What Does “Be Yourself” Mean?

Woman wearing maskGot a job interview? Going on a first date? Meeting the in-laws?

Just be yourself!

What does that actually mean, though? Since you can’t be anyone else, this advice doesn’t seem to make sense.

It’s like saying, “Just have skin!”

Obviously the idea is to cultivate relaxation and confidence.

We can train ourselves to physically relax, but we can’t choose not to be nervous, and we can’t just decide to feel proud and happy with ourselves. Read More

What Is Healthy Entitlement?

fdpFor many people, “entitled” is a four-letter word (e.g., “Kids today are so entitled!“). But for all of us, entitlement is essential to healthy self-esteem.

To entitle someone is to give them a title, right or claim to something.

When someone is entitled, they’ve accepted (and will act on) a certain title, right or claim. But to what?

What is an entitled person entitled TO?

How Do You Know When to Speak Up?

Someone with too much entitlement feels s/he has a right to just about anything s/he wants.  Read More

Why We’re Ashamed of Ourselves

A hundred thousand years ago or more, on a chilly April evening in Portland, Oregon (I know — it wasn’t called Portland or Oregon then) (or April), two cavemen sat together near a fire.

Gak made a pithy but insulting remark, and Trog got angry. So Trog killed Gak. Later Trog was sorry because there was nobody around to play cards with. Or sing sea chanties. Or whatever our ancestors did to pass the time in the Stone Age. Read More

Shame is a Useless Emotion

You might think that without shame, the world would fall into chaos.

If we never felt ashamed of ourselves, we wouldn’t care if our actions inconvenienced, embarrassed or emotionally devastated others because no matter what we did, we wouldn’t experience the emotional consequences of our behavior.

Thus, shame seems useful. At home, at work, even at parties, where skinny dipping or double-dipping might get out of control, shame seems to help us hold the line between civilization and anarchy.

With all due respect I have to say that, like many things that sound right, that’s just not true.

Shame vs. Remorse

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