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When talking about painful events in their lives, why do most people smile?

When talking about painful events in their lives, why do most people smile?


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I watched this video recently, and a common reaction in almost all of the strangers was that they were smiling, while talking about the most painful things they were told in their lives. My question is, why is that?

Is it because they have accepted these events and have learned to move on, or do they act out this courage because they do not want to feel inferior socially? Could it be a psychological mechanism to cope up?


What To Do When Your Husband Blames You: 4 Things To Do Starting Now!

We all hurt each other at times. If you are in a relationship long enough, something will be said or done that has the potential to wound the other person. It’s a part of life. I don’t say that as an excuse. We should seek to live in a way that is loving, not selfish.

What do you do if your spouse does blame you and you haven’t done anything wrong?

1) Walk Away

It’s okay to walk away from an explosive situation. If your spouse constantly demeans, blames, and ridicules you, take a break and walk away from the conversation.

2) Realize It’s His Issue

I know this is hard at times. Words wound us. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of believing you are the reason they are unhappy. Go back and read the first part of this article. Remind yourself that each of us is responsible for our own happiness.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to please our spouse and do things that honor them this should be our aim.

When your spouse continually blames you for their unhappiness, remind yourself it is their problem, not yours.

3) Ask them to explain.

You can only do this IF they are the type of person who will calm down enough to have a genuine conversation. If they are only interested in hurting you with their words, do not attempt this.

Sometimes asking your spouse to explain will not only help you understand what they are experiencing but will also help them see things more clearly. We tend to get a better understanding when we try to articulate our feelings.

4) Get Professional Help

I don’t always recommend counseling, but when you live with someone who is always shifting responsibility and is determined to make you feel guilty for their unhappiness, it could be beneficial.

I believe it could help in two ways:

First, they can help you know how to deal with the emotional upheaval in your life.

Developing the skills to deal with false guilt, verbal combat, and self-esteem issues is critical for your mental health.

Second, they can help you get a life plan to deal with this on a long term basis.

You need a strategy and plan on how to deal with your spouse ongoing. A wise counselor will not only help you deal with false guilt, but they can also help you better understand how to deal with that type of person.


Funeral Services Counseling

Phase 2: Building a Helping Relationship
Here the director responds to the family with willingness, concern and care on what needs to be done immediately and what can wait, and answer any questions they may have at this point of time.

Phase 3: Exploration and Assistance in Helping the Family Understand their Alternatives.
In this phase the director listens to the family and explores with the family the variety of alternatives available to them in regards to the funeral. This is the phase for fact gathering, encouraging them to explore their own feelings and try to come to a mutual understanding between the funeral service professional and the survivors.

Phase 4: Consolidation and Planning
The director in conjunction with the family develops a specific action plan for the funeral in a way that best meets the needs, especially the emotional needs at this time.

Phase 5: Implementation and Action
The funeral director, with the assistance of a variety of helping resources within the community, helps the family to follow the planning model that they designed with the director.

Phase 6: Conclusion of the Funeral Service
The director assists the family with a sense of closure upon completion of the funeral. The director may join in the fellowship that often follows the completion of the funeral.


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How and when our emotional triggers form.

Experts On Call

We're launching a new series in which top-tier experts in mental health answer your questions.

Why do we all have triggers? In short, because we were all children once. When we were growing up, we inevitably experienced pain or suffering that we could not acknowledge and/or deal with sufficiently at the time. So as adults, we typically become triggered by experiences that are reminiscent of these old painful feelings. As a result, we typically turn to a habitual or addictive way of trying to manage the painful feelings.


We Experience These 3 Kinds of Love During Our Life and There Is a Specific Reason Why

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single throbbing moment.”

– Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

Authoress Sarah Dessen is spot on that love comes at unexpected times, but may be off the mark about saying that it happens only in a single moment.

Relationship experts suggest that people fall in love a few times in their lives and that there are specifically three kinds of love. Each experience has a different purpose. The quest for true love is never an easy one, and begs the question – which is the right relationship?

Love Trends – How Often Do People Fall in Love?

There are more fish in the sea than you may think. Many people have more than one life partner.

In a survey conducted by Opera North, most people settle down in their late 20s, with 33% of them marrying their first loves. The rest admit to letting their first loves go.

41% of another survey’s participants shared that they fell in love with someone not right for them, with a colleague being a likely partner.

Another finding by prolific ice-cream maker Haagen Daaz revealed that women tend to stay with one partner. Also, more men than women had more than one soulmate in their lives.

Why Finding True Love Seems Difficult

True love seems like an elusive entity for many people. Few know what it means to them they do not know what they are looking for and often search in the wrong places.

Society, with its emphasis on technology and the use of modern devices, has reduced human relationships to an impersonal level. As such, most people do not see the need to meet each other.

As a result, most people do not know what they want in a soulmate. They search for one doggedly, and often blindly. True love is real interaction and requires a physical presence. It entails self-sacrifice and the willingness to make compromises for another party.

The Love Timeline: You Fall In Love 3 Times in Your Life

1. First Love

You probably had your first crush as a starry-eyed teenager. Everyone experiences the magic of young love. It is the sort of love that you may have entered into to conform with the crowd. Young people have a need for social acceptance as such, how others viewed you may have been more important than how you felt.

2. Painful Love

The second sort of love is the love that hurts. It is the love of experience and educates you about yourself. You also learn about others.

You may have met someone who has manipulated or abused you in some way. There may have been vicious cycles of love and hurt in your relationship, but the hope for a miracle prompted you to see it through. You spent an infinite amount of time trying to make it work, but it did not.

Painful love is the love of growth. It may seem unbalanced, but the hurt eventually guides you to make the right choices.

3. Unexpected Love

The third kind of love is the sort of love that comes as a surprise. It may look wrong at the start and may challenge your idea of what love is supposed to be but works out perfectly in the end. The connection between you and your better half is inexplicable.

