PLEASE OFFEND ME! My Identity Protective Cognition Makes It Impossible (A Lesson on Emotional Intelligence)

I am inviting the entire world to attempt to offend me or hurt my feelings. You can attack my appearance, my personal beliefs (like religion, politics, or my crazy vegan lifestyle), or you can even question my motives for doing this in the first place.

You can accuse me of being conceited, as some might say it would take an arrogant person to claim no other person has the power of his emotions to offend him.

But I would actually submit the opposite…

I propose that pride is the root of being offended. I have learned that most people, by default, think this about themselves:

“I’m a good person.”

Therefore, a “good person” deserves (that’s a dangerous word!) to be treated better; to be treated with more respect.

So when another person comes along and implies that “good person” is not as good as they think they are in their own mind, it is an attack against their identity.

Let’s talk about Identity Protective Cognition for a moment.

It’s the concept that when a person has an idea or belief that is so well-rooted in their identity, any information that someone hurls against them will only reinforce that person’s preexisting beliefs.

So whereas the default for most people is, “I’m a good person, therefore, my identity as a good person can constantly be under attack; from anyone to strangers on the highway to my spouse…”, my identity is different:

“I’m not a good person. I’m a flawed person who is aware I’ll ultimately never please everybody on a daily basis. But I’m confident in my identity in knowing that I will always disappoint someone no matter how hard I try.”

Imagine if that were your identity.

Not to mention, I have Identity Protective Cognition on the belief that I fundamentally can not be offended and that no one can hurt my feelings.

Therefore, anyone who even tries to offend me will only reinforce what I already believe:

No one controls my own emotions but me.

But please, try. I beg you.

It will only prove my theory to everyone else reading this today.

I believe Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: ”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Advertisements

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

Imagine the people of North Korea realizing that they outnumber their nation’s military in brute force and therefore they decide to overthrow the tyranny they’ve been under for all these decades.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: Family Friendly Daddy Blog

Consider the unavoidable violence that would occur as the people would sacrifice their bodies as weapons against the armed military forces of the government. Think about how the landscape would be covered with the charred remains of the thousands fought for the cause of dethroning their oppressor.

It would be a grim picture.

I have just described the mood and feel of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, but the setting is not North Korea, it is a future version of America.

The reason I used North Korea as the example is because I feel the newest Hunger Games installment is a realistic glimpse of what really could happen if any oppressed nation turned own their government.

It all goes back to this concept: The people of a nation are only controlled by their government if they allow themselves to be.

And this is one of the many reasons I love The Hunger Games: The Libertarian theme is undeniable.

Amazingly, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 contains no profanity whatsoever; not even what I call a “1950’s cuss word” like “crap” or even something harmless like “dang it”. Nothing.

Unless I missed one… but I’ve always had a talent for hearing profanity in movies, and I can tell you, I didn’t hear even one questionable or potentially offensive word in this movie.

Likewise, it contains no sexual content or nudity whatsoever; as is typical with the Hunger Games movies.

Yes, Hollywood can indeed make an excellent movie without sex or profanity! Who knew?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

As for violence, that’s another thing. Though blood is fairly minimal, this is a war movie more than anything.

There are mass deaths and public executions in which the camera pans away just in time before the moment of fatal impact is given.

And as I mentioned earlier, the landscape itself is an open graveyard.

What could have made this movie even darker is if any children were shown being killed. However, it is explained that most children had already died in “an epidemic.”

Therefore, the people who sacrifice their lives as human weapons are all older teens and adults; other than when a hospital is bombed by the Capitol, in which hundreds of injured and dying are instantly wiped out. However, only the bombing of the building from the outside is shown.

With that being said, this movie is for a mature audience. Could a 10 year-old watch this movie?

Ask yourself this: At what age would you be okay with your child watching an edited for TV version of Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan?

This isn’t a kids’ movie. It’s an intelligent, mature film that serves as a political thriller/war movie.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is not a family friendly movie, despite the complete lack of profanity and sexual content.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

However, it’s the best movie I’ve seen all year. It’s the kind of movie that is completely worthy of seeing in the theatre.

I believe the message in this movie validates the necessary amount of violence; because ultimately, it gives opportunity for a hero of hope to lead the people to salvation.

Flawless movie, but not intended or suitable for younger viewers. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason.

Thanks for reading my family friendly review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Come back any time!

Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat

July 25, 2013 at 12:20 am , by 

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I’ve decided that in addition to writing about the funny things you do and say on a daily basis, and covering trending parenting stories, I want to start teaching you “life lessons from dad.”

So here’s the first one:

I have learned that the topics of politics, religion, and food are so interwoven into emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity, that to bring up a point that goes against or even questions a person’s already established viewpoint…

Well, it often ends up becoming an insult, a threat, or a display of arrogance: It could put you in danger of being perceived as self-righteous or judgmental; even if you have the purest of intentions.

