Dogs Cry Happy Tears When You Come Home Maybe We Should Too

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Cry Happy Tears When You Come Home Maybe We Should Too
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In our random thoughts, we talk about dogs crying, empathy, tribalism and social media. Those aren’t fully transcribed here.

Pharrell Williams says in a Masterclass that his imagination helped him survive, but as he grew up he realized that he was only seeing the world in one way, which was from his experience. The day that you stop being curious, you stop learning, he thinks.

“The universe doesn’t stop,” he says, “so why should my curiosity?”

Empathy helps people be more creative. Empathy towards other helps you realize that you know that they exist. When you’re in partnerships, he said, empathy is the role call, it’s where you show that everyone exists and it allows you to be open and create bigger projects and relationships.

So, let’s think about that in the bigger picture about our society and kids, okay?

In a New York Times article by Matt Richtel, he focuses on U.S. teens and their depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm. He chronicles one ten-year-old’s journey on an iPod Touch that their grandparents gave them.

The kid posted selfies.

Some people (men) sent photos of their penises and asked for the kid to send naked photos back and also solicited them for sex.

The kid, C, tried to ignore it.

“That plan did not work out. The internet seeped into C’s psyche; severely depressed, they found kinship online with other struggling adolescents and learned ways to self-harm,” Richtel writes.

For teens in the U.S. the risks are no longer drugs, drinking, and getting pregnant. Now they are anxiety, self-harm, suicide, depression.

“What science increasingly shows is that virtual interactions can have a powerful impact, positive or negative, depending on a person’s underlying emotional state,” Richtel writes.

He adds that “The ability of youth to cope has been further eroded by declines in sleep, exercise and in-person connection, which all have fallen as screen time has gone up. Young people, despite vast virtual connections, or maybe because of them, report being lonelier than any other generation. And many studies have found that adolescents who spend more time online are less happy.”

The data? It’s grim. And it effects happiness and empathy.

Richtel writes, “From 2007 to 2016, emergency room visits for people aged 5 to 17 rose 117 percent for anxiety disorders, 44 percent for mood disorders and 40 percent for attention disorders, while overall pediatric visits were stable. The same study, published in Pediatrics in 2020, found that visits for deliberate self-harm rose 329 percent. But visits for alcohol-related problems dropped 39 percent, reflecting the change in the kind of public health risks posed to teenagers.”

He quoted how a doctor who talks about how a lot of kids try to find community online, adopting even the tic disorders of Tik-Tokers. They want, desperately, to belong.

We see tribalism all the time, that need for cliques, for belonging, especially in political parties, but it’s not just there. It’s everywhere—that need to fit in, to belong, to be part of a pack even if you never actually meet the other pack members. Dogs show it beautifully when they are full of joy greeting you at the door. Why aren’t we all like that? Maybe we’re meant to be—about our family and our friends—joyous to see them again, excited to hear about their days and adventures.

Robert Reffkin, who launched a real estate technology company, Compass, realized people wanted community and culture and people who give you energy rather than take it away in relationships and in workplaces. He said that most employees feel that their businesses and organizations need more empathy.

“Leaders need to really honor and respect the diversity of challenges in people’s lives,” Reffkin says. 

It can be as simple as not expecting everyone to be an extrovert and talk over each other at a meeting, understanding communication styles are different, or that sometimes someone needs a day off because they have a life beyond the office. That kindness, that understanding, gives your employees more support and makes them feel a part of something. That goes for your kids, too.

Robin Arzón, an ultramarathon runner, says when you feel a part of something, then you feel like you have agency. During her career, Arzón was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had to readjust to the changes and challenges to her body. Other runners supported her as she supported them. They empowered each other and empathized with each other during training and races.

“I believe empowerment is contagious. I believe joy is contagious,” she says.

A study in Japan looked at 823 college students and learned that the students with high or moderate physical activity self-reported more cognitive empathy than the students with low physical activity (The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Therapy, 2021). That doesn’t happen when we’re all on social media, stuck inside, joining a TikTok group. Or if we’re scrolling through Twitter looking for a hashtag to focus us on hating other people.

