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Archives for September, 2012

Depression

Words As A Lifeline In Hard Times

It's easy to be philosophical when everything's going fine.

I love when friends invent pithy quotes.

Yesterday, my friend Karen asked if I knew of any quotes along the lines of the above, which has been running through her head recently.

"To me it means when times are good and you're in your rhythm and conquering the world (or just fairly happy) it's easy to be philosophical about how to get thru the bad times," she wrote.

"Telling yourself...
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General

How To Be Comforting, And Not

"The pain never goes away, but it gets different. It gets bearable."

These are the words of a New York City cab driver, spoken to my parents when they were on the way to the morgue to face the unimaginable task of identifying their youngest son, my kid brother, who died unexpectedly.

The driver, too, had lost a child, and these words are perhaps the wisest I've ever heard for the recently bereaved.

I've lost a brother,...
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Courage

Face Reality: Life Can Be Random

Everything happens for a reason.

I don’t know who said this first, but lots of people say it now and it annoys me every time I hear it.

I’m not a fan of magical thinking and that’s what this is—some sort of happy-voodoo, abracadabra, unicorns and rainbows, fairy dust and angels belief in preordination.

Of course, it’s a comforting belief. I get that. It makes the world feel less random, makes order of what might seem...
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Communication

Why Great Minds Gossip

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Well pooh-pooh, la-di-da, and phooey on this quote, which shouldn’t even be allowed on a psychology website. Because really, what is psychology if not discussing people? People are endlessly fascinating, they are responsible for ideas and events, and you couldn’t figure them out in a lifetime of study. What’s so small about discussing people?

What about Freud? Didja ever think...
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Communication

Shaddup Already!

It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them. -- Dame Rose Macaulay

Is this true? I need to know.

I’ve always believed that talking things out is the right thing to do, but I am doubting, doubting, doubting these days. And here's this dame (a novelist and travel writer) telling me my belief is delusional.

But I need explanations. Is nothing made better by talking, or are some things made better...
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Communication

Three Ways To Process Criticism

How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.― Benjamin Disraeli

How are you at taking criticism?

I’ve gotten pretty good at it. If you’re going to put yourself in the public eye, you have to take your lumps.

I usually let rotten tomatoes land where they will. Readers often have unpleasant things to say to those of us with the audacity to put our thoughts in print. I’ve been called names, been accused...
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Creativity

Pithy Quotes Smackdown: God vs. The Devil

God is in the details.

The devil is in the details.

"So which is it?" a friend asked, peevishness implied in her email.

Good question.

I'm not going to try and trace the origins of these quotes. The former is usually attributed to architect Mies van der Rohe, but some people claim it was around long before he got around to it. "The devil is in the details" may or may not have been a spinoff from...
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General

For John Lennon Told Me So

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.—John Lennon

When I first heard this aphorism a couple of decades ago, it hit me so profoundly that I asked my mother to work it up in a cross-stitch for me, which has hung in my house ever since.

I was going through a particularly hard time back then and was angry about some things that had and hadn't happened. These words helped me...
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