The two of you just click. Neither of you has expectations of how the other party should behave or act. None of you has lofty ideals.

Signs that Your Relationship is the Right One

With people having three kinds of love, how do you know that you are in the right relationship? The right one hits all the positive notes.

1. Joint Activities

A sign of a relationship working is if a couple enjoys activities together. You and your partner should be doing the things you both like. Hiking, sharing good food and playing basketball are excellent bonding activities for couples.

2. Space

Both of you may enjoy activities together, but need to spend time doing them apart from each other as well. Each must respect the other’s need for space.

3. Productive Fights

Fights are inescapable but can be beneficial. To harness their benefits, make them as productive as possible. They should prompt both of you to grow together. Quarrels should be about establishing a common ground, compromising and having respect for each other.

4. Healthy Friendships

A couple should share friends. That said, each of you should have other friends as well. People in the right relationships will be able to find a balance between their social circles, their partner’s and their shared circle as well.

5. Self-identity

You may be in a relationship, but you should remember that you are an individual. The right relationship focuses on the development of the self. There should be maintenance of self-identity.

6. People Like You Together

Pay attention to the feedback you get from others about their relationship. There will always be some criticism, but a lot of it is a bad sign.

7. Both Parties Grow

A healthy relationship is when you and your partner better each other. One person, for example, may inspire the other to exercise. Both of you should have a shared view of the future.

8. Keeping Secrets

Secrets abound in a relationship. Both of you should strive to be discreet. While discretion may seem trivial, it emphasizes the level of respect two people have for each other.

9. You Enjoy Routine

A relationship is a sound if both of you enjoy doing mundane tasks together. Errands can be fun when done with the right person.

10. You Share Financial Goals

Finances can strain a relationship. You and your partner should exchange ideas about how to grow them. Decide how much to put aside and what to do about retirement savings. Some couples may even share budgets.

So, these are the kinds of love one might experience in their lifetime

A person may need to fall in love more than once to find the right relationship. A few hints will show if it is the right one.

Copyright © 2014-2021 Life Advancer. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

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Here’s Why It Hurts When People Say, “All Lives Matter”

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By Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

“Black Lives Matter”Yes, we do. Period. In its simplest definition, to matter means to be of importance, significance, and consequence. And for many in the African-American community, saying “Black Lives Matter” is our way of declaring that we are important, our issues are important, and neither we as individuals, nor the issues that impact us, will be discarded, overshadowed, treated as nonsense, or accused of “playing the race card” anymore. No. We matter.

Saying “Black Lives Matter” is neither separatist nor racist. It is not anti-white, and, contrary to what some in the media may say, it is definitely not anti-police. It does not denote, promote, or support hatred of or violence against any ethnic group. Let me say that again: it does not promote or support hatred or violence against any group. It is about promoting the love of self and African-American rights to equal justice and fairness.

In no way does valuing the lives of black people in America and the global diaspora mean de-valuing the lives of anyone else. That’s why many of us feel a sense of confusion, bewilderment, and, yes, anger, when people shout “All Lives Matter” as a counter to “Black Lives Matter.” After all, we as African-Americans have supported America in nearly every moment of victory and crisis this country has witnessed.

In nearly every war this country has fought, from the War of Independence to Vietnam and Iraq, African-Americans have jumped at the opportunity to serve and fight for freedom—even when they were being denied those same freedoms at home.

When terrorists attacked America on September 11, African-Americans stood in solidarity with every American on that day and every day since.

Domestically, when horrific shootings erupted in places such as at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook, we cried, grieved, prayed, and supported the families of those who lost their children just like every other American did.

When gunmen opened fire in Orlando two weeks ago, we too prayed, participated in vigils, and changed our social-media avatars to L.G.B.T.-friendly rainbow flags in solidarity.

Even in this era of fierce debate around the issue of police brutality, many of us African-Americans make it a point to articulate our support for the 99 percent of police that do their honorable, thankless job right. And each time police officers have been killed or murdered in the line of duty, from Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in New York in 2014 to Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, and Brent Thompson in Dallas just a week ago, we too mourned and honored those who died. To give just one example, after the events in Dallas, an African-American boy asked his mother if he could hug one of the officers. That led to a long line of people of all colors and backgrounds showing their support for the grieving men and women in blue.

It’s hardly news to African-Americans that all lives matter. Our history of enduring challenges and tragedies allows us to understand what other people and groups endure. But that same understanding compels us to say Black Lives Matter, because the empathy we have shown others has so rarely been reciprocated.

There is a well-documented tendency to view the trials and tribulations of African-Americans in a silo, as African-American issues rather than American issues. So in times of tragedy and crisis, the African-American community often feels left to its own devices for support. Nothing illustrates this cultural “empathy gap” more clearly than social media. You could see it in the immediate aftermath of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

For those 48 hours, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seemed like hell for African-Americans. Scrolling down every person’s feed was like a journey into the depths of despair, grief, pain, anger, and depression. The events were so overwhelming and unbearable that some even posted about breaking down in tears out of nowhere or not being able to function at work. Those who are parents expressed the fear that their sons may be victims one day.

This anguish did not immediately appear on the feeds of many of the white Americans that I know. Not that we were surprised. We saw this before, with Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner. One of the clearest contrasts could be found the weekend after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where so many, mostly black people, lay stranded at the Superdome suffering and dying while, only an hour away in Baton Rouge, L.S.U. was playing a football game filled with 100,000 mostly white people packing its stadium as if nothing else in the world was happening.

It’s almost as if we lived in two different worlds. That’s where things appeared to be headed in 1968, when the Kerner Commission report on civil disorders in America cryptically concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe that explains why, for too many of our fellow Americans, we just don’t seem to matter.

If All Lives Matter, why is the black community continually asked to justify its anger and grief? If All Lives Matter, why does the court system continue to put the victims of racial discrimination and police brutality on trial, rather than punishing their assailants? If All Lives Matter, why do our fellow Americans continually challenge African-Americans to justify our pain instead of empathizing with it?

