Posts Tagged wisdom

A Response to Anger Management – or – What is Self-Worth…WORTH?

So, here I am…back to Blogging.

The SASS is Back.

Today, I attended a class on Anger Management, and our instructors went over the “A B C D”s of anger events. Now, I’m attending this class, not because I necessarily need it, but…well, it’s free for me, and it couldn’t hurt…and it could even help me become a more even-tempered person than I am.

So…. Our instructor presented a few scenarios in which anger might result. Let’s say, for example, I call up my good friend(s), and ask if I can hang out for a while. Well, my friend is busy. He can’t hang out with me. How does this affect me? Maybe I’m put off. I feel rejected. I think my friend has his priorities wrong. Or maybe, I just feel that I am worth LESS to my friend than…whatever it is that certain friend is doing.

And therein lies the seed of feeling “Worthless”…feeling rejected, snubbed, and lonely; this can lead to anger; and this (taken to extremes) could even lead me to going postal on an innocent parking meter somewhere! (Okay, no, not really….)

But more importantly, this scenario points up a few areas of false thinking that are taking place. One is that a friend “Values” someone or some thing more than me. Another is that the friend has (intentionally or not) snubbed me in favor of his current plans. Unfortunately, I’ve actually been on the receiving end, where this latter was actually the case. But then, those were never really friendships in the first place; and the ones who’ve done that to me generally have no desire to have anything to do with me to begin with.

And still an even more damaging false thinking is that my “worth” is somehow tied to anything my friend (or enemies, or acquaintances, or anyone else either, for that matter) says or does when I happen to want a few hours of pleasant company. It’s this very false thinking, in fact, that can lead to depression and suicide, as well as anger and domestic or workplace violence, stupid reckless behavior, drug and alcohol dependence, and innumerable encounters with the long arm of the law. All because our “Worth” is measured by outside forces, such as a friend’s current plans for the day.

Interestingly, our instructors gave us a variation on that scenario: say for example her daughter was sick and needed to be rushed to the Emergency room, just as her friend calls and wants to go shopping at the mall. Now, we can understand, the friend is lonely and needs company; but I think we can all agree that the child is much more important. Not only is the illness a very urgent situation, but (I certainly hope) most or all of us would readily put our kids ahead of our friends and acquaintances! But the point that struck me in this example was that the child’s NEED was greater!

Here is a variable that not many people think about when they try to balance the relationships and situations in their lives! What needs more attention? Will that friend die, if he/she doesn’t get to go to the mall and check out the latest fashion trends? Probably not! Unless they’re suicidal; and then maybe a hospital stay might be a better solution for the friend, also. But the sick and suffering child is in a life threatening circumstance-immediate, and desperate. The needs of that child very obviously outweigh the needs of that lonely friend.

In fact, in this past week, I have personally experienced the calculated weight of a variable need. Somewhere around Saturday night, I slept wrong, and hurt my back. I was in excruciating pain all weekend, and even part of Monday. On Sunday morning, a friend of mine called me, with an emergency. His cat was ailing, and he needed a ride to the Pet Emergency Center here in town. Without a thought, I knew that the need of this friend (and his cat) for emergency care was greater than my need for rest and recuperation. I jumped out of bed (screaming as I did so, incidentally), dressed, and crawled painfully into my car to rescue my friend and his poor ailing cat.

Sadly, the kitty was too sick to save without spending nearly $3,000 or more on treatments (The price of a used car, in fact!) and my friend had to have her put to sleep, instead. I comforted him as well as I could…(without being touchy-feely, of course), and I took my friend home to grieve.

Despite the pain I was feeling, my friend’s needs were clearly greater than my own.

But by Monday, I still wasn’t fully recovered. Now…on Mondays, I usually hang out with a group of friends that play Dungeons & Dragons, a tabletop role-playing game, that gives each and every one of us a nice break from the harsh reality that most of us face in the rest of our daily lives. And one of those friends faces a very harsh reality, indeed: my friend George is currently staying in the local Hospice House, slowly dying of Cancer. The rest of our group gather with George by the fireplace, and there we live out a fantasy of epic adventure slaying dragons and rescuing fair damsels, all while forgetting-just for a while-how sad and lonely the rest of our lives can get. But remember…I was still in pain, and needed to recover, myself. So…I called up each of my friends, and I apologized that I wouldn’t be able to join them; and I made a special point to call George, and apologize to him and wish him well. Then…I laid back down in bed.

