oh, how the mind plays tricks…

I found this photo I shot in Amsterdam on my phone this morning, it got me curious and sent me down a research path (rabbit hole) of how our minds get distorted and subsequently exploited.  

Relationships.  Advertising.  Entertainment.  Politics.  Religion.  

Mostly though, I believe the distortion can be how we see ourselves.

Next, I stumbled upon this article on the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website and thought it was worth sharing.  Joe Navarro has studied the life, teachings and behavior of cult-leaders; Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Bhagwan Rajneesh and Warren Jeffs, just to name a few. 

What he said was that these individuals were or are all pathologically narcissistic.

Then I started wondering about the differences between narcissism v. self-esteem.  It’s pretty stark and worth understanding better.  I thought I knew the difference.  I didn’t really.

Here’s a quick guide of the differences.  

n-v-se.jpg

Hey, the more we know, well, the more we know, right?

 

We all possess some narcissistic traits.  I’ve certainly had to take a look at myself.  It wasn’t easy at the time, but I’m grateful I did, and my relationships improved because of more awareness

It’s the extremes of these traits we need to notice.

Healthy narcissism is the characteristic of possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life, as unhealthy narcissists tend to be.

Joe Navarro (former FBI agent):  “From my studies of cults and cult leaders during my time in the FBI, I learned early on that there are some things to look for that, at a minimum, say caution, this individual is dangerous, and in all likelihood will cause harm to others.”

They all have or had an over-abundant belief that they were special, that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered. They demanded perfect loyalty from followers, they overvalued themselves and devalued those around them, they were intolerant of criticism, and above all they did not like being questioned or challenged.

And yet, in spite of these less than charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features.” 

Here are some of the traits to watch out for and avoid if possible.

Link to entire list:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/dangerous-cult-leaders

  1. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
  2. Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
  3. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  4. Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated special at all times.
  5. Is arrogant and haughty in behavior or attitude.
  6. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows them to bend rules and break laws.
  7. Is hypersensitive to how they are seen or perceived by others.
  8. Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
  9. Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
  10. Insisits in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
  11. Doesn’t listen well to others, communication is one-way in the form of dictates.
  12. Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling.
  13. Behaves as though people are objects to be used or exploited for personal gain.
  14. When criticized, lash out not just with anger but with rage.
  15. Refers to non-members or non-believers as “the enemy.
  16. Habitually puts down others as inferior.
  17. Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere them.
  18. The word “I” dominates their conversations, oblivious to how often they reference themself.
  19. Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly – if so, acts out with rage.
  20. Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything, never apologize for their actions.
  21. Believes they possess the answers and solutions to world problems.
  22. Works the least but demands the most.
  23. Highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
  24. Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from believers.
  25. Sees self as “unstoppable”, perhaps has even said so.
  26. Conceals background or family which would disclose ordinary they are.

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

— Aldous Huxley, writer & philosopher

the better angels of our nature…

Being in opposition is easy, but stating what we believe in is often challenging.  We’re living in strange times, there’s way too much stress in the system.  It doesn’t matter what side (or center) of the American political spectrum you fall on—division and absolute certainty are not the products of a civil society.  I find myself longing for a time when we agreed on some basic truths and then engaged in respectful policy discussions about how to achieve those shared goals.

After having my coffee and reading the news, I wanted to write about things I believe in—not what I’m opposed to.

HERE GOES (this is actually harder than you think, try it):

EDUCATION: 

I believe our schools should teach rigorous courses in the following areas:

1. How to have healthy relationships: familial, personal, societal and self 

2. Financial literacy

3. Digital life/footprint realities & cyber security information

4. Personal health: nutrition, exercise & sexuality 

5. Stress management: I read in Psychology Today that the average high school student in America has the level of stress of the average psychiatric patient in 1950. Horrifying huh? 

6. Home Economics & Shop courses mandatory starting in 1st grade: If we taught kids how to cook, clean, mend/repair things, lots of hacks for living, it would be powerful and empowering.  The more we know, well, the more self esteem grows.  I know many believe these things should happen at home, however, my children listen better to others than me (or at least it seems that way).

I want to operate in reality, not the romanticized ideal.

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LEADERSHIP: 

Congress should be filled with teachers, coaches, caregivers, engineers, small business owners, artists, writers, factory workers, farmers and so on.  We need to take dark money out of the system and let congress reflect “we the people”.  If the election cycle was much shorter and a defined amount of money is what could be spent, it would level the playing field considerably.

END CITIZEN UNITED!

“The Citizens United ruling, released in January 2010, tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.

In a nutshell, the high court’s 5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate.”

SOURCE: https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/10/18/11527/citizens-united-decision-and-why-it-matters

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PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: 

I believe we need to try to “MIND THE GAP” between our stated values and how we behave…and this is sooooooooo hard sometimes.

I know for me, when my values/behavior are out of step, I feel like crap and the people I love suffer.  This is a muscle to be exercised like any other. 

I started trying to pay more attention to when my values were out of alignment with my actions.  It sucked at first to do this because it’s quite painful.  We don’t want to see ourselves that way.  However, the more I started noticing, the more quickly I could correct the behavior (most of the time).  I’m hardly batting 1000%, but I’ve made slight improvements and that’s something to build upon.

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I wholeheartedly believe in the Bohemian Creed made famous by Baz Luhrmann’s “MOULIN ROUGE”!

TRUTH • BEAUTY • FREEDOM & LOVE

truth beauty freedom and love lisa lillibridge

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BETTER ANGELS (Abraham Lincoln):

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln‘s first inaugural address was delivered on Monday, March 4, 1861, as part of his taking of the oath of office for his first term as the sixteenth President of the United States.