“Empathy is everything,” Arzón says. “It extinguishes assumptions and limitations.”

Empathy helps you to empower other people because when you see where they are at, you are able to help pull them along to their goal.

“Empathy’s greatest potential is equality for all mankind,” Williams said. Empathy is the best tool for equality, he says. But it’s also the best tool for belonging. When we realize others’ pains; when we work toward connections? We move out of our tribes, our bubbles, and become something much healthier and bigger.


DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Cry when your people come home, because holy god, they made it back!


SOME COOL LINKS TO LEARN MORE

https://www.masterclass.com/classes/the-power-of-empathy-with-pharrell-williams-and-noted-co-instructors/chapters/do-something

https://www.theledger.com/story/news/state/2022/04/26/florida-school-book-bans-these-library-titles-being-reviewed-school-boards/9542938002/

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/dogs-cry-happy-tears-owners-27803328

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Unplug Yourself and Bark Back and Find Your Agency

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Unplug Yourself and Bark Back and Find Your Agency
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There’s an Anne Lamott quote that says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes—including you.”

And that’s a lovely quote and quite true in so many instances, but also sometimes? Sometimes it can feel next to impossible to unplug.

Sometimes that unplugging has to be a dramatic event where you realize that you have to rescue yourself from the habits that are controlling your life, or the people controlling your life and you have to actually take your own control of your life.

I know! I know! Terrifying.

But the first question is: how do you actually take control over your life?

Over at the greatergood, there are some potential possibilities that we’re going to share here. It’s a great article written by Anthony Rao and Paul Napper back in 2019.

Controlling Stimuli

They write:

“Agency begins with what you let into your mind—meaning what comes in from your environment. If you are lacking agency, it’s likely your attention is being hijacked and you need to figure out how to restore it.”

A phone next to you when you’re reading? It’s probably going to distract you, they say. But walking outside? It lets your brain recharge.

Same thing with email notifications. 

Another thing they suggest is . . .

“Associate Selectively”

They write:

“It’s impossible not to be affected by those around us—it’s easy to “catch” their emotions, for example, and our brains tend to synch up when we associate with other people. That means you should set boundaries with difficult people, disentangle yourself from negative online interactions, and be more conscious of how you might be vulnerable to “groupthink”—pressures to behave or think in ways that are contrary to your values.”

How do you do that when that person is your kid? It’s a good question. But they suggest making sure you have a lot of interactions with people who want to help you cultivate your skills and talents, grow to your potential, and help you with your positive beliefs. Volunteering and just chatting can help.

Move Around

Get up. Off the couch. Off the chair. Stretch. Walk. Dance. As often as possible.

Learn

They write: “People with high levels of agency are continually learning more and expanding their capacity to learn by adopting a more open, collaborative approach to everything in life.”

There’s a whole lot more we’ll talk about next week too, but for this week, try this:

  1. Put your phone in another room while you work.
  2. Go outside and walk if you can.
  3. Get up every 40 minutes and move around for five. Set a timer.
  4. Chat with someone positive or sign up to volunteer somewhere.
  5. Sign up for a free class or even listen to a podcast like this. Take some time to learn something.

And think about this:

“You can’t buy, achieve or date serenity and peace of mind,” Anne Lamott says in a TedTalk about being sixty-one. “It’s an inside job, and we can’t arrange peace or lasting improvement for the people we love most in the world. They have to find their own ways, their own answers.”

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Bark. Communicate your needs and sometimes the neighbor will bark back and you’ll feel less lonely.

Sparty

LINKS WE USE IN THE PODCAST

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_to_feel_more_in_control_of_your_life

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/help-i-found-a-weird-way-to-calm-the-dog-next-door-my-neighbor-is-furious-about-it/ar-AAVAHvE

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Is My Beer Okay and the Problems With People Pleasing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Is My Beer Okay and the Problems With People Pleasing
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When Carrie was growing up, she spent a lot of time trying to make sure her mom didn’t cry or get too mad or sad.