You see, in this case, my needs were greater. I’m feeling much better, now.

And this has given me a much better perspective on the way people interact with one another! You see, most people only think about what they, themselves, are feeling about a given situation or event. Yes, they may consider the feelings of others, or try to see their point of view; or, they may try to intercept their path to anger through a number of different techniques; but is it possible they may actually be missing the entire point altogether? What if, instead of an emotional reaction…we were to consider the needs of ourselves and that person we’re interacting with, and ask, “is his/her need greater than mine?” Maybe the friend in the first scenario isn’t rejecting the offer to hang out because he/she “Values” my friendship less…but because someone or something NEEDS his/her attention more! Thus, my “worth” is not a factor in the friend’s decision, and my Self-Worth is not impaired just because the friend saw to the greater needs in his/her day.

So that’s it! “Count the NEEDS!”

By considering how greater need affects the the actions and decisions of those we interact with, we can remove the stimulation that leads to anger when things don’t go our way, and still enjoy our time with people when things do go our way!

It may be a simple as counting up…what really counts!

——

And speaking of needs…I need to address one other topic that came out of that class today.

While considering scenarios that lead to anger, and the false thinking that may trigger the anger itself, I threw out the scenario of freeway driving. I think we all (those of us who drive, anyway) have experienced an event where someone cuts us off in traffic, or crosses lanes without looking or signaling, or makes rude and obscene gestures, or…any number of other annoying and dangerous acts that it is possible for drivers whom we consider less capable than ourselves to perform.

And…one of the “False Thinking” things that I put up into the discussion was, I often feel that other drivers are…: “STUPID!”

Well…okay, while it is true that not everyone is Stupid…I argued that each and every one of us…ISSTUPID…at one point or another in our lives. YES, NO EXCEPTION, PEOPLE! I even include myself in that description; and upon leaving the class for that day, I lived that very example! I did something stupid while driving.

Now…before I get into how a stupid act becomes “I am stupid”, I ought to explain that, when it comes to language, and the ENGLISH language in particular, I consider myself a PURIST. I use words with their purest, and most undistorted meanings possible. When words become so distorted and polluted that they no longer convey the meaning I need to express…I find clearer words to use!

So, follow, if you will, my use of the term “Stupid.” Stupidity, is both a condition, and an action. If I-or others-perform an action that I consider to be “stupid”, then I am acting “Stupidly.” The condition of acting stupidly is synonymous with the act of “being stupid.” Yes, that is one of the definitions for “stupid” given in any good English dictionary. Therefore…if I am BEING Stupid…it follows (By definition of “IS” and “BE”) that for that brief time, I AM…STUPID! Does it not? Of course it does!

So…by virtue of the very nature of those of us in the Human Race, I postulate that each and every one of us, at one time or another…WAS STUPID!!!

I mean…it’s what we do. I am no exception!

Case in point…upon leaving the class for that day, I lived that very example! I did something stupid while driving. I was waiting to make a left turn onto Sprague Avenue, one of the busiest streets East of downtown Spokane, when I saw a possible opening in the Eastbound traffic. I knew that the light a block West of me was going to change, so…when I saw a small hole in the Westbound lanes, I gunned it! Well, I knew immediately I was being stupid. I mean, the car coming up behind me in the nearest lane couldn’t have been more than a few car lengths from where I crossed over into the outside (far) lane! I’m grateful my car has good acceleration and guts, or I might have caused another Spokane Traffic Statistic! But…he didn’t slam into the back of my bumper; though I probably gave him one hell of a scare. I certainly gave myself one hell of a scare.

