Thursday, September 24, 2009

What a difference it makes to switch the order of the words "just" and "not"...
Be your own hero first.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Awkwardness as a Consultant

Awkwardness, naturally, is uncomfortable. But perhaps it is time to desensitize ourselves to this social distress and see the utility (and therefore positivity) of this construct that gets a bad rap.

To understand how awkwardness may be useful, I will first acknowledge that there are several different strains of awkwardness: that which results when a guy encounters a second girl he's seeing while he is out with another girl is conceptually different from that which ensues when a girl refuses a social situation that presents a moral dilemma in some way. The focus here is on the latter-type instance. In this latter case, what does awkwardness truly represent? It is a dissonance between one's personal belief and that which is presented as the presented/available/preferred circumstances of/by an interactant with this person. So that there is minimal ambiguity, such might occur when a romantic couple gets into an argument and one of the dyad feels such discomfort that, despite his/her deepest values contradicting whatever the other believes, he or she acquiesces and distances him-/herself from these values.

The way the situation is presented above, of course, makes it seem obvious that deviating from one's values would be a poor choice and it may even seem like an easy problem to field. But how often has anyone encountered a similar situation of varying degree? It is more common than you think (just one example is that you don't want to make a "scene" with a store clerk by saying something even though they dropped your fresh fruit such that you are now the owner of bruised fruit (maybe you could get new fruit), or stretched a sweater as they wrapped it such that it no longer will look good on you (again, there is the possibility to replace it). Such situations are ones that one may encounter on a typical day.

While some of these instances are relatively benign/low-impact, others have more potentially serious ramifications for not transcending the awkwardness (a girl saying "no" to a guy in applicable situations, etc.) Regardless of the gravity of the consequences, however, it is important to train to assess the situation properly. Each instance is an opportunity to access one's beliefs; they are accessible, for they are a requisite for the feeling of awkwardness. To the extent that you allow the dysphoria of awkwardness to overwhelm you, you may not make a good decision, for the decision likely goes against your values. The point need not be elongated further: in short, if you resign yourself to the fact that awkwardness is going to be awkward, you can to an extent immunize yourself to its deleterious effects in decision-making. You can then generate the (obviously) logical conclusion to stay with -instead of stray from- your values. Becoming more comfortable with awkwardness is the antecedent to a host of superior decisions that you will, in retrospect, be happy to have made.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sometimes the "right thing" to do is not the correct thing to do...oh, when conscience is maladaptive! The goodness of conscience may be importantly qualified by the fact that we only get one life and we must do what makes sense for us...this may seem paradoxical with my post on doing the right thing the wrong way being superior to doing the wrong thing the right way. But the contrast of the correct thing to the "right thing" above is not necessarily equating it to doing the wrong thing, in light of the qualification :)