“One of my earliest memories is actually yelling at my poor dad, telling him that I hated him because he made ‘my mommy’ cry. I was younger than four and I had no idea what was going on with them, but to my little four-year-old brain, keeping my mom happy was my job and duty.”

But what that taught Carrie was that you have to please other people to keep things from erupting into chaos. Her mom didn’t consciously teach that to her at all, and her mom had a lot of people pleaser in her, too. And then a bad relationship with a man with alcohol issues and abusive tendencies made it even worse. How can you have a want when that want might mean you’ll get pushed up against a wall?

The problem with being a people pleaser is that you spend so much time thinking about how your actions impact others that you forget to make decisions on what you yourself want to do.

So now when she’s asked things like, “What’s your favorite food? Where do you want to go to dinner? Where would you like to go on vacation?” She freezes up.

She’s lost the ability to make decisions for herself because she’s afraid of the consequences and because she wants everyone else to be happy.

Tiny Buddha has an article about three questions that you can ask yourself if you’re a people pleaser to help you reorient to putting yourself first occasionally and not do the Carrie freeze.

Those questions are:

  1. Is this my priority? Not other people’s?
  2. What is important to me?
  3. How will I feel after I make this decision?

When you know what your priority is, what kind of life you want, what is important, then you can make the decisions that make you happy, the ones that help you grow.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

The thing is to be in your moment Right now. Where are you? Are you stuck in a car and can't open the door? You can still smile out the window. The car will move again. You will move again. You've got this. You're so full of light. xo Sparty Dog (apologies for the hearts)
Sparty Dog

Be who you are and know what you want.

LINKS WE REFERENCED


https://www.ketk.com/news/weird-news/video-florida-man-struck-by-car-leaving-store-asks-if-his-beer-is-ok/

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Hiding Your Boobs Is Your Body Language Your Own Worst Friend Six Hot Tips About Better NonVerbal Communication

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Hiding Your Boobs Is Your Body Language Your Own Worst Friend Six Hot Tips About Better NonVerbal Communication
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Friends, sometimes your body is putting out a message that you might not want out there.

What am I talking about?

Well, here we go.

Shaun is a big, tall, broad-shouldered, thin-lipped man with large eyes and a large presence. When he crosses those strong forearms across his trunk and stands against a wall at a party, he is definitely sending a message to everyone glancing his way.

And what’s that message?

Go away.

Carrie is a short, buxom woman who tends to hug her purse to her chest whenever she’s sitting down at a restaurant or at a poker table. She’s definitely sending a message too.

And what’s that message?

Carrie is super insecure about everything and she’s clutching her purse like a baby blanket.

Neither of these are really the messages we intend to send. Shaun is just trying (usually) not to take up too much room. Carrie’s trying to hide her chest because that’s what she’s mostly insecure about. It’s hard when people stare at your breasts all the time.

But the point here is that we aren’t always cognizant of the messages that our bodies are putting out.

It has been suggested that body language may account for between 60 to 65% of all communication.

Verywellmind citing Foley GN, Gentile JP. Nonverbal communication in psychotherapy. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010;7(6):38-44.

And sometimes we can’t control what we’re putting out.

That same article cites a study by Kleisner, Chvátalová, and Flegr which says,

One study found that individuals who had narrower faces and more prominent noses were more likely to be perceived as intelligent. People with smiling, joyful expression were also judged as being more intelligent than those with angry expressions

Verywellmind

So, some things we can’t control unless we have a lot of money for cosmetic surgery, but some things we can, right?

We can all remember that a closed body language often means that we’re telling people nonverbally that we’re hostile or anxious. An open body language often means that we’re telling people we’re open and friendly.

Knowing how you move in space, how you take up space (or don’t), is really helpful in understanding the impressions you give to people and the impressions others give to you, too.

So you want to improve those skills, right?

Verywellmind has another article all about tips to improve your nonverbal communication and they suggest doing the following:

QUICK TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

One.

