harmony. A toxic person will refuse to cooperate to find a solution that works for everyone and maintains a “my way or the highway” kind of attitude. This goes beyond stubbornness and refers to someone whose overall attitude towards relationships means they would rather lose a relationship than cooperate to find a productive solution that works for everyone.

Cooperation is the antithesis to “compromise” and far more important to healthy relationships than compromise as cooperation implies both parties get their needs met without one person sacrificing.

 
Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

 

5) Assertiveness

Assertiveness empowers individuals to bring up problems as they occur and involves direct and honest communication. So many people rely on passive aggressive communication to get their needs met in interpersonal relationships. Tactics such as the silent treatment, avoiding confrontation at all costs, allowing too much time to pass before addressing conflicts, and avoiding honesty, are all examples of common passive communication that’s completely ineffective at maintaining long term healthy relationships.

Assertiveness is not the same as rudeness and I’ve written on this blog a bit about how you can cultivate assertiveness in your life. Assertive communication at its core is honest. Without honest communication, it’s nearly impossible to have a relationship at all, much less a good one. If you avoid assertive communication, this will definitely create problems. Assertiveness can be cultivated through practice, and is the only way you can truly get your needs met in any relationship, friendship or otherwise. We need assertiveness to set boundaries and to ensure we are co-operating rather than compromising. Assertiveness can also encompass offering support as sometimes offering support means bringing up honest and unpleasant truths. Assertiveness never violates the rights and needs of others, one of the many ways its distinguished from being “mean” or “harsh”.

 
Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.  -- LINDA ADAMS

Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.

-- LINDA ADAMS

 

6) Integrity

Integrity is ultimately the glue holding any individual together and a person without integrity is liable for relationships around them to fail and they will make no changes to their behavior, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again — likely to blame everyone around them for it too. This Brené Brown quote on integrity summarizes this value perfectly, “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

This quote encompasses all the facets of integrity but most important is the aspect of practicing our values. We can’t wake up one day and exist as perfect people. When you have integrity, you acknowledge this. You acknowledge that anyone is capable of screwing up, even if you think you’re a good person and try to do the right thing. Someone with integrity doesn’t fear getting called out or critiqued for their behavior. Someone with integrity practices what they preach when it comes to their values and practices in the traditional sense too — getting better with each iteration over time.

 
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them  -- Brené Brown

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them

-- Brené Brown

 

7) Accountability

Accountability and integrity can’t exist without each other. Accountability is a bit more specific because it refers to not just maintaining our values, but taking responsibility for your actions. Accountability doesn’t mean taking the blame for everything and it’s dangerous to see accountability as the equivalent to blame. Accountability allows us to humble ourselves when we’ve done wrong and take action to make amends to people we’ve hurt. Accountability reminds us that there are others outside of ourselves and that our actions affect them.

Accountability is more meaningful than a simple verbal apology because it is connected to taking responsibility for the way our actions impact others. A lack of accountability in relationships can be extremely damaging because it involves one person either not taking responsibility for their actions, or the inverse, assuming that their actions and emotions are caused by someone else’s behavior. If someone never takes responsibility for their behavior and always blames other people, this person will not be able to co-operate.

Without accountability, you cannot have integrity because choosing to be accountable to someone else is not always easy or fun. Someone may avoid this “inconvenience” and destroy relationships along the way. Accountability can take you far in problem solving and lends itself to healthy assertive communication in a way that blame does not.

 
Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

 

8) Interdependence instead of codependence

I grappled with not putting this on, but avoiding codependent behavior is so important that I added it despite the similarity to earlier points of cooperation and assertiveness. This point isn’t simply about cooperating or asserting yourself and your boundaries when occasions arise for you to do so. Interdependence refers to the entire culture of an interpersonal relationship. Is this a relationship where it is acceptable to address problems? Is this a relationship where individuals can maintain their real identities? Can you have different thoughts and different beliefs from the other person? Are there appropriate boundaries within this relationship in the first place?

A relationship built on a foundation of codependency will have poor boundaries, poor respect for boundaries, and the underpinning belief that enmeshment is equivalent to intimacy and closeness. Codependent people often cannot see the difference between codependence and interdependence, which is why it is so important to establish these boundaries early on. It’s easier to create good habits than to break bad ones.

 
A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

 

9) Self-reliance

Interdependent relationships require two individuals with a healthy set of separate identities from each other. Self-reliance made it to my list because it’s so essential to bringing a fully formed person into a relationship. When you’re self-reliant, this doesn’t mean that you do everything on your own or you do not allow friends, family, or other people to help you. Self-reliance means taking responsibility for your life choices, your actions, and ultimately your happiness.