Do all lives matter? Of course! And you will be hard pressed to find any African-American who would say otherwise. But we will continue to say Black Lives Matter until African-American lives are given the same value as the lives of people from other countries, our police officers, your property, a lion named Cecil, and a gorilla named Harambe.

L-Mani S. Viney is a 20-year veteran educator who runs the Advocates Lounge, a blog dedicated to youth advocacy, development, and education.


The Case for Compassion

It’s hard to document the positive effect that organizational compassion has on employee retention and productivity, but it’s clear that employees will reward companies that treat them humanely. On December 11, 1995, a fire destroyed the Malden Mills manufacturing plant in Massachusetts. Instead of taking his $ 300 million insurance payout and relocating or retiring, owner Aaron Feuerstein decided to rebuild the factory. He announced that he would keep all 3,000 employees on the payroll through December while he started to rebuild. In January, he said he would pay them for a second month, and in February, Feuerstein pledged to pay for a third. His generosity made quite an impact on his employees: Productivity at the plant nearly doubled once it reopened.

Conversely, the costs of not providing leadership and the organizational infrastructure to help people deal with their grief are considerable. People in pain tend to be distracted at work, and if they don’t have appropriate outlets, they may become unresponsive and even uncooperative in dealing with colleagues and customers. Just as compassion can be contagious, so can the detachment that accompanies a noncompassionate response loyalty to the organization erodes not just among people who have directly suffered a tragedy but also among their colleagues who witness the lack of care. Over time, if an organization will not or cannot support the healing process, employee retention will suffer.

At one newspaper, a newsroom manager lost his wife to breast cancer. During his wife’s extended illness, the employee felt no compassion from his boss instead he endured complaints about his relatively low level of production. On his first day back to work after the funeral his boss said, “I guess you’ll be working those 12-hour days again.” The journalist, who was now raising two young children on his own, quit.

In another example, a health care employee finally got pregnant after many years of trying, only to deliver a stillborn baby in her eighth month. When the woman’s boss stopped by her hospital room, she assumed he was there to offer his condolences. Instead he had come to ask her when she would return to work. Shocked at his lack of compassion, the woman applied to be transferred to another unit, and her manager—who ran a very busy and stretched unit—lost a valued employee with more than ten years of experience.

As a colleague of ours once remarked, there is always grief somewhere in the room. One person may be feeling personal pain due to a death in the family. Another may find personality conflicts in the workplace unbearable. Still another may be watching a colleague struggle with a serious illness and not know how to help. You can’t eliminate such suffering, nor can you ask people to check their emotions at the door. But you can use your leadership to begin the healing process. Through your presence you can model behaviors that set the stage for the process of making meaning out of terrible events. And through your actions you can empower people to find their own ways to support one another during painful times. This is a kind of leadership we wish we would never have to use, yet it is vital if we are to nourish the very humanity that can make people—and organizations—great.


Why your most important relationship is with your inner voice

As Ethan Kross, an American experimental psychologist and neuroscientist, will cheerfully testify, the person who doesn’t sometimes find themselves listening to an unhelpful voice in their head probably doesn’t exist. Ten years ago, Kross found himself sitting up late at night with a baseball bat in his hand, waiting for an imaginary assailant he was convinced was about to break into his house – a figure conjured by his frantic mind after he received a threatening letter from a stranger who’d seen him on TV. Kross, whose area of research is the science of introspection, knew that he was overreacting that he had fallen victim to what he calls “chatter”. But telling himself this did no good at all. At the peak of his anxiety, his negative thoughts running wildly on a loop, he found himself, somewhat comically, Googling “bodyguards for academics”.

Kross runs the wonderfully named Emotion and Self Control Lab at Michigan University, an institution he founded and where he has devoted the greater part of his career to studying the silent conversations people have with themselves: internal dialogues that powerfully influence how they live their lives. Why, he and his colleagues want to know, do some people benefit from turning inwards to understand their feelings, while others are apt to fall apart when they engage in precisely the same behaviour? Are there right and wrong ways to communicate with yourself, and if so, are there techniques that might usefully be employed by those with inner voices that are just a little too loud?

The psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Kross: ‘Avoiding our emotions across the board is not a good thing, but let’s think about distance instead.’ Photograph: EthanKross.com

Down the years, Kross has found answers to some, if not all, of these questions, and now he has collected these findings in a new book – a manual he hopes will improve the lives of those who read it. “We’re not going to rid the world of anxiety and depression,” he says, of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It. “This is not a happy pill, and negative emotions are good in small doses. But it is possible to turn down the temperature a bit when it’s running too high, and doing this can help all of us manage our experiences more effectively.”

According to Kross, who talks to me on Zoom from his home in a snowy Ann Arbor, there now exists a robust body of research to show that when we experience distress – something MRI scans suggest has a physical component as well as an emotional one – engaging in introspection can do “significantly” more harm than good. Our thoughts, he says, don’t save us from ourselves. Rather, they give rise to something insidious: the kind of negative cycles that turn the singular capacity of human beings for introspection into a curse rather than a blessing, with potentially grave consequences both for our mental and physical health (introspection of the wrong sort can even contribute to faster ageing).

Does this mean that it’s not, after all, good to talk? That those in therapy should immediately cancel their next appointment? Not exactly. “Avoiding our emotions across the board is not a good thing,” he says. “But let’s think about distance instead. Some people equate this word with avoidance and repression. But I think of it as the ability to step back and reflect, to widen the lens, to get some perspective. We’re not avoiding something by doing this, we’re just not getting overwhelmed.”

Those who are able to quieten their inner voice are happier their sense of relief can be palpable

According to one study, we talk to ourselves at a rate equivalent to speaking 4,000 words per minute (by way of comparison, the American president’s State of the Union address, which usually runs to about 6,000 words, lasts more than an hour). No wonder, then, that listening to it can be exhausting, whether it takes the form of a rambling soliloquy, or a compulsive rehashing of events, a free-associative pinballing from one thought to another or a furious internal dialogue.