What I did…was STUPID. It was reckless, thoughtless, dangerous…and unnecessary. Well, as Forrest Gump said in that famous movie… “Stupid is as stupid does.” And our good English dictionary confirms that it also follows, as stupid does, so stupid is. In that act of careless driving…I was…pretty stupid.

This is what it is to be Human, everyone. We all to stupid things. We also do things that are pretty cleaver at times, too. So I feel justified, in my precise, and unflinching English, to say to you all, that each and every one…at one time, or another…has been stupid, smart, jaded, innocent, obnoxious, helpful, WRONG, (and right, naturally)….and a great many other conditions that really just come with the territory-the condition of being HUMAN!

Really…it’s what we do! I’m right in that boat there with you. No offense implied or intended.

SASS has Spoken.

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The Most Spectacular Misunderstanding…EVER!

Today, while reading my bible—the one with liner notes that help clear up any misconceptions—I noticed something.  A misconception.

Well…first, let me show you what I was reading.  It comes from the Biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt; or more specifically, the chapter in which God introduces himself to Moses—from a burning bush:

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

~ Exodus 3:13-15 [New International Version]

Okay…so the burning bush story is familiar to most of us who’ve grown up in Western society, even if we’re not all practicing Christians or Fundamental Jews.  As is, of course, the epic crossing of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments, and so on.  How is this misunderstood?

Well…take those Ten Commandments.  PLEASE!  Take ’em…you can have—

No, no!  I didn’t mean it like that…seriously!  😉

I meant that, in those Commandments, God has something to say about His name—that’s right, the same name He gave Moses to introduce His Almighty Self to the Israelites:

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

~ Exodus 20:7 – the Fourth Commandment [New International Version]

Notice anything interesting here?  Hmmm?  Not yet?  Well…you will.

You see…in any version, and in nearly every language, God introduces Himself as “I AM”—the present-perfect sense of the verb “to be”.

“Well,” you say, “maybe it’s specifically referring to the Hebrew language word for it?”

Actually, that’s what most people think.  It’s what the Israelites thought.  In conjunction with what the Fourth Commandment told them, they took it so seriously, they stopped using the word.  LITERALLY!  The people of Israel took the Fourth so seriously, they stopped saying “I AM” outside of prayer and worship activities, until the sound of the word itself was lost, and all we have left of the original Hebrew name for God is the four consonants written in the Hebrew scriptures for it: “YHWH”.

Wikipedia has a great article on this Hebrew name for God, including images of that Hebrew script for it.  Regarding their reverence for the name of God, Wikipedia has this to say:

Jews ceased to use the name in the Greco-Roman period, replacing it with the common noun Elohim, “god”, to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others; at the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered, and was replaced in spoken ritual by the word Adonai (“My Lord”), or with haShem (“the Name”) in everyday speech.

They stopped using it.  The Israelites stopped using “I AM”.  And even today, people are loath to say “God” or “Jehovah” or “Jesus” unless they’re really calm or reverent—or, really, really PISSED!

And that’s the part that I think was a terrible mistake.

You see…I don’t think God made a mistake when he used one of the most ubiquitous and irreplaceable symbols in the Hebrew language system to describe Himself.   He referred to himself as “I am what I am” or, as I prefer from the King James version “I Am THAT I Am”.

Seemingly, God…is equating Himself with Existence itself.

He told Moses “I Am that I am”, and that he could introduce his God simply as “I AM”: I Exist, I Was, I Will Be, and Am Here And Now.  He told them His Name was the same as Existence itself—that everything that is was His, that He made it, owned it, and without Him it wasn’t to be.

God…would “BE”.

In Modern English, we can’t speak at all without using derivatives of the verb “To Be” in our sentences.

Think about it.  Here I am, writing about the name of God, and where would I “be” without that one little word?  I WOULDN’T!  Literally, the opposite of “I AM” is “I AM NOT”—non-existence, nothing, never there.  Without “I AM” I could not communicate my existence, your existence, nor the existence or state of anything in the Human Experience.

God meant to do that.  And He meant us to remember Him whenever we talk about OUR existence, too!