Self-reliance is a philosophy defined by not needing another person’s behavior to change in order for you to be happy. Self-reliant people don’t think that they need a man or woman in their lives to find happiness. Self-reliant people recognize that their choices have consequences and they are responsible enough to face these consequences. Like many traits, self-reliance can have a shadow side where some people intentionally misinterpret this to mean that they should neither help others or receive help. This is fundamentally against other principles that make relationships healthy like cooperation and support.

 
self reliance.png
 

These skills are not innate and fixed. Neither are these skills independent of each other. You cannot be self-reliant, yet never cooperate with others and consider yourself a healthy person. Well, you can, but you might still have some work to do. When we participate in toxic relationships, and continue to wonder why we are not happy, or why we always seem to find ourselves repeating the same mistakes, often times we could refer to some of these skills and improve our ability to have healthy relationships.

Which of these skills is the hardest for you to maintain? I tend to struggle with assertiveness and also fear some types of boundary setting due to my fear of being considered “a bitch”. I have also been less than self-reliant at various points in my life. If we are honest with ourselves and face these unpleasant truths, we’ll have a chance in hell of improving our relationships and sucking toxicity from our lives.

This isn’t simply about accusing others of being “toxic”, but identifying our own troubling behavior, and having the bravery to hold ourselves accountable for the outcome of our lives.

If you like any of these quotes, I invite you to pin them to your favorite board for motivation and relationship advice!

Tuesday: Top 5 Quotes I Loved On Pinterest Last Week

Each week, I like to save some of my favorite quotes to Pinterest boards for motivation and inspiration. It’s easy to take in a lot of negative messages on social media, so I enjoy taking the time to internalize something positive.

These are my top quotes last week from Pinterest.

What do you think? Comment below which quote inspired you or touched you the most. 😋👇🏼

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Monday: There’s Probably Massive Gender Inequality Camping Out In Your Household & You Don’t Even Know It

I stumbled across Darcy Lockman’s new release “All The Rage” by chance browsing the Times, and after peeking at the Look Inside, I was hooked. I started the book this weekend and Lockman’s promise for what this book would deconstruct 🛠 has already been fulfilled.

Most educated and/or observant people are more or less aware of the fact that neither first, second or third wave feminism has managed to end gender inequality. We have “made strides”, if you want to be trite about it, but we still have a long way to go. Lockman’s book explains why despite all our chit-chat about gender equality and the mythos of the “sensitive, feminist, millennial man” (ha-ha), women still face massive inequality within their own homes that worsens when they have children.

I suppose the #BuzzfeedFeminists are content as long as anal sex and getting choked remain front and center of the contemporary feminist movement.

For those of us who strive for more than submitting to men and enduring pain on their behalf might want to listen up. If your beliefs, conditioning and preconceived notions play a greater role in your household’s division of labor, perhaps reading theory isn’t the way out of this quagmire of unconscious sexist repression we get sucked into.

How can we find a way out? Early on in Lockman’s book, I noticed one piece of data that was only a sentence or two in length but critically important. Gay couples tend not to have the same issues of resentment and frustration over division of labor in their households even when there isn’t an “equal” distribution.

The “why” behind that is what’s fascinating…

Lockman and social scientists theorize that this is because there is no “mainstream” gendered expectations for gay couples, division of labor is actively discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. While we may feel as if men should intuit things and while we may face the unfair expectations of a “women’s intuition”, most of us aren’t entirely powerless to negotiate our stance on labor in a relationship.

Saddle up, ladies! Our more equitable social status outside the home comes with an additional responsibility to advocate for our own needs and practice assertiveness with our partners. Of course, it takes two to tango…

Do you think that your parents shared household labor and childcare growing up? Did your parent or parents who raised you and their attitude towards childcare influence you in any way? Let’s chat in the comments below. 👇🏼

Sunday: Constant Feedback

As an Amazon bestselling indie author, I have to publish my books, read reviews and manage social media and email which exposes me to a near constant level of feedback. Everyone has something to say about every step of the journey. Intuitively, the more you handle likes, comments, emails, etc, you realize there’s something abnormal about the way our society is not only exposed to constant feedback, but people are encouraged to give constant feedback. A negative mindset naturally leads to feedback being equated to criticism for most people.

Can there be any kind of balance in a world where we feel the need to constantly judge or in a world where we are constantly receiving judgment? In either case, I like to remind myself that I can’t control what other people do, but I can control what it is that I do. This means that if other people give “negative” feedback, I can’t control them and I don’t try to do so. What I do is if I feel the need to throw my “opinion” into the ring, I focus and highlight the positive.

These days, opinions have been exalted to a near god-like status. Many people think that the “First Amendment” is carte blanche to be a complete asshole to strangers. It’s only their “opinion” — not verbal abuse, cyberbullying or being a dickhead. What purpose does it serve to constantly share your negative opinions? I think it’s a fair hypothesis from the trends associated with heavy social media usage, that this negativity encourages a negative cognitive bias where you interpret information in your environment in a more negative way.

Maybe our “opinions”, judgments and feedback create an unnatural environment where we are overly critical of ourselves and others. This kind of environment makes it difficult to be a mentally healthy person. What do you think? Have you noticed more negativity when you focus on the negative on social media or have you never given it a second thought? Let me know in the comments below.