Posted August 29th, 2016
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to be honest. In fact, a 2002 study published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology says that the average person lies 100 times per day. In a brief 10 minute conversation, 60% of people lied, and the average was 3 lies in that 10 minute conversation. One of the most fascinating things is that most of these people believed they were telling the truth.
It’s little white lies that we tell, without even thinking about it. We act like we understand a word and fake our way through conversations, we say we had seen a movie when we didn’t, or the one I’m most guilty of, I’ve heard of a band I’ve never heard of. We often do these things to fit in, or be more liked. Is there really a purpose though? To what end are lies helping us?
The truth is, they’re not. Lies don’t help us at all. Unless we are in a life or death situation, there is no reason to lie. Telling small lies to fit in? What’s that about? Why is it so important to feel like we are part of the group? There’s nothing wrong with saying you’ve never heard of an obscure Appalachian folk band, or never seen American Graffiti. Not everyone is a fan of sports, and you shouldn’t fake your way through a talk about football if you’ve never watched a game in your life. If a person’s opinion of you is based on minutiae like this, then why are you striving for their approval so hard? Personally, I would rather have someone be honest and say they’ve never seen the movie or heard of the band. It gives me an opportunity to share something with them, and expand their knowledge base.
I had a long habit of telling big lies. That’s what happens when you are suffering from addictions. You lie to cover up your behavior. But it had gotten well past just big lies. I would create intricate webs of small lies to cover my tracks. I would lie about stopping at stores. Lie about how much money was in the bank. Lie about paying a ticket, or sending out bills, or scheduling a doctor appointment. Lies, lies, lies. One after another. When you have a habit of lying, you desperately need to keep those lies intact. You can’t have the truth uncovered, or you face ridicule, shame, and damaged relationships. It creates undue stress on your mind, and it will come out in destructive ways.
Honesty has been the single most important part of my recovery. Not just my recovery from alcoholism, but my recovery as a human being. Stepping outside of the confines I’ve constructed in my mind, and setting forth in a life that seeks to build up others, not just myself. If you want people to trust you, you have to be honest. If you want them to believe in you, you have to give them a reason to believe. One of the most important aspects of strong relationships with others is the credit you build with them. How much can they trust you, and how much weight can they put into the words that you say?
Lying is easy. Just keep trying to protect your fragile mind, and lies will just fall out of your mouth with little effort. But get uncomfortable, and push for growth, and get honest. It may hurt a little at first, but true growth requires you to get uncomfortable. Live honestly. I know I make an effort at it every day.
Posted August 7th, 2016
So last week, Instagram rolled out its new feature, Stories. This works remarkably like Snapchat, and a lot of people are considerably upset about the addition. We all like to bitch about new features from any of our beloved platforms, and over the last couple years, we REALLY like to bitch about Instagram. Never mind that these are apps and sites that are both optional for us to use, and free of charge. We don’t HAVE to browse Instagram or Facebook or Twitter 10 hours a day, we choose to.
So the new feature of Stories works very simply. You take short video or photos, add emojis and text, and they delete themselves after 24 hours. Sounds familiar. I’ve struggled to find footing with Snapchat. There’s no news feed, no profiles, and you can’t search it. This is incredibly frustrating for someone who is so content based. I’ll admit that I was skeptical about Stories. Instagram has a habit of taking aspects of very platform specific apps (Vine) and integrating it into their own in an attempt to cut competition. A savage business model that is incredibly successful.
They’ve really hit it out of the park with Stories. It doesn’t interfere with your news feed, your profile, or your notifications. It’s simply a row of users you follow at the top, and that’s it. You can tap a user profile picture to view their story. I’ve been using it steadily since it was introduced. I’m reaching a much larger audience than Snapchat due to my large preexisting following on Instagram. Interaction is easier, with messages heading right into your regular Instagram messages.
I give it a thumbs up. I use it, and I will continue to use it, and I encourage you to do the same. There’s a lot of new information to be gained, and a lot of ways to provide more varied, information heavy content. Give me a follow over on Instagram, and check out my story. @TimPangburn
Posted July 31st, 2016
For those of you who haven’t been following me on Instagram, I’ve been participating in a challenge (well, I technically created it) to do a sketch a day for the entire year of 2016! I’m actually over a month behind, which is shitty on my part, but it’s been a crazy year.
