Biological Widgets: We are born with biological pre dispositions. They can be stubborn to change. We can try and avoid them and choose to do things differently, tune them out, or improve on them. Once you know your widgets and which ones to change use the links below to change or improve on them. http://psychotoons.blogspot.com explains what the widgets are in detail.
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(I) Tune Out We can learn to tune out our disturbing traits, such as obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Saying STOP IT to ourselves, turning our heads to situations we need not be disturbing, such as children's messy play. Or with anxiety we can proceed to do something even if we feel fear or discomfort, such as stay at the party and talk to people when we would rather go home. We may talk to relatives we disapprove of and refuse to disrespect them.
(A) Free Will Will Free is obtained when you can control your widgets or instincts and urges so that you can get the most out of any situation rather than have conflict. You will be free to use diplomacy and to nurture others to better the situation. For a better view of Free Will see Psychotoons Cartoon at http://psychotoonsconsciousness.blogspot.com/
(B) Risk Risk is just that, risk change until it feels normal.
(II) Improve Widgets
(A) UPPER NATURE
(1) Ant/Bee: Improve Perception
(a) Ethnography Ethnography is the science of observation of social interactions and groups. It is the anthropology of your own culture. Basically it is to see a situation from all factors you can think of, such as time, space, male versus female, age, personality types, intelligence, etc. Then you look to see how other's behaviors change or how they are the same going from one factor to another. Such as, people dress differently from place to place, or/and from childhood to adult hood, depending on the historical age (ancient to modern) and depending if they are male or female, etc. If you take count of the number of males versus females that change clothes in one day you will begin to see patterns. For better detail find a book on Field Ethnography, usually at a university bookstore or google it. Once you see patterns you can predict others better. At http://psychotoons.blogspot.com/ I have cartoons to help with see the factors in personality.
(2) Macho: Control Fears You can control fears by not trying to, just accept them as fears and not reality. Easier said they done? If you are prone to general anxiety it is natural to feel such but not necessarily related to reality. Its uncomfortable but not deadly and dwelling on it only increases it. Ignoring it eventually leads to calming it down. Don't worry about worry.
(a) Flooding Flooding is when you over expose yourself to the fearful object until it is commonplace to you.
(b) Desensitizing Desensitizing is similar but not so dramatic. Be gently about it. It is similar to risking, you get close or do it and see that it did not lead to disaster.
(c) Predicting Predicting is being observant and knowing when something can or can not happen. If you fear driving in snow go to a safe place and drive wild and zany until you know how your car will react. Then when on the road notice that others are not sliding off. If you are afraid of elevators but know they have brakes and can not free fall you are less likely to freak out in one.
(d) Baby Steps The secret to baby steps is to divide the task into small less threatening steps. Then only do those small steps to the point of starting to get anxious. If anxiety starts in stop the task and let the anxiety subside. Then start again. That way anxiety does not overwhelm you and keep you from doing anything at all. Say you have a big paper due, one step is to go to the library. If that gets too overwhelming half way there, stop and do the rest later, the next try there is no anxiety going as far as you went before, it starts to build up from the new point on.
(3) Cuddles: Learn to Love Learning to love comes naturally, babies are not taught, our pets are not taught. If we find it hard to love then we have learned not to love, by odd beliefs such as they do not matter, or we are afraid to love such as being hurt by others. Those hurts and the ghosts of the past who hurt us have to be forgiven, which means we have to see why "they" could not help it because they were hurt or damaged somehow. To get back that loving feeling we may have to gaze at the other person's eyes, see the cute child they once were, see their limits and strengths and that they are struggling to do what works and are only ignorant or they would be the best person ever, realize we are in the same shoes and forgive our own problems that stop us from loving, and be objective and real.
(4) Geru: Learn to Learn Learning to learn is a skill everyone needs to learn to enjoy. Sounds silly but it really is a skill that we lose as we get older. Children love to learn, they call it play. As adults we often call it work, or we make it work, or we make it threatening. We may have learned to be stubborn and stand up so much for what we believe that we can never be wrong enough to learn more. If we can not learn more or different things we can not grow, and others will find us unworkable and give up on us, the 'can't learn an old dog new tricks' motto. But we can learn at any age if we are open to it. I am not saying we should give up our values, ideals, or other such useful tools of thought but I am suggesting we have more complex thoughts about things, a deeper understanding if you may. We need an overview, a model of what life and others are about and we need to keep adding to that body of knowledge and refining it to the benefit of self and all others. The final goal is the survival of the human race in as much happiness and glory as possible. To be fair is to be open to letting everyone reach their potential, as long as it does not limit others, as long as it is fair also.
