For simplicity's sake, I refer to heterosexual women in this post, but what I discuss here definitely applies to heterosexual men and non-heterosexual individuals as well. Source: Phovoir/Shutterstock Many of us are familiar with this scenario: Mr. Nice Guy is cute, sweet, interesting, smart, and available. Even better, he is interested in a relationship with you. The only problem is that you just aren't that into him. Mr. Bad Guy, on the other hand, is on your mind 24/7. Like Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. Bad Guy has a lot of good qualities, but he is either unavailable for a relationship in general, or unavailable for a relationship with you, because he just isn't that into you. Despite his continual rejection, however, you cannot seem to get him off your mind. The more he rejects you and the more forcefully he indicates that he doesn't want to be with you, the more interested you seem to become. Why do we develop this bad habit of wanting what we cannot … [Read more...] about Why We Obsess Over People Who Don’t Want Us
Certain attributes of emotions dynamically influence how we experience them and the meaning we give to them. It's not possible to understand the function of emotions without a grasp of these attributes. Importance Emotions create importance. With an emotional response anything can be important; without it, nothing is. There can be no sense of meaning without emotion. Amplify, Magnify, Distort Emotions seize conscious attention by amplifying and magnifying change in the environment or within the self. The evolved purpose is to get us to act on the motivation of the emotion (approach, avoid, attack). For instance, if you're interested in something, and don’t focus on it, the usually unconscious emotion of interest starts to feel like anticipation, excitement, a nagging hunch, or anxiety. If you have ignored someone you love and don't approach to kiss and make up, the usually unconscious emotion of guilt will begin to feel like impatience, frustration, anxiety, or depression. If … [Read more...] about Dynamic Attributes of Emotion
In early November I spoke with no-kill advocate Nathan Winograd about the possibility that nonhuman animals (animals) can experience irremediable psychological suffering. And, I just discovered an essay he recently published on this topic called "Irremediable Psychological Suffering? There's No Such Thing." Here, I simply want to write a brief response because while I laud his and many others' efforts in the no-kill movement, there is another way to look at the question, "Can animals ever suffer such deep psychological trauma that they want to die?" In his provocative and deeply thoughtful essay that I hope reaches a global audience, Mr. Winograd writes, "The No Kill Advocacy Center defines 'irremediable physical suffering' as an animal who has 'a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting pain even with comprehensive, prompt, and necessary veterinary care,' such as animals in fulminant organ system failure. But … [Read more...] about Do Dogs Ever Simply Want to Die to End the Pain?
Several weeks ago, I had to pick up my elementary school-aged daughter early from school for her annual flu shot. I made the appointment as late in the day as I could, to accommodate my work schedule and to minimize the time she would miss from class. As most parents can attest, there was a lot of shuffling and hurrying involved, but I multi-tasked, I juggled, and I was feeling good about having “fit it all in.” Until I arrived at school. The school staff was nice enough, welcoming me as I signed my daughter out and speculating on what a treat it would be for her to have a bit of an early dismissal from school. I agreed; a visit to the pediatrician’s office was never the most fun but some extra one-on-one time with my girl would be a treat nonetheless. Until she saw me in the hall. Rather than running to me for a hug or even smiling and saying “Hi,” she had what I can only describe as a meltdown. One minute, she was walking toward me, the next, she was … [Read more...] about Reponding to Anger in Children
In my work as an Elementary School Counselor, I meet with young children everyday who are overcome by emotion. On my best days, it is feelings of pure joy, amazement, excitement, and wonder that take over the senses of these little people. On a typical day, however, the students who find their way to my office are the ones who are overwhelmed by anger, frustration, and/or sadness. On a recent day, a bright third grade student, named Allie* came knocking on my door during her lunch period, with tears streaming down her face. She was distraught over her interpretation of a school rule that she believed would prevent her from ever seeing her favorite teacher again. Knowing Allie from both joyful and despondent moments over the years, I know that she is a sensitive child who feels her feelings with intensity. During periods of stress, she is especially susceptible to misperceiving the words and behaviors of others. It is not uncommon for Allie to perseverate on a single troubling detail of … [Read more...] about The Importance of Listening Well to Young People