Actually pay attention to other people’s gestures and expressions.

Two

Notice when the words and the body don’t match.

Three

Think about your tone of voice and other people’s tones.

Four

Make eye contact like a boss.

Five

Ask questions to help you figure things out. They suggest

“So what you are saying is that…”

“Do you mean that we should…”

“What I’m hearing is that you think…”

verywellmind

Six

“Look at Signals as a Whole”

A person might be smiling and clenching their fist, you know? That doesn’t usually mean they want to go belly dance with you.

Hot Tip For Body Language

If you are standing at a party and don’t want to do a Shaun or Carrie, do this:

  1. Let your purse hang down. Don’t clutch.
  2. Pull your shoulders back.
  3. Stand with your feet a bit apart and planted on the floor. Pretend you’re a female country singer, they are always standing like that.
  4. Don’t wiggle around. Stand in one place

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

RANDOM THOUGHT LINKS

https://news.sky.com/story/prince-charming-mannequin-mistaken-for-body-rolled-up-in-carpet-on-motorway-12518465

https://news.sky.com/story/mafia-fugitive-arrested-after-being-spotted-on-google-street-view-in-spain-12509812

https://news.sky.com/story/police-officers-fired-for-ignoring-la-robbery-in-progress-to-play-pokemon-go-12513520

Courage in Unlikely Places – How Thinking of Others Helps You Be Courageous

Today is Be Brave Friday, and I don’t have a ton of insight. I know! I know! Way to sell a blog post, Carrie, right?

Me and Em not being scared.

So, I thought I should look to some wordsmiths instead.

Courage is found in unlikely places.

J.R.R. Tolkien

There’s something that compels us to show our inner souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.

Maya Angelou

Courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.

Nelson Mandela

I am no Tolkein, Angelou, or Mandela, but there’s a great compulsion in me to edge toward peace at all times, to expose my innermost self, and to learn and learn and seek, which is why I hope to find courage in unlikely places as I contemplate some big writing leaps this weekend.

It’s a time for new projects–projects I’m a little afraid about, honestly.

And speaking of projects, this is a giant (for me) painting that I’m working on. I’m not done with it yet, so try not to judge too harshly.

Unlikely Places

Courage is sort of an elusive beast for us sometimes. I get anxious just posting, but what helps me to move past anxiety and fear is to stop thinking about myself.

I’ve been so lucky because I get kind people giving me feedback that my random thoughts and bits of brave have helped them get brave, too. That’s mind blowing to me actually. But it helps me to keep posting and keep revealing.

Here’s the thing: If you only think about YOU, fear starts taking over.

When fear starts taking over, it’s harder to act.

I could never post a poem or painting or podcast because I’m scared about being ridiculed or exposing my vulnerability, but when I stop focusing on me and what could negatively impact me, I allow myself to make connections with others and hopefully help them, too.

One of the easiest ways to take action, to move forward, to be courageous is to think about other people, the world outside your brain. If you have a sense of purpose (even if it’s to make someone else less awkward at a board meeting), then you can eat away your fear.

Caring about others, caring about helping others helps us shift the focus away from ourselves, but it also helps us push down our fear to a back corner in where it belongs.

POSTS AND PODCASTS THIS WEEK

And just to catch up, here are the posts from this week!

Shaun blogs about the four elements of a successful relationship.

I blog about our poor fence and the poor trees that keep come smashing down.

On Write Better Now, how to make your writing more intense.

On Carrie Does Poetry, I read the aptly titled poem, “You Aren’t Allowed to Write About Me.”

This week’s humorous, but yummy recipe was Microwave Raspberry Sauce of Wordle and Wine.

On Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talk about pot brownies, intention and the Rock. Yowza.

And our live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about the weirdest songs ever.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, my author interview with Tony Quintana on Dogs are Smarter Than People’s bonus edition.

POEMS EVERYWHERE!

Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) every weekday. You should check it out! And clap or something so I can make $1 over there this month. 🙂

How About You?