But if such noise can be paralysing, it can also be self-sabotaging. What we experience on the inside can blot out almost everything else if we let it. A study published in 2010, for instance, shows that inner experiences consistently dwarf outer ones – something that, as Kross notes, speaks to the fact that once a “ruminative” thought takes hold of us, it can ruin even the best party, the most longed-for new job.

Why do some people have a louder or more troubling inner voice than others? “That’s harder to answer,” he says. “There are so many ways it can be activated, some genetic, some environmental.” What is certain is that these experiences cannot be discounted: “The data is overwhelming when it comes to the connection between anxiety and physical health conditions.” Those who are able to quieten their inner voice are happier their sense of relief can be palpable.

‘Our thoughts don’t save us from ourselves,’ says Ethan Kross. Photograph: Getty

What is interesting about the science involved in all this is how it both backs up, and goes against, intuition. Much of Kross’s book is devoted to what he calls the “toolbox” of techniques that can be used to dial down chatter, and while some of these seem to contradict all that we think and feel – “venting”, for instance, can do a person more harm than good, because talking about negative experiences with friends can often work as a repellent, pushing away those you need most – others confirm that when we act on certain instincts, we’re right to do so.

To take one example, if you are the kind of person who slips into the second or third person when you are in a flap (“Rachel, you should calm down this is not the end of the world”), you really are doing yourself some good. What Kross calls “distanced self-talk” is, according to experiments he has run, one of the fastest and most straightforward ways of gaining emotional perspective: a “psychological hack” that is embedded in “the fabric of human language”. Talking to yourself like this – as if you were another person altogether – isn’t only calming. Kross’s work shows that it can help you make a better impression, or improve your performance in, say, a job interview. It may also enable you to reframe what seems like an impossibility as a challenge, one to which, with your own encouragement, you may be able to rise.

Some of his other techniques are already well known: the power of touch (put your arms around someone) the power of nature (put your arms around a tree). Activities that induce “awe” – a walk in the mountains, say, or time spent in front of a magnificent work of art – are also useful, helping with that sense of perspective. Writing a daily journal can prove efficacious for some (something that felt terrible one day physically becoming old news the next), while neat freaks like me will be thrilled to discover that what he calls “compensatory control” – the creation of exterior order, better known as tidying up – really does have an impact on interior order. Reorganise your sock drawer, and you may find that your voice quietens.

The model Heidi Klum is said to take her milk teeth as a lucky charm when she flies, clutching them during turbulence. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Research shows, too, that superstitions, rituals and lucky charms can be useful, though most of us will draw the line at, say, taking our milk teeth with us when we fly, as the model Heidi Klum is said to (she keeps hers in a tiny bag, which she clutches during turbulence). Placebos have been found to work on chatter, just as they do in the case of some physical illnesses. In one study in which Kross was involved, a saline nasal spray acted as a kind of painkiller for the inner voice: data from brain scans showed that those who’d inhaled it, having believed they were inhaling a painkiller, displayed significantly less activity in their brain’s social-pain circuitry compared with those who knew they had inhaled only a saline solution.

No wonder, then, that Kross believes children should be taught the science behind all of these ideas, and in the US he has already begun working with teachers to make this happen: “We want to find out if knowing this stuff influences how they regulate themselves.” Does he make use of the toolbox? (Physician, heal thyself.) “We should probably ask my wife,” he laughs. “But yes, I do, absolutely. I’m human, too.” In particular, he is “very selective” when it comes to friends from whom he seeks “chatter support”.

Everyday feelings of sadness are elevated for many, but there is also a lot of resilience – we often underestimate that

Kross finished his book long before the outbreak of the pandemic, let alone the storming of the Capitol. But as he observes, it could hardly be published at a more opportune moment. “This is the perfect chatter episode for society: a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, political uncertainty, widespread groupthink.” His most cited paper to date looked at the harmful implications of social media, often “a giant megaphone” for the inner voice – Facebook expressly asks its users: “What’s on your mind?” – and an environment that he thinks we need to learn to navigate with more care.

As for the pandemic, though, he is less pessimistic than some about the effects it is likely to have long-term on mental health. “We are already seeing signs that depression and anxiety are spiking,” he says. “Everyday feelings of sadness are elevated for many, and then there are more full-blown episodes. But there is also a lot of resilience, and we often underestimate that. A lot of people are doing quite well. They’re managing this hardship in an adaptive way. I am an optimist. We will return, I think, to a nicer place, though how quickly that will happen, I only wish I could say.”

Which technique should the pandemic-anxious deploy? “Well, one that I personally rely on is temporal distancing,” he says. This requires a person to look ahead: to see themselves determinedly in the future. Studies show that if you ask those going through a difficult experience how they will feel about it in 10 years’ time, rather than tomorrow, their troubles immediately seem more temporary. Does this really help him? “Yes, it does. I ask myself how I am going to feel a year from now, when I’m back in the office, and I’m seeing my colleagues, and travelling again, and taking my kids to soccer – and it gives me hope.”

It is, as he says in his book, a form of time travel: a mental Tardis that, if only we can manage to board it, may make everything from a bereavement right down to a silly argument seem less brutal, just a little easier to bear.


On the Word ‘Meaning’

To dive into the concept of the meaning (of life), we have to deal with semantics first. That is, we have to make sure that we are on the same page.

First of all, the word ‘meaning’ in English is incredibly confusing. It simply means different things and those different things can mean different things as well. Confused yet? Good.

As Leontiev suggested, German and Russian are more convenient languages to use when we talk about meaning, because they have different words for different kinds of meaning.

(So does the Dutch language by the way). I’ll be a doll and stick to English for now.

So What do We Mean?

The meaning we are focused on when discussing the meaning of life is it’s ‘relevance, significance or value’. Thus, to avoid confusion, a clearer version of these questions is: “What is life’s relevance, significance or value?”