While it seems most people are familiar with the fact that politics and religion are sensitive subjects, I recently learned that the topic of “food you don’t eat” is equal in regards to one’s emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity.

But my opinion about these topics isn’t worth dividing people. I want to connect to people and make them feel included, and I’ve learned that openly talking about, or even just asking questions about, these three topics isn’t the way to do this.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been trying something out. I’ve been very careful not to use the “V-word” to label myself in regards to my eating lifestyle or the “L-word” to label my political beliefs.

And when it comes to speaking about my religious faith, I am trying to focus on humility, more than anything; which is one of the most important aspects of what I believe anyway. What good are my religious beliefs if my personal beliefs regarding politics and/or food distract people from my faith?

This is me trying to deliberately not perpetuate America’s polarizing tendencies, especially in social media. Both CNN and Fox News are pretty good at that already. I’ll leave it to the experts.

Regarding politics, religion, and food I don’t eat, I’ll let my viewpoints remain as much of a mystery as possible… until people specifically ask, or it works its way into conversation more naturally.

I want to earn the right to have these conversations with individuals, not broadcast my lifestyle across the universe to the masses like I’m the ultimate authority on these three sensitive subjects.

Here’s to finding out if my actions can speak louder than my words.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

New Infographic: Firework Safety- July 4th In America

It’s now common knowledge that we as parents in 2014 can’t raise our own kids the same way we were raised back in 1984. A lot has changed in 30 years!

320285-Chicken-Coup-8f1ddc9f3e29f9bff840150b0fc2f725

An easy example is how it “used to be okay” to ride in the back of a pick-up truck; or even ride in a car without a seat belt- it’s actually against the law now.

My personal pet peeve in this category is, on Facebook, seeing pictures of a child on a riding lawnmower with their grandfather or dad. I’ve seen 2nd hand a couple of stories (which is too many!) of the child falling off and being seriously injured from the incident.

Some of those things that were once normal and acceptable, and even American, are now headed towards the status of taboo.

Right now I can’t not mention fireworks. Just a few weeks ago I was talking with my parents and my sister about how ridiculously unsafe the fireworks were that we used to play with back in the 80s. The concept of sparklers alone… Really?

Granted, I’m not against fireworks. In fact, I am very much looking for to using them next weekend for July 4th with my family.

In particular, we are trying to get our hands on some of those stupid made-in-China chickens that explode; along with some tanks. (Nothing says “Happy 4th of July” like celebrating with flags and fireworks that were made in China, while driving cars dependent on fuel from the Middle East. Oops… too political, sorry!)

This perfectly-timed infographic, “July 4th In America- Firework Safety” is worth checking out. In case I haven’t established this fact yet, I love infographics!

So enjoy your fireworks next Friday, and if I have anything to say about it, please keep your kids off of riding lawn mowers. I know I will.

 

fireworks-safety

Infographic Source: Instant Checkmate.

 

Why Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is the Most Anti-Patriotic Song to Ever Be Loved by America as a Nationalistic Anthem

Like many Americans in my generation, I’m confused by what it means to be “patriotic.”

It’s interesting to sit back and watch while half of America cheers after hearing about the execution of Osama bin Laden then the rest of America chastises them for cheering the death of an enemy, as they misquote Martin Luther King, Jr.  The concept of being a patriotic American is surely much different than it was my for grandparents and their parents.  Being completely honest, I think a lot of us are actually confused about what it actually means to be “patriotic.”  Is it possible to be a proud American and to be proud of our military, yet to be ashamed of some of our nation’s foreign policies?

In May of 1984, country artist Lee Greenwood released “God Bless the USA”, the song many of us think is titled “Proud to Be an American.” The song truly embodied traditional patriotism; no doubt about it. Then just five months later on the day before Halloween, Bruce Springsteen released the song “Born the USA.” Maybe it was because radio listeners were still in a truly patriotic mood thanks to Mr. Greenwood, or maybe they were just blinded by the catchy, rockin’ beat of Mr. Springsteen’s song.  Either way, “Born in the USA” became a legendary hit;  though largely for the wrong reasons.

President Ronald Reagan even referred to Springsteen’s song in one of his speeches, believing “Born in the USA” embodied the message of the American theme of making dreams come true. However, Bruce Springsteen’s song was actually about the effects of the Vietnam War;  including the fact that often the American soldiers who came back from the war were not welcomed when they returned, not being seen as heroes like the war veterans from decades before.  In fact, I can’t help but wonder if some of the song’s lyrics would disqualify it from being played on the radio today, being that they are too “politically incorrect.”

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘Til you spend half your life just covering up…

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says “Son if it was up to me”
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said “Son don’t you understand”

I believe that 27 years later, “Born in the USA” perfectly captures the confusion of people like me, who want to be patriotic in the same way as my grandparents were, yet are so sick of the politics of politics.  I don’t want to be left to choose between traditional Republican or Democratic agendas.  I want another choice- one with a different policy on our economy,our constitutional rights, and how we handle international war as well as “the war on drugs”.