There you go! And how are you doing? Are you hanging in? Being brave? Thinking thoughts? Sharing new things?

NEW BOOK OUT

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

Man, Are You Toxic? How to Start to Get Over It

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Man, Are You Toxic? How to Start to Get Over It
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So, this week in our attempt to make your life a little bit better, we’re talking about being toxic and we are specifically talking about men being toxic.

And to do that we first have to define what toxic masculinity is.

Maya Salem in a 2019 NYT article writes that it’s:

  • Hiding your emotions, pretending you aren’t upset
  • Making sure everyone thinks you’re hard. (not your muscles, but your brain/soul/emotions)
  • Violence=toughness=powerful

“In other words: Toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.)”

Salem

But toxic masculinity is more than that. It’s a set of beliefs that a lot of men believe about themselves and that a lot of women believe about them, too.

What are those damn, stupid beliefs. According to Dr. Axe, they are things like (all the italicized below is a direct quote, but the format in the notes is hitching:

  • Manhood is defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.
  • Men should not be interested in “feminine things” because this makes them appear weak
  • Men shouldn’t display “feminine” traits such as emotional vulnerability.
  • Men and women can never truly understand each other or just be friends, for reasons like men are always interested in sex.
  • Real men are strong and don’t show emotional signs of shame or weakness.
  • Anger and violence are useful ways of solving conflicts.
  • Men are not suited to be single parents/the dominant parent in a family.

So, you might recognize some of those beliefs in yourselves or in others, rights? And it’s kind of a lot of bullshit.

You can be male; you can be a man and be nuanced. And there isn’t some dichotomy of man strong/woman weak. We’re not even going to begin to talk about how tough female sex organs and birthing organs are, right?

Sigh.

That is a rant for another time.

Moving on, masculinity theory has its origins in gender theories and has been expanded by the work of Raewyn Connell (Australian sociologist), Dr. Ronald Levant (researcher) and others who speak of the patriarchal dividend. And according to Dr. Axe, it’s about:

“A set of values, established by men in power, that functions to include and exclude, and to organize society in gender unequal ways. It combines several features: a hierarchy of masculinities, differential access among men to power (over women and other men) and the interplay between men’s identity, men’s ideals, interactions, power and patriarchy.”

So, what are those values? We talked about some of them, but those aren’t all. Let’s go at it from another angle.

Over on Tiny Buddha, Charles Razook writes:

“Toxic masculinity has bred men to be the life of the party. Drink hard. Smoke cigarettes. Do drugs. Be indomitable. This behavior always necessitates sleeping in to recover afterward and lower productivity.

“For women, on the other hand, there is more of an emphasis on looks, composure, and output. Essentially, on being perfect.

“This may sound misogynistic, backward, and antiquated, but unfortunately, these expectations still affect our society, though they are slowly changing. And the result is not very positive for men or women.”

How does this hold us all back? That’s kind of the question, right?

According to Scientific American,

“But this scramble for dominance and denial of emotion comes at great cost. It blunts men’s awareness of other people’s needs and emotions, drives domestic and sexual violence, makes aggression look like a reasonable way to solve conflict, forbids seeking health care (and even thinking about seeking mental health care), and pours fuel on the fire of drug and alcohol abuse

“Toxic masculinity even invades life’s small pleasures. To paraphrase the comedian Bill Burr, the man box means you can’t admit a baby is cute, hug a puppy, say you want a cookie, order banana pancakes, or carry an umbrella in the rain (“Get those shoulders up!”).”

And how do we fight it?

  1. Allow your kids and your men to have emotions and express them, damn it.
  2. Call out people for being nasty trolling idiots.
  3. Look at your kids’ role models. Are they toxic?
  4. Remember toxic people can change. Your mistakes don’t have to destroy you. Just thinking they do is toxic.
  5. Admit that culture and society has helped shape you and your personality and belief systems.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t be afraid to explore who you are and why you are that way.