Later in this article, you will discover why that is not the right question either, but it suffices for now.

Philosophers, psychotherapists, and researchers have been dealing with this question for millennia and have identified different kinds of meaning.

Let’s take a look at some of them.


On the Word ‘Meaning’

To dive into the concept of the meaning (of life), we have to deal with semantics first. That is, we have to make sure that we are on the same page.

First of all, the word ‘meaning’ in English is incredibly confusing. It simply means different things and those different things can mean different things as well. Confused yet? Good.

As Leontiev suggested, German and Russian are more convenient languages to use when we talk about meaning, because they have different words for different kinds of meaning.

(So does the Dutch language by the way). I’ll be a doll and stick to English for now.

So What do We Mean?

The meaning we are focused on when discussing the meaning of life is it’s ‘relevance, significance or value’. Thus, to avoid confusion, a clearer version of these questions is: “What is life’s relevance, significance or value?”

Later in this article, you will discover why that is not the right question either, but it suffices for now.

Philosophers, psychotherapists, and researchers have been dealing with this question for millennia and have identified different kinds of meaning.

Let’s take a look at some of them.


Funeral Services Counseling

Phase 2: Building a Helping Relationship
Here the director responds to the family with willingness, concern and care on what needs to be done immediately and what can wait, and answer any questions they may have at this point of time.

Phase 3: Exploration and Assistance in Helping the Family Understand their Alternatives.
In this phase the director listens to the family and explores with the family the variety of alternatives available to them in regards to the funeral. This is the phase for fact gathering, encouraging them to explore their own feelings and try to come to a mutual understanding between the funeral service professional and the survivors.

Phase 4: Consolidation and Planning
The director in conjunction with the family develops a specific action plan for the funeral in a way that best meets the needs, especially the emotional needs at this time.

Phase 5: Implementation and Action
The funeral director, with the assistance of a variety of helping resources within the community, helps the family to follow the planning model that they designed with the director.

Phase 6: Conclusion of the Funeral Service
The director assists the family with a sense of closure upon completion of the funeral. The director may join in the fellowship that often follows the completion of the funeral.


What To Do When Your Husband Blames You: 4 Things To Do Starting Now!

We all hurt each other at times. If you are in a relationship long enough, something will be said or done that has the potential to wound the other person. It’s a part of life. I don’t say that as an excuse. We should seek to live in a way that is loving, not selfish.

What do you do if your spouse does blame you and you haven’t done anything wrong?

1) Walk Away

It’s okay to walk away from an explosive situation. If your spouse constantly demeans, blames, and ridicules you, take a break and walk away from the conversation.

2) Realize It’s His Issue

I know this is hard at times. Words wound us. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of believing you are the reason they are unhappy. Go back and read the first part of this article. Remind yourself that each of us is responsible for our own happiness.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to please our spouse and do things that honor them this should be our aim.

When your spouse continually blames you for their unhappiness, remind yourself it is their problem, not yours.

3) Ask them to explain.

You can only do this IF they are the type of person who will calm down enough to have a genuine conversation. If they are only interested in hurting you with their words, do not attempt this.

Sometimes asking your spouse to explain will not only help you understand what they are experiencing but will also help them see things more clearly. We tend to get a better understanding when we try to articulate our feelings.

4) Get Professional Help

I don’t always recommend counseling, but when you live with someone who is always shifting responsibility and is determined to make you feel guilty for their unhappiness, it could be beneficial.

I believe it could help in two ways:

First, they can help you know how to deal with the emotional upheaval in your life.

Developing the skills to deal with false guilt, verbal combat, and self-esteem issues is critical for your mental health.

Second, they can help you get a life plan to deal with this on a long term basis.

You need a strategy and plan on how to deal with your spouse ongoing. A wise counselor will not only help you deal with false guilt, but they can also help you better understand how to deal with that type of person.


We Experience These 3 Kinds of Love During Our Life and There Is a Specific Reason Why

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single throbbing moment.”

– Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

Authoress Sarah Dessen is spot on that love comes at unexpected times, but may be off the mark about saying that it happens only in a single moment.

Relationship experts suggest that people fall in love a few times in their lives and that there are specifically three kinds of love. Each experience has a different purpose. The quest for true love is never an easy one, and begs the question – which is the right relationship?

Love Trends – How Often Do People Fall in Love?

There are more fish in the sea than you may think. Many people have more than one life partner.

In a survey conducted by Opera North, most people settle down in their late 20s, with 33% of them marrying their first loves. The rest admit to letting their first loves go.

41% of another survey’s participants shared that they fell in love with someone not right for them, with a colleague being a likely partner.

Another finding by prolific ice-cream maker Haagen Daaz revealed that women tend to stay with one partner. Also, more men than women had more than one soulmate in their lives.

Why Finding True Love Seems Difficult

True love seems like an elusive entity for many people. Few know what it means to them they do not know what they are looking for and often search in the wrong places.

Society, with its emphasis on technology and the use of modern devices, has reduced human relationships to an impersonal level. As such, most people do not see the need to meet each other.

As a result, most people do not know what they want in a soulmate. They search for one doggedly, and often blindly. True love is real interaction and requires a physical presence. It entails self-sacrifice and the willingness to make compromises for another party.

The Love Timeline: You Fall In Love 3 Times in Your Life

1. First Love

You probably had your first crush as a starry-eyed teenager. Everyone experiences the magic of young love. It is the sort of love that you may have entered into to conform with the crowd. Young people have a need for social acceptance as such, how others viewed you may have been more important than how you felt.

2. Painful Love

The second sort of love is the love that hurts. It is the love of experience and educates you about yourself. You also learn about others.

You may have met someone who has manipulated or abused you in some way. There may have been vicious cycles of love and hurt in your relationship, but the hope for a miracle prompted you to see it through. You spent an infinite amount of time trying to make it work, but it did not.

Painful love is the love of growth. It may seem unbalanced, but the hurt eventually guides you to make the right choices.