(a) ABC's The ABC(s) is a technique of looking at our beliefs when they do not give us positive results. It is used with anger management but can be useful with other problems. It goes like this; A, the action another does, is not C, the cause of your anger. The cause of you anger is B, the belief that they should or should not be the way they are and you D, demand with anger that they meet your E, expectations or 'should(s)' and therefore the F, fight begins followed by Going to say HI to the Judge for violence. We have to believe that all people do what they think is right for the time and place and if they do not do what works it is ignorance. If we knew how to make it work we would of done it. We also have to forgive ourselves for being ignorant and expand our knowledge.
(b) Play Play is what children do best and an instinct we tend to put aside with age thinking it is kids stuff. That is a big mistake, play is how the brain works. Play lifts up our mood, fights depression, and is how the brain best learns, trying out different combinations in different situations looking for the best fit to reality and the task we are trying to do. How do we learn to play? It comes natural, you learn to stop preventing yourself from play. Do the ABC's above to counter any thoughts or beliefs that prevent you from doing what comes naturally. Laugh at yourself, only laugh at others if they are willing to laugh at themselves and with you. Read comic and humor books. Get back into it.
(c) Research Research is the act of inquiry without bias, if possible. That means we ask others questions and review their answers with their and our own bias in mind so we can try and melt out the truth. This takes practice over time. We can also read books that seem to be non biased and written for the good of others and not for the good of the writer to expound on their ghosts of their past and other biases of fear and beliefs. In research, it is much like ethnography above in 2,A,a. We basically take note of as much data as possible, categorize it, see how the categories agree and disagree to melt out a pattern. A simple example is we may notice that girls play certain games and activities that boys do or do not play. We may notice that they both play board games of some sort but girls play with dolls more and boys with guns more. It this is consistent over time, space, and cultures we can say with a certain amount of confidence that girls prefer dolls and boys guns and it is probable a genetic disposition. Other research may confirm this, such as at birth little girls stare at people more and little boys at objects etc.
(5) Turtle: Patience Building This can be hard for the manic or ADHD person. You want to approach the problem using all four stages of the brain. Lets say you are waiting for someone to arrive or to get ready to leave with you. Looking for interesting things in the environment or with the person you are waiting on and trying to see patterns, as in ethnography above, looking for an interesting emotion by thinking of interesting thoughts to entertain you, of fiddling with a gadget, such as a phone. But you must really be careful how you think about the person you are waiting for so that you do not get judgmental and activate yourself with the expectations that bring on anger to force them to hurry up, as in the ABC's above you need to questions your beliefs.
(6) Rabbit: Acting On It
(a) Practice Practice may not make perfect but it makes perfect sense to practice. The brain connections in practice become super highways that flow with ease and take less concentration and energy to run. Once you see your goals, value them, and plan them it is time to act. You can use the baby steps above if you are unsure of what you are doing and therefore hesitant. It is usually hard to tread in unfamiliar territory. It feels awkward and silly to plan and do things no one else has done before you. You may feel stupid and feel others will make fun of you.
(b) Risk Forge ahead. Fear of failure may intimidate you. Just remember a winner fails more than a looser because a looser gives up sooner and does not learn from mistakes. Just as you learned to walk with trial and error so it is with most things. The failures teach us what went wrong to give us a clue to what might work.
(B) LOWER NATURE
(a) Being Honest Honesty is a must if you need to coordinate with others and get the best out of them and yourself. People can not plan what needs to be done that works with false information. Trust is at the bottom of honesty. Lies are a survival behavior when the enemy needs to be fooled. We can trust others as far as we can predict them. You can trust anyone to behave right under the conditions they are conditioned to behave right. All your upper nature widgets need to be sharpened, to see patterns, empathetically know how they feel, and therefore how they will think and act. Risk trusting in small amounts and when that proves safe trust some more. If things go badly then reassess and try again to predict and trust.
