I have always tried to live a low stress life. I try to avoid conflicts by always being honest with my feelings so everyone knows where they stand, by being consistent and reliable, by being kind and polite and patient and sensitive to the needs of those around me. I have a number of behaviors and beliefs that are designed to keep my life without stress. Here are some of them.
While I was brought up Jewish and now practice Pagan spirituality, my opinion is that there is no way any of us can know things such as what happens after we die or the True Nature of the universe and such. Therefore, what we choose to believe about these things is most usefully based on the value of holding the belief itself rather than on it's degree of factualness.
For example, I find it useful to believe that I am a physically beautiful person regardless of weather or not it is "true" or if anyone else thinks so.
Therefore, I assume when someone tells me something from their heart that it must be true- at least for them at this moment. Depending on how much experience I have with this person's ability to accurately predict the world, perhaps it may even prove true for me- I try to keep an open mind.
This does not mean that I do not make judgments. Each of us must choose each moment of our lives what we want to do- where to go and -especially- with whom to be. I try to be with other people who are open and who can live with people being the way they are. I prefer not to be around people who think that there are some people who are less worthy of humanity than others. Of course, when we go out into the world we do find individual persons who deserve less respect and others who deserve more, but only as individuals- making generalizations based on appearance or even environment is dangerously limiting because -what if you or I looked like that or was in that environment accidently? You never know who you might love.
I prefer to be friends with persons who are also honest and responsible. Those who are addicted to drugs generally are not honest and responsible. Those who are addicted to alcohol in particular, I have found to be quite unreliable. Of those who are addicted to tobacco, although they are damaging their own health and the health of those around them when they smoke, it is still possible for them to be responsible and -especially if they want to quit smoking- we can become friends.
Although I have known many people who enjoy marijuana on a regular basis, I have never known of anyone to ever become physically addicted to it. The only studies of which I am aware which attempt to prove that it is possible to become physically addicted to marijuana have all been highly subjective and suspiciously judgmental.
I have had quite a few friends who smoke tobacco or marijuana and it does not bother me but I prefer to not live with them.
All humans have stress. Some have it more often than others. In my life, I have lived for long periods with great stress (mostly as a child). In order to survive, I have had to create ways of dealing with my stress which are socially acceptable and responsible. I value this quality in others as well.
In particular, people who are quick to anger and either yell or become physically abusive of people or animals are less likely to become my friends than those who understand that anger and pain and depression must be expressed (not put down or hidden) in ways that do not harm others or -ideally- oneself, either.
Because I have had low eyesight all of my life, I function very poorly in situations in which people are used to reading a lot of information from very subtle gestures of others. I am intelligent, but I do not have experience reading people's facial expressions. I can only see faces when I am already intimately close to them. Since this has occurred less often in my life than those who can see faces every single day, I have only the experience of watching television to guide my interpretation of such gestures. Since I know this is pretty foolish, I put much more weight into how a person's voice sounds and other cues of which I am experienced as to how they are feeling.
Naturally, I like it best when people can verbally tell me how they are feeling. But we humans usually lead more complicated lives than this limitation would permit.
Additional judgemantalism exists within me. Self-observation compels me to admit that I am a true and complete Mac bigot. Of course, if some other company would create a computer operating system that was designed for humans instead of computer geeks, I'd be all for it.
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