3. Unexpected Love

The third kind of love is the sort of love that comes as a surprise. It may look wrong at the start and may challenge your idea of what love is supposed to be but works out perfectly in the end. The connection between you and your better half is inexplicable.

The two of you just click. Neither of you has expectations of how the other party should behave or act. None of you has lofty ideals.

Signs that Your Relationship is the Right One

With people having three kinds of love, how do you know that you are in the right relationship? The right one hits all the positive notes.

1. Joint Activities

A sign of a relationship working is if a couple enjoys activities together. You and your partner should be doing the things you both like. Hiking, sharing good food and playing basketball are excellent bonding activities for couples.

2. Space

Both of you may enjoy activities together, but need to spend time doing them apart from each other as well. Each must respect the other’s need for space.

3. Productive Fights

Fights are inescapable but can be beneficial. To harness their benefits, make them as productive as possible. They should prompt both of you to grow together. Quarrels should be about establishing a common ground, compromising and having respect for each other.

4. Healthy Friendships

A couple should share friends. That said, each of you should have other friends as well. People in the right relationships will be able to find a balance between their social circles, their partner’s and their shared circle as well.

5. Self-identity

You may be in a relationship, but you should remember that you are an individual. The right relationship focuses on the development of the self. There should be maintenance of self-identity.

6. People Like You Together

Pay attention to the feedback you get from others about their relationship. There will always be some criticism, but a lot of it is a bad sign.

7. Both Parties Grow

A healthy relationship is when you and your partner better each other. One person, for example, may inspire the other to exercise. Both of you should have a shared view of the future.

8. Keeping Secrets

Secrets abound in a relationship. Both of you should strive to be discreet. While discretion may seem trivial, it emphasizes the level of respect two people have for each other.

9. You Enjoy Routine

A relationship is a sound if both of you enjoy doing mundane tasks together. Errands can be fun when done with the right person.

10. You Share Financial Goals

Finances can strain a relationship. You and your partner should exchange ideas about how to grow them. Decide how much to put aside and what to do about retirement savings. Some couples may even share budgets.

So, these are the kinds of love one might experience in their lifetime

A person may need to fall in love more than once to find the right relationship. A few hints will show if it is the right one.

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The Case for Compassion

It’s hard to document the positive effect that organizational compassion has on employee retention and productivity, but it’s clear that employees will reward companies that treat them humanely. On December 11, 1995, a fire destroyed the Malden Mills manufacturing plant in Massachusetts. Instead of taking his $ 300 million insurance payout and relocating or retiring, owner Aaron Feuerstein decided to rebuild the factory. He announced that he would keep all 3,000 employees on the payroll through December while he started to rebuild. In January, he said he would pay them for a second month, and in February, Feuerstein pledged to pay for a third. His generosity made quite an impact on his employees: Productivity at the plant nearly doubled once it reopened.

Conversely, the costs of not providing leadership and the organizational infrastructure to help people deal with their grief are considerable. People in pain tend to be distracted at work, and if they don’t have appropriate outlets, they may become unresponsive and even uncooperative in dealing with colleagues and customers. Just as compassion can be contagious, so can the detachment that accompanies a noncompassionate response loyalty to the organization erodes not just among people who have directly suffered a tragedy but also among their colleagues who witness the lack of care. Over time, if an organization will not or cannot support the healing process, employee retention will suffer.

At one newspaper, a newsroom manager lost his wife to breast cancer. During his wife’s extended illness, the employee felt no compassion from his boss instead he endured complaints about his relatively low level of production. On his first day back to work after the funeral his boss said, “I guess you’ll be working those 12-hour days again.” The journalist, who was now raising two young children on his own, quit.

In another example, a health care employee finally got pregnant after many years of trying, only to deliver a stillborn baby in her eighth month. When the woman’s boss stopped by her hospital room, she assumed he was there to offer his condolences. Instead he had come to ask her when she would return to work. Shocked at his lack of compassion, the woman applied to be transferred to another unit, and her manager—who ran a very busy and stretched unit—lost a valued employee with more than ten years of experience.

As a colleague of ours once remarked, there is always grief somewhere in the room. One person may be feeling personal pain due to a death in the family. Another may find personality conflicts in the workplace unbearable. Still another may be watching a colleague struggle with a serious illness and not know how to help. You can’t eliminate such suffering, nor can you ask people to check their emotions at the door. But you can use your leadership to begin the healing process. Through your presence you can model behaviors that set the stage for the process of making meaning out of terrible events. And through your actions you can empower people to find their own ways to support one another during painful times. This is a kind of leadership we wish we would never have to use, yet it is vital if we are to nourish the very humanity that can make people—and organizations—great.


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Here’s Why It Hurts When People Say, “All Lives Matter”

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By Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

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“Black Lives Matter”Yes, we do. Period. In its simplest definition, to matter means to be of importance, significance, and consequence. And for many in the African-American community, saying “Black Lives Matter” is our way of declaring that we are important, our issues are important, and neither we as individuals, nor the issues that impact us, will be discarded, overshadowed, treated as nonsense, or accused of “playing the race card” anymore. No. We matter.

Saying “Black Lives Matter” is neither separatist nor racist. It is not anti-white, and, contrary to what some in the media may say, it is definitely not anti-police. It does not denote, promote, or support hatred of or violence against any ethnic group. Let me say that again: it does not promote or support hatred or violence against any group. It is about promoting the love of self and African-American rights to equal justice and fairness.

In no way does valuing the lives of black people in America and the global diaspora mean de-valuing the lives of anyone else. That’s why many of us feel a sense of confusion, bewilderment, and, yes, anger, when people shout “All Lives Matter” as a counter to “Black Lives Matter.” After all, we as African-Americans have supported America in nearly every moment of victory and crisis this country has witnessed.

In nearly every war this country has fought, from the War of Independence to Vietnam and Iraq, African-Americans have jumped at the opportunity to serve and fight for freedom—even when they were being denied those same freedoms at home.