Links

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-fight-toxic-masculinity/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201810/toxic-masculinity-what-is-it-and-how-do-we-change-it

https://www.ladbible.com/news/weird-man-who-called-womens-swimsuits-pornography-loses-his-job-20210909

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

I’m releasing a book today and if you could buy it? That would be great.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about memory and fear and being unapologetic in your joy and your fear.

It begins with fear and memory.

Sometimes, other people seem to remember my life better than I do. I’m not talking about Facebook posts here either—those tiny little moments that are forever embossed in the narrative of a social media life, tiny moments that strung together help define me even if I don’t always remember them.

But they do help me remember.

I see the images on ‘memories’ on social media and think, “Look, I was fitting people into wheelchairs in Belize, in Panama. Look, here is where my marriage almost broke apart but didn’t. Look, here is when I stopped. Just stopped. Oh, a pretty sunset. I must have started again or pretended to.”

But there are other kinds of memories that often don’t make it onto social media.

There are things I deliberately don’t remember—usually bad things—those painful moments that I push into the back of my head so that they aren’t they main things defining me and I only bring out to help other people (hopefully).

Robin Williams has said, “The things we fear the most have already happened to us.”

Which doesn’t quite explain my mom’s phobia of birds, but does explain so many other things and choices that we make as people.

But the Williams’ quote does make me wonder why we are so afraid, especially us writers.

Failing just means nothing changes.

Success? That’s where the unknown happens.

We become so used to shrouding ourselves in doubt and fear that we don’t realize that we can shed those things, but also? We don’t realize that we can put on new clothes, new positive emotions.

We don’t have to bond with each other in collectives of despair and mutual fear, but we can reach out and up, and lift ourselves and others into something good, something brave, something that isn’t full of fear and doubt, but bravery.

How cool would that be?

I grew up in a family full of fear. My mom was afraid of birds, swimming, bridges, closed in spaces, big open spaces, bugs, dead animals, storms, miscarriages, eventually cats, so many things—too many things. One of our big family stories was how when my sister was a toddler she was terrified of grass. She’s worked her way through that, thankfully. And my mom worked her way through moments that she didn’t want to remember. They were both brave even when fear seemed overwhelming.

But what was cool about my family—especially my extended family full of steps and halves and diversity—is that when something awesome happened? Almost everyone celebrated. There was no jealousy, just joy. There was hardly any “that should be me,” only “look at you go!”

So often our insecurities make us want to tear down the joys of others, even the tiniest of happiness. And that? That’s what matters. That’s what drowns us and our own creativity and propensity for joy.

We all know someone who is a bully even as a grownup, always looking for angles to pull others down. And no, I’m not just talking about people on Twitter, but people who elate in other’s miseries. Usually? Those people are bullies, blowhards and buttheads (I wanted to use the swear word there) because they are so insecure and riddled by fear that they last out.

That doesn’t make it hurt any less when they lash out at you, but you don’t want to be like them, you know? Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

We need to spend less time pulling people into our own fear and insecurities and more time lifting people up into bravery and light.

One of my acquaintances was having a miscarriage once and was trying to get to the hospital, walking, because it happened during a walk around town. Panicked, she called another of our mutual friends who was out of town. And then they called me.

I have lost babies. Not many people know that.

I was on massive bedrest for five months for Emily (the baby who made it) to try to keep her inside me long enough to increase her chances. Pregnancy is a scary place (and joyful one) for me.

When I drove my acquaintance to our local hospital, cars were blocking intersections, tourists were yelling at locals and vice versa and in my car the unthinkable, the harrowing, was happening. It was terrifying. The fear was all over her beautiful face, in the shake of her voice, and there we were moving through all these happy families, all this joy and chaos and in my little car something very big was happening very quietly.

I was grateful and lucky to be there for her as she endured those horrible moments with such grace, and I am grateful and lucky to be there for anyone’s tragedy and celebration because it means that I was there. That I am there.

That’s what we have to be.

There.

Despite the fear.

Despite the worry.

Despite everything.