If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to my Instagram, @timpangburn, and look for my posts of each month’s list! Don’t worry about going back, you can jump in any time. Just find the lists, do the sketches, and use the hashtag #366sketches. I’ve included the August list, and a few examples of some of my past drawings. Happy sketching, everyone!
Posted July 17th, 2016
Of all the ways we work to improve ourselves, forgiveness is one of the most important. We often forgive people for minor trespasses daily, but a lot of people leave it there. That’s their forgiveness practice. You forgive your friend for calling you a name, or the person who apologizes for not inviting you to a party. There is far more to forgiveness. What about the guy who butted in line at Starbucks? Or the guy who cut you off on your way to work? Most people will carry those things all day until they simply forget, but never forgive.
The first thing to remember is that the world does not revolve around us. Each person out there is going about their own lives, and simple things like someone butting in line could have 100 different reasons that are beyond the scope of information we have. Maybe they didn’t see you. Maybe their friend is the person in front of you, and they just came back form the bathroom. Or maybe they’re just being a jerk. Even if they are, we don’t know why they’re behaving that way. Again, there’s countless reasons for the behavior of others, and it’s not our job to dissect and criticize it. Our only job is to accept it and move forward.
What about the people who have intentionally wronged us? People who have done things to harm us, or make our lives difficult? When someone gives a genuine apology for something they have done to hurt us, it can be a lot harder to forgive. There is real pain involved emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically. The act of apologizing in itself creates a bridge for you to forgive. It is up to you to cross it, and begin healing and moving forward.
One of the most difficult things to forgive is those who continue to wish us harm, and intentionally hurt us, or blame us for their situation. People who would rather scapegoat a situation onto you than take their portion of responsibility, who bad mouth you to their friends, who will do anything in their power to make things difficult for you. Our enemies. How can we possibly cultivate forgiveness for these people who continually try to make our lives hell? It starts from an understanding that they want they same thing that we all want, and that’s happiness. Everyone wants happiness. Most people just don’t understand how to get it.
Have you ever carried a hatred for someone? Have you walked around just hoping people get what’s coming to them, or stay angry over the guy who cut you off? We’ve all had times where we’ve hoped someone who wronged us meets with physical harm. How does that make you feel? Does anyone feel actual happiness when they are angry or vengeful? Of course not. We can derive pleasure from revenge and sticking it to someone we don’t like, but we don’t get any kind of real happiness or joy from it. Carrying those emotions only creates a bitterness inside of you that grows.
The Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” This is the world those who wish you ill will live in. They are grasping a hot coal, planning to throw it at you. When you look at it from an intellectual standpoint, we know that violence always begets violence. These are vicious cycles that only continue as you fuel the fire. The key is to be able to look at them, and understand that their actions come from a place of darkness within themselves. They can’t understand that they are only harming themselves, and this will not bring them any happiness whatsoever. They do not have self accountability for how they act, or for their own emotions. This is a terrible place to live your life. I lived my life in that place for years. I used to curse people’s names and scream that I wanted their children to grow up without a parent. I was the one in pain, and I manifested that outwardly and targeted it at others.
So what are we to do? How can we let go of the pain those people cause us, and instead forgive them? We need to first learn about our pain. We need to get to the root of why we are feeling how we feel. Every single negative emotion can be broken down, and at the core of every bit of hurt, every piece of betrayal and sense of injustice we feel, will come out the other side with fear as its main source. All negative emotions are steeped in fear. Fear is insecurity. It makes us think and act irrationally. It causes reactionary instead of responsive behavior. When you feel betrayed or hurt, dig deep within yourself to find that fear. You need to acknowledge it. Acknowledge it, and understand that it is without base.
Even if you have done nothing to deserve the treatment you get, you have a part to play in it. That part is how you respond both outwardly and inwardly. Do some soul searching, and learn to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings. We are all flawed beings, and we all deserve love. You deserve love. Do not be defined by the outward experience of your life. You deserve love, kindness, and forgiveness, and the first person who needs to show it to you is yourself. The key takeaways from this are two1) learn to forgive yourself, and 2) understand that when others act out, they are doing it as an outward representation of their own pain. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Only through this, can you gain a lasting peace.