When terrorists attacked America on September 11, African-Americans stood in solidarity with every American on that day and every day since.

Domestically, when horrific shootings erupted in places such as at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook, we cried, grieved, prayed, and supported the families of those who lost their children just like every other American did.

When gunmen opened fire in Orlando two weeks ago, we too prayed, participated in vigils, and changed our social-media avatars to L.G.B.T.-friendly rainbow flags in solidarity.

Even in this era of fierce debate around the issue of police brutality, many of us African-Americans make it a point to articulate our support for the 99 percent of police that do their honorable, thankless job right. And each time police officers have been killed or murdered in the line of duty, from Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in New York in 2014 to Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, and Brent Thompson in Dallas just a week ago, we too mourned and honored those who died. To give just one example, after the events in Dallas, an African-American boy asked his mother if he could hug one of the officers. That led to a long line of people of all colors and backgrounds showing their support for the grieving men and women in blue.

It’s hardly news to African-Americans that all lives matter. Our history of enduring challenges and tragedies allows us to understand what other people and groups endure. But that same understanding compels us to say Black Lives Matter, because the empathy we have shown others has so rarely been reciprocated.

There is a well-documented tendency to view the trials and tribulations of African-Americans in a silo, as African-American issues rather than American issues. So in times of tragedy and crisis, the African-American community often feels left to its own devices for support. Nothing illustrates this cultural “empathy gap” more clearly than social media. You could see it in the immediate aftermath of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

For those 48 hours, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seemed like hell for African-Americans. Scrolling down every person’s feed was like a journey into the depths of despair, grief, pain, anger, and depression. The events were so overwhelming and unbearable that some even posted about breaking down in tears out of nowhere or not being able to function at work. Those who are parents expressed the fear that their sons may be victims one day.

This anguish did not immediately appear on the feeds of many of the white Americans that I know. Not that we were surprised. We saw this before, with Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner. One of the clearest contrasts could be found the weekend after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where so many, mostly black people, lay stranded at the Superdome suffering and dying while, only an hour away in Baton Rouge, L.S.U. was playing a football game filled with 100,000 mostly white people packing its stadium as if nothing else in the world was happening.

It’s almost as if we lived in two different worlds. That’s where things appeared to be headed in 1968, when the Kerner Commission report on civil disorders in America cryptically concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe that explains why, for too many of our fellow Americans, we just don’t seem to matter.

If All Lives Matter, why is the black community continually asked to justify its anger and grief? If All Lives Matter, why does the court system continue to put the victims of racial discrimination and police brutality on trial, rather than punishing their assailants? If All Lives Matter, why do our fellow Americans continually challenge African-Americans to justify our pain instead of empathizing with it?

Do all lives matter? Of course! And you will be hard pressed to find any African-American who would say otherwise. But we will continue to say Black Lives Matter until African-American lives are given the same value as the lives of people from other countries, our police officers, your property, a lion named Cecil, and a gorilla named Harambe.

L-Mani S. Viney is a 20-year veteran educator who runs the Advocates Lounge, a blog dedicated to youth advocacy, development, and education.


How and when our emotional triggers form.

Experts On Call

We're launching a new series in which top-tier experts in mental health answer your questions.

Why do we all have triggers? In short, because we were all children once. When we were growing up, we inevitably experienced pain or suffering that we could not acknowledge and/or deal with sufficiently at the time. So as adults, we typically become triggered by experiences that are reminiscent of these old painful feelings. As a result, we typically turn to a habitual or addictive way of trying to manage the painful feelings.


Why your most important relationship is with your inner voice

As Ethan Kross, an American experimental psychologist and neuroscientist, will cheerfully testify, the person who doesn’t sometimes find themselves listening to an unhelpful voice in their head probably doesn’t exist. Ten years ago, Kross found himself sitting up late at night with a baseball bat in his hand, waiting for an imaginary assailant he was convinced was about to break into his house – a figure conjured by his frantic mind after he received a threatening letter from a stranger who’d seen him on TV. Kross, whose area of research is the science of introspection, knew that he was overreacting that he had fallen victim to what he calls “chatter”. But telling himself this did no good at all. At the peak of his anxiety, his negative thoughts running wildly on a loop, he found himself, somewhat comically, Googling “bodyguards for academics”.

Kross runs the wonderfully named Emotion and Self Control Lab at Michigan University, an institution he founded and where he has devoted the greater part of his career to studying the silent conversations people have with themselves: internal dialogues that powerfully influence how they live their lives. Why, he and his colleagues want to know, do some people benefit from turning inwards to understand their feelings, while others are apt to fall apart when they engage in precisely the same behaviour? Are there right and wrong ways to communicate with yourself, and if so, are there techniques that might usefully be employed by those with inner voices that are just a little too loud?

The psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Kross: ‘Avoiding our emotions across the board is not a good thing, but let’s think about distance instead.’ Photograph: EthanKross.com

Down the years, Kross has found answers to some, if not all, of these questions, and now he has collected these findings in a new book – a manual he hopes will improve the lives of those who read it. “We’re not going to rid the world of anxiety and depression,” he says, of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It. “This is not a happy pill, and negative emotions are good in small doses. But it is possible to turn down the temperature a bit when it’s running too high, and doing this can help all of us manage our experiences more effectively.”

According to Kross, who talks to me on Zoom from his home in a snowy Ann Arbor, there now exists a robust body of research to show that when we experience distress – something MRI scans suggest has a physical component as well as an emotional one – engaging in introspection can do “significantly” more harm than good. Our thoughts, he says, don’t save us from ourselves. Rather, they give rise to something insidious: the kind of negative cycles that turn the singular capacity of human beings for introspection into a curse rather than a blessing, with potentially grave consequences both for our mental and physical health (introspection of the wrong sort can even contribute to faster ageing).