And when we are there in the moments of our lives and others’ lives, we can choose to react with fear or with compassion, with jealousy or with joy. We get to define that in our choices over and over again, and we damn sure aren’t going to be perfect each time, but what we can do? Is try.

Try to be unapologetic in your joy, in your success.

Try to take off that shroud of fear.

Try to stand with people as they fight for things that matter.

Try to be unapologetic in your moments, in other moments, to be there, to truly be there.

Try to live bravely, to create bravely, to love and mourn and sing bravely.

We can do this. Our past sorrows and fears are there, they can be remembered when we feel strong, but we get to choose how and if they define us in the moments that we are living now. That’s pretty powerful stuff. You are pretty powerful stuff!

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!

Find Your Couch, People!

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

And I did not freaking fall asleep on the couch today. I was there for five minutes, so he is a lying liar who lies.

best podcast ever

It is 3:35 in the afternoon here where Carrie and I live. It is quite hot for our part of Maine, which is on the coast and usually runs a bit cooler than the inland areas and my phone is telling me that it is 84 degrees. Not horrible, but hot and humid enough to make a person want to just lie down on their couch for a minute after working for eight hours already with a guaranteed two hours of work left in the day.

Yes, Carrie just laid down on our couch, “for a minute.”

I don’t blame her one bit! If anything I am a bit jealous because I still have to write this blog, mow our lawn and produce dinner. Okay, I will be honest and tell you that our lawn is small and  dinner will be pizza from a place just down the street. I will even drive to pick it up when it is literally a three minute walk! Despicable I know, but I had to flesh out my remaining to do list items a bit, because she still has real work to do.

Anyway, Carrie is on the couch, supine.

I am very happy for her because she, honestly, works very hard, every day! I am not exaggerating at all, she does.

I am concerned about her though.

You see, Carrie and our couch have a very special relationship. Every time she lies in the arms of the couch it does something to her. Something special I suppose. I mean, why else would she fall asleep almost immediately? It must be something better than whatever I do when we lay down in bed at night and she has trouble falling asleep.

Okay, perhaps a tiny bit jealous.

Actually, as a most incredibly loving husband, I am happy for her! I am happy that she has a place to go where she can actually relax and free her brain from the woes of the world. Maybe if I wrap myself in smooth and supple leather before bed at night she will be able to sleep like this next to me.

My real point here is that everyone should have such a place!

Find your couch, people! Find that place where you can relax so much that even the constant text notifications on your phone don’t rouse you from your repose.

You deserve it!

You need it!

I am going to go mow our lawn now. Hopefully I will remember to awaken Carrie before her 4:30 Zoom meeting with a client.

Peace be with you folks, y’all deserve it. And, as always, remember to Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun 

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

Stopping Doomsday Thinking

A lot of great clients and students that I’ve worked with have what I like to call Doomsday Thinking. I’m pretty sure I didn’t coin that phrase.

What is doomsday thinking?

It’s basically catastrophic thinking.

In Psychology Today, Toni Bernhard J.D. writes, “The term refers to our irrational and exaggerated thoughts: thoughts that have no basis in fact, but which we believe anyway.”

Those thoughts become so big and so distorted that we get anxious.

I am a pro at doomsday thinking

I basically had these kinds of thoughts until last year.

Those negative, spiraling thoughts can become so big, so huge, that it’s almost impossible to be happy about who we are, what we’ve done, what we will do, or our life.

We forget there can be good outcomes too.

Instead, we think about all the bad potentials and build them up like super stores, giving them so much space in our thoughts that they take over.

The why is it always me syndrome.

One of my most brilliant and adorable relatives does this all the time. She gets stuck on a highway coming home from work because of a traffic jam and thinks, “Why does this always happen to me? The universe hates me.”

When in reality, she’s not alone in that traffic jam, right? It’s almost self-absorbed to think that the frustrating things are out to get you and only you.

Or, we get rejected when we send our book to an agent and think, “This is impossible. I will never get published. I am doomed to suck forever. I give up.”

When in reality, you don’t suck at all. Writing is subjective and that particular agent just wasn’t for you.

Change happens.