Like this Springsteen shirt below? Clear here to find the price for it on Amazon!

springsteen t-shirt

 

Self-Defense, In Theory

War.  Capital punishment.  Self-defense.  Protecting someone else from a deadly attack.  When is killing another person necessary?

In American culture, on a near daily basis, we hear or make comments jokingly threatening to kill someone or be killed: “Man, my wife is gonna kill me when she finds out I forgot to go by the bank today!” or “I could just strangle that kid!”  It’s so common we think nothing of it.  The idea of actually killing a person for some trivial offense is humorous, because committing murder is so serious of a crime, we obviously wouldn’t act out our off-hand remarks against some who has frustrated us.

But often, behind every joke is at least a little truth.  I know as a man, I sometimes have to calm my own emotions in events where a person offends or frustrates me.  Because in reality, I am wired to kill, as most men are.  It sounds more melodramatic than it is, and I’m not just saying it because Dexter is one of my favorite TV shows.  Since the beginning of time, men have been engaging in and defending themselves in war.  There is an “execution switch” in a man’s body that once it is turned on, it prepares the man for one sole action: Terminate the enemy.

In Capital Punishment, In Theory, I admitted that I don’t know that I have what it takes to fight in a war: I don’t know that I could kill another person, the enemy, when other than trying to kill me because I am trying to kill him, he could be another  law-abiding citizen who will do anything it takes to protect and care for his family because he loves them, including killing me.  In a way, the dictator of his country is forcing him to kill me.

Yet many men I’ve talked to told me they would be willing to kill someone in war before they could be an executioner of capital punishment.  Not me- I would be willing to pull the trigger, flip the switch, whatever necessary to kill a man who is a murderer or rapist; therefore preventing them from hurting other potential victims.  Other men are wired to terminate soldiers of enemy nations; therefore preventing them from hurting weaker nations, what I call “group self-defense”. And I’m sure there are some men that could do both.

There’s also the scenario of a man defending himself and/or his family- what if an armed man breaks in the house?  Is the man of the house willing to kill that armed shadowy stranger to protect himself and his family?

At some point, taking another human life has to be justified.  Whether as a nation or as individuals, if we never defended ourselves, we would be weak, foolish, defeated, and possibly dead ourselves.  It’s important as a man, who is wired to kill when absolutely necessary, to know which lines another person must cross in order to be worth losing his life.  For me, a man loses his right to live when he murders/attempts to murder or sexually assaults/attempts to sexually assault another person.

Because our nation has basically been fighting most of its wars on foreign land, the thought of “a good man killing a bad man” is pretty much a concept reserved for our military; on a different continent.  But I can’t just look outwardly; I have to look within our borders as well, at the men of the same race and religion as we are who prove they can’t live their lives without hurting their neighbors.  When is killing necessary?  Unfortunately, “never” is not a valid answer in the world we currently live in.

“Kill or be killed” is a tough law to live by; but mankind has been doing it for a long time now, premeditated or not.

The Paradox of Claiming to Be Humble and the Irony in Bragging on Your Integrity

While in college at Liberty University, I noticed that I literally walked past thousands of other students every day, most of whom I’d never stop to have a conversation with.  We would recognize each other in the cafeteria as a person who saw while walking to our 9:00 class, but there was no reason to know anything more about each other.  So I messed with the situation.  I started putting on a nametag each day with different information about myself.

Like one day it said “5’ 9”, and another day, “Alabama native”.  Eventually, I started running out of solid facts about myself, so would sometimes use dry humor.  One day, I wrote on my nametag, “VERY HUMBLE”.  Most of my classmates and friends got the joke.  But there were a few that responded, “You’re humble?  Oh…”

The obvious joke is that no one can truly proclaim they are humble and still be humble.  Being humble involves humility; so for a person tell others about positive attributes about themselves, especially being humble, and for no apparent reason, is far from being humble, if the action was meant to be serious.  It makes me think of political commercials where we see the word “INTEGRITY” flash up on the screen over the politician’s face, and at the end, the politician running for office, himself, states that he approves the message.

Any business that sells itself as a company that treats people right makes itself a target as soon as the first company comes along with a perceived injustice.  And that’s why every company has some sort of “complaints department”.   Like how the most religious person in the room’s actions are often looked at through a magnifying glass, then when they do the slightest crude thing, they are remembered for that one random act, making them sort version of a hypocrite.

Of course, that’s the tricky thing about honesty, integrity, and humility: There are extremes and in-betweens.  Not all politicians truly are sleazy.  Not all people in prison are horrible human beings.  Being that no one on Earth is currently perfect, no one is truly completely honest and humble, living in accordance with immaculate integrity.  A good reputation is made over a course of time, through actions.  But even a good reputation is negated once the person is the one to bring attention to it.  Like a man in a good suit, he’s instantly less cool if he brings up his suit in conversation- it’s someone else’s job to brag on him.