Does this mean that it’s not, after all, good to talk? That those in therapy should immediately cancel their next appointment? Not exactly. “Avoiding our emotions across the board is not a good thing,” he says. “But let’s think about distance instead. Some people equate this word with avoidance and repression. But I think of it as the ability to step back and reflect, to widen the lens, to get some perspective. We’re not avoiding something by doing this, we’re just not getting overwhelmed.”

Those who are able to quieten their inner voice are happier their sense of relief can be palpable

According to one study, we talk to ourselves at a rate equivalent to speaking 4,000 words per minute (by way of comparison, the American president’s State of the Union address, which usually runs to about 6,000 words, lasts more than an hour). No wonder, then, that listening to it can be exhausting, whether it takes the form of a rambling soliloquy, or a compulsive rehashing of events, a free-associative pinballing from one thought to another or a furious internal dialogue.

But if such noise can be paralysing, it can also be self-sabotaging. What we experience on the inside can blot out almost everything else if we let it. A study published in 2010, for instance, shows that inner experiences consistently dwarf outer ones – something that, as Kross notes, speaks to the fact that once a “ruminative” thought takes hold of us, it can ruin even the best party, the most longed-for new job.

Why do some people have a louder or more troubling inner voice than others? “That’s harder to answer,” he says. “There are so many ways it can be activated, some genetic, some environmental.” What is certain is that these experiences cannot be discounted: “The data is overwhelming when it comes to the connection between anxiety and physical health conditions.” Those who are able to quieten their inner voice are happier their sense of relief can be palpable.

‘Our thoughts don’t save us from ourselves,’ says Ethan Kross. Photograph: Getty

What is interesting about the science involved in all this is how it both backs up, and goes against, intuition. Much of Kross’s book is devoted to what he calls the “toolbox” of techniques that can be used to dial down chatter, and while some of these seem to contradict all that we think and feel – “venting”, for instance, can do a person more harm than good, because talking about negative experiences with friends can often work as a repellent, pushing away those you need most – others confirm that when we act on certain instincts, we’re right to do so.

To take one example, if you are the kind of person who slips into the second or third person when you are in a flap (“Rachel, you should calm down this is not the end of the world”), you really are doing yourself some good. What Kross calls “distanced self-talk” is, according to experiments he has run, one of the fastest and most straightforward ways of gaining emotional perspective: a “psychological hack” that is embedded in “the fabric of human language”. Talking to yourself like this – as if you were another person altogether – isn’t only calming. Kross’s work shows that it can help you make a better impression, or improve your performance in, say, a job interview. It may also enable you to reframe what seems like an impossibility as a challenge, one to which, with your own encouragement, you may be able to rise.

Some of his other techniques are already well known: the power of touch (put your arms around someone) the power of nature (put your arms around a tree). Activities that induce “awe” – a walk in the mountains, say, or time spent in front of a magnificent work of art – are also useful, helping with that sense of perspective. Writing a daily journal can prove efficacious for some (something that felt terrible one day physically becoming old news the next), while neat freaks like me will be thrilled to discover that what he calls “compensatory control” – the creation of exterior order, better known as tidying up – really does have an impact on interior order. Reorganise your sock drawer, and you may find that your voice quietens.

The model Heidi Klum is said to take her milk teeth as a lucky charm when she flies, clutching them during turbulence. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Research shows, too, that superstitions, rituals and lucky charms can be useful, though most of us will draw the line at, say, taking our milk teeth with us when we fly, as the model Heidi Klum is said to (she keeps hers in a tiny bag, which she clutches during turbulence). Placebos have been found to work on chatter, just as they do in the case of some physical illnesses. In one study in which Kross was involved, a saline nasal spray acted as a kind of painkiller for the inner voice: data from brain scans showed that those who’d inhaled it, having believed they were inhaling a painkiller, displayed significantly less activity in their brain’s social-pain circuitry compared with those who knew they had inhaled only a saline solution.

No wonder, then, that Kross believes children should be taught the science behind all of these ideas, and in the US he has already begun working with teachers to make this happen: “We want to find out if knowing this stuff influences how they regulate themselves.” Does he make use of the toolbox? (Physician, heal thyself.) “We should probably ask my wife,” he laughs. “But yes, I do, absolutely. I’m human, too.” In particular, he is “very selective” when it comes to friends from whom he seeks “chatter support”.

Everyday feelings of sadness are elevated for many, but there is also a lot of resilience – we often underestimate that

Kross finished his book long before the outbreak of the pandemic, let alone the storming of the Capitol. But as he observes, it could hardly be published at a more opportune moment. “This is the perfect chatter episode for society: a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, political uncertainty, widespread groupthink.” His most cited paper to date looked at the harmful implications of social media, often “a giant megaphone” for the inner voice – Facebook expressly asks its users: “What’s on your mind?” – and an environment that he thinks we need to learn to navigate with more care.

As for the pandemic, though, he is less pessimistic than some about the effects it is likely to have long-term on mental health. “We are already seeing signs that depression and anxiety are spiking,” he says. “Everyday feelings of sadness are elevated for many, and then there are more full-blown episodes. But there is also a lot of resilience, and we often underestimate that. A lot of people are doing quite well. They’re managing this hardship in an adaptive way. I am an optimist. We will return, I think, to a nicer place, though how quickly that will happen, I only wish I could say.”

Which technique should the pandemic-anxious deploy? “Well, one that I personally rely on is temporal distancing,” he says. This requires a person to look ahead: to see themselves determinedly in the future. Studies show that if you ask those going through a difficult experience how they will feel about it in 10 years’ time, rather than tomorrow, their troubles immediately seem more temporary. Does this really help him? “Yes, it does. I ask myself how I am going to feel a year from now, when I’m back in the office, and I’m seeing my colleagues, and travelling again, and taking my kids to soccer – and it gives me hope.”

It is, as he says in his book, a form of time travel: a mental Tardis that, if only we can manage to board it, may make everything from a bereavement right down to a silly argument seem less brutal, just a little easier to bear.



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