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Philosophy With Courtesy

It’s difficult to have a positive influence on people if we base our discussions with them on the premise that they’re just a bunch of lowly simpletons who need to be saved by our enlightened wisdom.

If we want others to take our ideas seriously, we have to start by taking their sincerity seriously.

As illogical and whimsical as people sometimes seem to be, they are only doing what makes sense to themselves relative to what they know.

The purpose of sharing information and spreading truth, as I see it, isn’t so we can bask in the glory of our superior intelligence. It’s so we can participate in the privilege and pleasure of growing, learning, and exploring the wonders of life together.

The less we patronize, the better we philosophize.

For those who didn’t get invited to the party

If you want to be considered, you have to present yourself for consideration.

Everything you get in life is a return on investment.

This is true not only for the artist who wishes to be known for his work or for the entrepreneur who needs to attract more customers, but it’s also true at the everyday level of being invited to weddings, receiving phone calls from friends, and not being the one who is forgotten or overlooked when acquaintances get together for casual hangouts.

The harsh, but liberating, fact of social life is that you cannot entirely depend on getting picked or being taken care of by the people whose affection you desire.

It’s harsh because we all know, or will eventually find out, what it feels like to be overlooked or left off the list.

It’s liberating because once we accept the fallible, and sometimes fickle nature of our social networks, we can put an end to the suffering that comes from passively waiting on other people to anticipate and satisfy our needs.

One of the most self-defeating assumptions to which we can adhere is the notion that attention only matters if it isn’t requested.

If you have a well-established track record of getting everything you want just by looking pretty, enjoy the good life (while it lasts).

But for the rest of us who know what it’s like to suffer in silence, I offer this simple reminder:

Speak up. Find creative and tactful ways for requesting the things you need. If this seems difficult for you, take some time to develop new skills. Challenge yourself by studying and practicing the art of clear confident communication. Never assume that you’ve read all the books, tried all the methods, and heard all the different perspectives. Learn, learn, and apply what you learn. Accept no excuses from yourself and refuse to throw pity parties.  

The world can be a very welcoming and accommodating place, but you have to be willing to engage it with a proactive and persistent mindset.

Get out into society and start making a case for the things you want, feel, and believe.

Make your presence felt. Make your voice heard. Make your perspective known.

Make your life the product of deliberate intent.


T.K. Coleman

Making THEM guess only makes YOU suffer

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood…My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you….What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.” -Audre Lorde

Having reasonable expectations isn’t the same thing as being clear with others.

In other words, the mere fact that your expectations may be fair (given your background assumptions and so forth) does not, in and of itself, mean that other people will be consciously aware of what you’re expecting from them.

In relationships, being reasonable is not enough. One must put forth the effort necessary to communicate.

Making sense inside of your own head will never be a good substitute for making your needs known.

It’s easy to find loyal friends who’ll comfort us by saying “I totally see your point of view.” It’s a lot harder to take responsibility for articulating that point of view to the people who can actually do something about it.

If you need something, figure out a way (and yes, that involves work, study, risk, and possible discomfort) to get your message across.

Don’t settle for being a reasonable complainer or an understandable martyr. Stand up, step forward, and speak out.

Your needs matter. Why risk leaving their fulfillment in the hands of someone else’s ability to guess what they are?

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