Category Archives: the “understanding” series

understanding “i don’t know” – part 2

in my last blog entry i talked about how the words “i don’t know” often stem not from not-knowing, but from information overload. the knowledge gets buried in a mass of (often unpleasant) information.

the second reason why we sometimes feel we don’t know the solution to our problems is because we might have a deep-seated fear of knowledge, especially knowledge that is connected to feelings.

years ago, when i worked in a jail, i met “janis”, who for all intents and purposes appeared below-average intelligent and who seemed to be suffering from Continue reading

understanding “i don’t know”

“i don’t know …”

when we’re confronted with a difficult issue, we often come up with these words, “i don’t know”.

“why do i always end up drinking more than i wanted? i just don’t know.”

“i wish i could change how i talk to my son. we always seem to end up fighting. i just don’t know what to do.”

“i can’t believe it. once again, i’m in a dead-end job. how does this happen? i really don’t know.”

the question is, do we really not know?

i believe that in most cases, we do know. two of the main reasons why Continue reading

“you made me do it” – part 4: understanding it all

okay, so let’s see what we can make of all the information and opinions we’ve gathered in the last few days about the subject of “making” someone feel something.

in the first part, we concluded that it’s not possible to make anyone feel anything, as evidenced by the fact that when a teacher says something to a classroom, there will be a wide range of feeling reactions among the students.

in the second part we looked at the research that shows that at a subconscious level, people can influence each other quite strongly through nonverbal cues.

in the third part, we took a detour and looked at the lack of control over our feelings that comes from seeing ourselves as unworthy. we looked at the difference between “getting to” feel something and choosing to feel something.

so how does this all tie together? Continue reading

understanding internet users

(the following entry is a retreat of something i posted back in january. when i transferred my blog over from blogger, for some reason none of the material from january made it over here. so i’ll post some of the posts anew.)

a while ago i skulked around the internet again, using wordtracker to find out what keywords internet surfers use to look for the topics of problem drinking and anorexia. it was a pretty shocking experience.

for example, when checking what kind of keywords people used last month in connection with the word anorexic, there is hardly anything at all that would indicate that people think that anorexia, a life-threatening condition, is problematic. the most sought-after keyword was “anorexic pictures” (about 63,000 keyword searches, for pictures of supposedly sexy anorexic women).

most of the other keywords searched for are things like this

how to become anorexic
sexy anorexic
anorexic porn
anorexic sex
anorexic nude

the same thing with alcohol. when i looked for the word “drunk”, there were 27 times as many seaches for “drunk girls” as for “drunk driving” and 78 times as many searches for “drunk chicks” as for “victims of drunk driving accidents”.

i understand the mechanics of this – sex, drugs and rock’n’roll are more interesting in the short run than trying to deal with personal problems – but still …

do i sound like a dried-up old schoolmarm here?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

understanding email chain letters

the other day i received an email from a friend. it started with the ominous “please read and pass on”. immediately my antennae went up; in my experience, 95% of such emails turn out to be hoaxes.

the friend of mine who passed the email on to me is an ex teacher, has an excellent education, and is well read. why, i wondered, did he fall for this hoax?

here are a few excerpts of that particular chain letter:

Outrage in South Africa … Last week a 3 year old girl was beaten and raped … The man responsible was released … If you are too busy to read this then … The Government is planning to close the child protection unit and this is a petition against it … You may have already heard that there’s a myth in South Africa that
having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS … Recently in Cape Town, a 9-month-old baby was raped by 6 men. Please think about that for a moment … Please don’t be complacent, do something … You can make a difference …

who in their right mind would not be Continue reading

understanding spammers

okay, here is something that i absolutely have to get off my chest:

what goes on in the head of spammers?

and what, specifically, is the process of coming up with these amazing names, like

abhorrence p. versifying
amateurism g. causal
ambiguities u. magnetos
annihilation j. silliness
arnulfo mcleod

(more at the end of this entry – i don’t want to spam your reading time with the remaining 41 names, from demetrius column to zelma mooney)

so, someone tell me how this works.

is there are spammers’ name factory? if so, how does it work? is it automated, or is it a dingy old industrial complex in manila, where 13-year-olds write their fingers bloody with name after name for a starvation wage?

are spammers so bored with what they do that they entertain themselves with coming up with these names?

is there perhaps a secret spammers’ naming olympics, or some kind of grammy award for the most inventive spammer’s name?

or is it something you learn in spammers school?

or are they perhaps all high on VI*a*GRA or h OO dia?

one last thing: do these people know the words they’re using – i mean, are they even aware of the hilarity of these names? think about the irony of “annihilation j. silliness” sending you a completely inane message.

on the other hand, “experiencing a. pit” probably knows what she/he/it is doing.

i tried to find some material on the psychology of spammers and haven’t come up with anything at all. maybe i need to dig deeper. considering how big (and irritating) spamming is in our internet lives, it’s suprising that i didn’t find anything yet.

anyways, here’s the rest of the names.

demetrius column
democritus mateo
disbarring f. lunatic
emulsified u. carrier
eridanus h. sweatier
exorcized h. scuttle
experiencing a. pit
fry dempster
genaro lovett,
godiva stanley
guadalupe harper;
harebrained l. ramrodded
heidi champagne;
highchairs p. polyphemus
hohenstaufen v. sicking
inflorescence b. afghan.
jernigan fletcher,
jocundity h. sulkiness
joris dng
kermit clinton
leaching k. criming
lofting c. amendable
maillol l. shrews
microwaving c. grammes
monomania i. buxom
morocco s. yanking
morse k. commencement
pacifically t. gloss
pauperism p. perimeter
pocahontas e. maharajas
propitiate f. mockingly
schlessman lankford
shrub b. nipples
steers q. bloodhound
stress f. obelisks
trammelled s. intercessions
vercingetorix brick
yesenia hopkins,
young alford,
zaida coxum,
zelma mooney

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

understanding “enough”

just as hope can be seen from opposing viewpoints, i think the term “enough” can be seen from different points of view as well.

let’s take these three examples:

“you don’t need another blanket, joe. it’s not that cold – these two blankets are enough.”

“don’t worry about making every page perfect. remember, it’s a draft; what you have here is great, it’s definitely good enough.”

“no thanks, i don’t need another helping of pasta; i have enough.”

in the first scenario, joe feels he needs more but he is dismissed by someone who feels she is in a position to adequately assess joe’s needs (and perhaps assess them better than joe himself).

in the second scenario, someone aspires to be perfect and she is reassured; the situation does not call for perfection, and what’s already there is more than adequate.

the person in the third scenario has a good sense for just exactly how much he needs; that need has been fulfilled, and he effortlessly states what his boundaries are: “i have enough.”

we could say that the first situation is about deprivation; the second one is about perfectionism and the third is about balance.

what do we want to have in our lives? deprivation, perfectionism or balance?

it is interesting to note that in the first two scenarios, both times, it is someone else who assesses what’s enough. only in the third, it’s the person himself who decides what’s enough.

we often have uneasy feelings about the word “enough”. often it’s around the phrase “good enough.” perhaps the next time this unease crops up, you can ask yourself, who is making the decision whether something or someone is good enough? and if it’s you who seems to be making that decision and you still feel uneasy, you can ask yourself, “is that really me talking, or is that someone else’s voice inside me? my mother? my teacher? is that voice still valid?”

let’s get to the point where you decide what’s good enough.

isabella mori
counseling in vancouver