THAT was why He chose such a word.  God never intended Humans to stop saying His name.  He never wanted us to shy away from Him out of reverence, or fear, or shame.  The Fourth Commandment says what it means, and means what it says.  Every single time we speak of our existence, or our state of mind, or our place in the universe—every time we use ANY derivative of “Be”…is, am, are, was, were, will be, couldn’t be, has been…WHATEVER!—we ARE speaking the Proper Name of our God, just as He intended from the beginning!

God’s EXISTENCE  is tied into the very framework of our own!  With that Fourth Commandment, God permanently and explicitly tied reverence to the concept of “Is”, of being, so that whenever we spoke of something that is, we must inevitably think of the Almighty God that made it POSSIBLE for it to be.

His name is “IS”.  “I AM”…I-Exist-And-All-That-Exists-Exists-Because-I-Am.  That is the proper name of God, and this is why I believe Israel—and all the people who followed Israel’s lead on the matter—have mis-interpreted not only the intent of the Fourth Commandment, but have misunderstood the entire meaning of God’s name, and his relationship to Creation.  We can’t “not” use God’s name!  It’s impossible to speak coherently without saying it.  It is impossible to contemplate, without experiencing it.  To be, or not to Be…we can’t without God—and that was the idea.

What a SPECTACULAR misunderstanding!  These people thought the name of their Lord was too precious to speak aloud.

I know now that it is too prescious…NOT to speak it.

I shall speak the name of my Lord—loudly, openly, and proudly.  I shall speak it in every way, each and every day.  And I shall remember this name, and I will keep it always Holy in my heart.  Never will I take existence in vain—mine, nor His.

If I am truly the product of God’s Hand, then here is a lesson not taken lightly.  God commanded me to BE, and created me—a Human “BE”ing

This…is what I Am

SASS has Spoken.

— the SASS Man

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The SASS is Here…

A new day has dawned.

I know that statement is cliche and overused, but every morning it happens again … a brand new day.  And on this particular day, I’ve started my own Web-Log.

This actually comes as a surprise to me, as, while I’ve posted responses to many blogs, I’ve never seen the necessity of starting my own.  That is, until my collegue advised me that I should start a blog for my employer, and I wound up creating one of my own.  A forum, if you will, for the many words of wisdom I’ve gathered, and a few words of ignorance, I’m certain, to be displayed for all of the world to see.  In the words of an ancient “tagline” from the pre-Internet days of dial-up bulletin boards and WWIVnet, “Open mouth, insert foot … echo internationally.”  Well, in this case, there is no echo … you’ll hear it all directly from ol’ SASS himself.  Unless you read some quote out there on somebody else’s blog.

I have alot of quotes.  Some of them are downright funny.  Take, for instance, the immortal words of one Samuel Clements.  You might know him better as the legendary Mark Twain.  Back in his day, they weren’t all complaining about how stupid the President’s foreign policy was.  Nope.  Their scapegoat was Congress.  For instance, Twain once said, “There is no distinctly American criminal class.  Except Congress.”  Of course, in his day, many of them were in the pockets of major corporations and trade groups (read: monopolies) like US Steel and Standard Oil.  (Any correlations to Haliburton here?)

Also, few lawmakers in the 1800s had the education we now take for granted.  We once even had an illiterate president!  Said Twain: “Let’s say you were an idiot, and lets say you were a member of Congress … but I repeat myself….”  And then there’s Bush.  So … we have us in 2007, and we have Twain in 1887.  Has anything really changed?  Why, YES!  NOW we can blog about it internationally!  In his day, Twain had to wait for his comments to appear in the Saturday Evening Post (Anyone remember that one?  My grandmother had a subscription….)

And, so I blog.  You will learn my politics (I consider myself a cultural Anarchist with a touch of Avant-Garde), my professional life (I do computer stuff … duh), and my inner self (there’s something deeply religious in there, if I can sift through the insanity to find it … you have to be a little mad these days to see the world objectively).  I am SASS.  I am THE Sass.  Observer.  Corresponder.  Correlator.  And I blog.

Hello, world.

SASS has Spoken.

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