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William James’s Personal Bout with a “Mental Disorder”

William James, psychologist and philosopher, passed away over a century ago.  Nevertheless, his remarkable body of work remains as fresh as fruit plucked from its tree but moments ago. His views about his personal bout with a challenging experience developed over many years.  Today I think it will be instructive if we spent a little time reviewing what he learned. A Glimpse at James’s Early…

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Providing Negative Criticism: The Newest Guidelines

Readers of this blog well know that I often discuss immature and mature ways to provide negative criticism. Originally, I presented a post titled PROVIDING NEGATIVE CRITICISM: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY.  There, in addition to providing an outline of what I believed was a good starting point to think about this topic, I asked readers for suggestions on how the outline could be improved. Many…

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Conflict Resolution and The Wisdom of Abraham

Sometimes we observe people doing things that seem terribly wrong. We may then find, welling up from within, an urgent desire to provide negative criticism. In earlier posts, in an effort to provide some guidance on how to avoid expressing our concerns in a form that can potentially make a bad situation far worse, I provided a description of 5 levels of maturity for providing…

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Providing Criticism with Shouting, Insults and Threats: Is There a Place for It?

“Left turn!” hollers the drill sergeant to his new recruits. Private Smith begins to turn right, but catches his mistake as he notices the other recruits turning in the correct manner.  He manages, although a bit clumsily, to end up turning left. “Boy, don’t you know your left from your right?” the drill sergeant shouts in Private Smith’s face. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.” “I’m so glad…

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On Responding to the N-word

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a columnist, author of three novels and winner of numerous awards including the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.  When I heard a couple of weeks ago that he was speaking at Flagler College, having enjoyed reading his insightful column for many years, I eagerly went to see him.  Mr. Pitts’s formal presentation was well received.  Then, he began to take questions…

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PUTTING DOWN NON-GROUP MEMBERS

On this blog, I have often discussed various reasons why someone might throw insults at you, and, depending on the reason, how to maturely deal with these challenging experiences (see for example, “Insults: A Comic Strip Guide“).  If John is throwing an insult at you because he is in a bad mood, just asking in a concern manner, “Is everything OK, John, you sound like…

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NELSON MANDELA AND THE ART OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” (From Nelson Mandela’s speech to European Parliament, 1990.) As I write this post, we are in the middle of South Africa’s 10-day mourning period for Nelson Mandela. Although I myself have…

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GIVING SOMEONE THE COLD SHOULDER: WISE OR FOOLISH?

In the above scenario, as Dagwood gets into bed, rather than greet him with warm, open arms, Blondie has turned her back to him.  Because she has become angry with him, all that Dagwood is going to get from Blondie on this night is Blondie’s cold shoulder. What Does it Mean to Give Someone the Cold Shoulder? When we are in a relationship, if someone…

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RESPONDING TO INSULTS WITH QUIET SADNESS

A couple of weeks ago, I provided readers of this blog a post titled, “How I Met Cool Steve.”  There, I told a story from one of my novels about a teenager, Jeff Star.  At one point, Jeff is in an angry mood because his teacher gave him so much homework, and perhaps he is also having some jealous feelings about how much respect the…

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OPENNESS TO THE OTHER: BYPASSING ANGER BY REMAINING CONFIDENTLY ENGAGED

This week we have a special treat, a guest blog post by Dr. Robin Lynn Treptow, PhD.  Dr. Treptow describes herself as a peace psychologist who lives in Montana with her family.  She believes that sustainable world-wide peace is achievable via psychological wisdom, and she labors one-on-one in each human interaction towards this goal. Here’s a little background to Dr. Treptow’s post: A couple of…

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