(b) Monitoring Self Children must learn to monitor themselves as they talk to correct grammar, choice of words, and content so they do not tell and relish big stories. We actually have to continue this practice into adulthood or we will begin to exaggerate, swear, or out right lie. People that are in a manic state of bi-polar, or ADHD, or other wise excited have a tendency to do just that because their brains are going faster than their awareness or what they are saying and need to take extra care to monitor themselves to tell enough truth to give the other person a sense of reality so they can make good decisions.
(2) Raccoon: Caring for Others
(a) Getting over Disassociation or F-it Attitude The number one reason for not caring is like a flashback of the past when caring lead to a lot of pain. Our brains have a fuse box inside that turns off our emotions when a situation is too dangerous to harbor emotions. In a fire we may respond to the task of helping others with disregard to the dangers. That is the main function of disassociation, survival of ourselves and others. But when a child is repeatedly abused and hurt they may have to turn off the emotions to emotionally survive the pain. When that child grows up they may still have the fuse box turned off in certain situations. We have to turn them back on. We can consciously do this sometimes by repeating to ourselves as we risk the caring behavior by saying, "I am no longer a child and they are not my parent," or who ever did the abuse. With practice this may work. If not you may want to seek a counselor to help you better define the events in the past and who forced them on you. Sitting in a dim or dark quiet room, or with relaxing music, you may retrieve these memories on your own. Then you want to forgive who ever they were because they were darn ignorant to hurt such a beautiful thing as a child, teenager, or young adult who could not at the time consider the source and ignore them or feel sorry for their oppressors. It helps to repeat the phrase, "All people do what they think is right for the time and the moment, if they do not they are ignorance of what works."
(b) Building Trust When we stop blaming and begin to see the many factors in why people do what they do we begin to realize they are all sincere in what they are doing, even in deception, they see the world differently. If we begin to see their world we begin to predict them better. We can trust as far as we can accurately predict them.
(a)Being Realistic Being realistic is a bird's eye view, looking at all the facts, patterns, cause and effects, and filtering out your biases. You need a model of what the world of things and people are about. Science does that with the physical world and tries to do it with the behavioral world of humans. When it comes to morals, values, and other spiritual matters being realistic is choosing a religion that works for you. A realistic religion is one that understands the heart of people and gives instructions on how to live, forgive, and love. Most of psychology comes from the Christian bible and its principles. The ancients had lots of time to observe others and melt out the simple laws of nature and really of genetics. To reinvent the wheel and start from scratch each generation spells too much work and to slow to help realistically. If we changed the word God in the bible to the phrase 'what works' it all begins to make sense and it is all more emotionally satisfying. From models of science and religion we build from them our working model of ourselves and our world. Basically, be open minded, observe, feel, think, and do and start all over with the new information just gathered. To just say the your lucky rabbits foot is all you need is to invite disappointment and chaos.
(b) Faulty Thinking Faulty thinking is an inborn way of seeing self and others. When we fail or are, say, late to something we know why we failed or are late and so we dismiss it as acceptable. But if another fails or are late we feel they had no excuse or perhaps they were late because of a character flaw or because they did not care enough, maybe because they do not like us. Thus bias and prejudice begin. If we begin to look at the other as having legitimate excuses we stop blaming them. We excuse ourselves but tell others they are lazy or unrealistic to come up with excuses. To accept their excuses we have to see their limitations, intentions, and how hard they really did try. We know that for ourselves.
(4) Coyote: Being Assertive It comes natural to be a bully, to deceive, blame, and justify our wrong actions. Small children do it with ease and no one taught them. But to be more intelligent, more gracious, and nurturing takes more effort. Anyone can burn a city down with one match but it takes intelligence, planning, and lots of effort by lots of people to build a great city. To be assertive and not a bully takes a little practice.
When we are aggressive others get defensive and it turns the greater part of the brain off. Same with us, if we are a bully we are already defensive and not thinking. But to nurture another our aggression is automatically turned off. Assertiveness is designed to help us nurture and get nurtured back so we do not get defensive. Assertive talk is to say, 'When you said or did such and such I felt this way.' There is no deceiving, greed, or blame. They then can answer you in a like manner. 'When you had said or done such and such I felt such and such and answered such and such.' You can take your actions and utterances back to the first domino that started the misunderstandings. You can also talk about how to change the environment so you both feel better.
When you are real sophisticated you can say 'When you said or did something I felt such and such because I have flashbacks from the past when in the past my parents or other did this or that.' The next personality type, Emotional Personality, will look at some of these flashback situations.