In doomsday thinking whenever something bad happens, we assume that this is the way it will always be. It isn’t.

The world is chaos and full of change.

I just was texting with one of my friends the other night and I wrote, “I bet Five-years-ago Steve would never have imagined this.”

The this was good stuff happening in his life. And he hadn’t. He hadn’t predicted any of it.

We’re all like that. I didn’t imagine I’d be where I am five years ago. That’s because change happens. Even the bad doesn’t stay always bad. We can’t predict the outcomes and all the variables even when we think we can.

Here’s the good thing about change

Since things change, it means that you don’t need to stay stuck forever. And you don’t need to stay in those negative thought patterns forever either.

Why not? It’s pretty easy to lean into your internal critic, right? But you don’t have to. You can stay calm. You can take chances and make choices and shut them up.

We all have inner critics, but we also need inner cheerleaders

I used to imagine my inner critic as John Wayne (the dead movie star/cowboy). He was so harsh on me. Always telling me to work. So, I created an inner cheerleader who turned out to be the Muppet, Grover. Yes, from Sesame Street. My brain is a weird place.

John Wayne and Grover would duel it out for supremacy in my head.

Weird! Weird! I know. But by giving an identity to that negative voice/inner critic, it helped me to recognize that doomsday thinking and shut it down so that I could take chances and risks and do things.

Allow yourself to treat challenges and projects like you’re playing

Another thing that helps is giving myself a chance to play and fail. You can do this, too.

Find something you’ve wanted to do. Start a blog? Make a video? Learn to paint? Ride your bike every morning? Make it something that excites you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Give yourself a time frame. I have 30 days to do this! That sort of short timeframe.
  2. Schedule time into your day/week to do it.
  3. It helps if you have an end project. So, tell yourself what your end product will be.
  4. Do it.

By giving ourselves a product and a timeframe, we give ourselves a chance to try things. It doesn’t seem like a forever-worry that way and it usually shuts up our doomsday thinking and John Waynes a tiny bit.

You’ve got this. I believe in you. You need to believe in you, too.

xo

Carrie

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

What Did You Do When You Were Eight? Do it Now. Be Happy.

So, at dinner last night, Carrie introduced me to this little crumb of life coach theory. She asked me what my three favorite things were to do when I was eight years old.

I looked at her like she had three heads and asked her how she expected me to remember such information at my age.

Of course, she hates it when I deflect her questions with another question in an effort to stall or just change the subject, but I hate having to think about myself in an introspective way.

However, she was dead set on me answering this question and not letting me get away with my techniques of conversational derailing. I answered her. I answered her because I pretty much knew the answer and I love her and didn’t want to disappoint her yet again.

My answer was that I loved to read, run around in the woods collecting forest creatures that have no business being pets for the sole purpose of making them pets, and I loved to fish.

Carrie was not surprised by my answers and went on to tell me that these things are what I am supposed to be doing now. These things are what would make me happy if I was able to just do them for the majority of, or a good portion of, my adult life. She, as always, is right.

Nothing would make me happier than to be able to run around in the woods looking for Bigfoot or to be fishing all of the time. Reading can be accomplished on the days when the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities.

But how can this be possible as an adult I asked her. Her response was that the things we loved to do most often when we are of a semi-independent childhood age are what we should do all of our lives to maintain our best lifestyle. The lifestyle that makes us the most happy and content.

I looked at her with a face that she knew meant, “this is impossible, woman.” I have too many responsibilities to ever be able to do that. Knowing me as well as she does, she went on to explain that this is indeed the trap. The responsibility trap that keeps a majority of us from doing what we really want. The trap of social expectations!

We don’t really have to live to make as much money as we can. We don’t really have to live to live up to someone else’s expectations. What we should be doing is living to live the best life that we can, for us.

I REALLY need to start doing the things that I love to do! I need to take my own beautiful and loving wife’s advice and start doing more of what makes me the happiest. So does she.

Don’t waste your life away not doing the things that you love people!

And as you do those things, remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

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