You Don’t Have to Be An Angry, Resentful Person Just Because Everyone Else Is

I don’t think this entry needs a trigger warning in the traditional sense, but perhaps a “take offense” warning is necessary. I’m not attacking or critiquing any specific individual with this entry, although if you take offense, maybe you should stop for a second and figure out why.

One of the biggest parts of my recovery journey is the conscious attempt to be a better human being. I actively work on skills like empathy, inclusiveness and compassion. While I still certainly have a long way to go before I’m the person I’d like to become, I feel that while my life is swinging in one direction, the attitude of the population in general is swinging the other way.

It could be the 24-hour news cycle, more social media than we know what to do with or some other factor, but people seem to have no problem putting their lack of compassion and empathy on full display. Instead, those traits have been replaced with resentment and anger.

I’m not going to get into politics, religion, science, patriotism, parenting or any of the other areas that seem to set people off. I’m far less interested in the specifics of peoples’ opinions than I am in the way that many people present those opinions these days.

I think there are reasons that people become addicts, but there are only excuses why they don’t seek help, especially after learning why they have the problem. I also believe there are reasons that people turn into who they are with the belief system that they have, but only excuses why that belief system allows them to present themselves as boorish oafs.

I’ve been trying to figure out the cause of what feels like this massive pendulum swing in the attitudes of our society. I know it can’t just be the fact that I’m actively trying to become a better person. I’ve come up with a few theories:

The world is moving too fast. While older generations always make the argument their experience and wisdom trumps youth and inexperience, our older generations have seen exponentially more change than those before them. I think this is also filtering down into middle-aged generations. Technology moves at such speed that it seems like only 17-year-olds can keep up with it because the rest of us don’t have the extra time to learn. With all of the new media we have, getting glimpses into the past is easier than ever. I’m sure because of television and the Internet, I understand the culture of 1955 far more than the people of 1955 understood the culture of 1895. I believe this causes a bit of romanticism of the past, forgetting the negative and remembering only positive. The feeling you’re being left behind doesn’t feel good.

People are smarter than you. This has always been the case, but with the Internet and 500 TV channels, we’re constantly exposed to people who are more intelligent, deeper thinkers and understand things many of us could never grasp. I think we also are aware that most smart people recognize their intelligence and far too many of us make the leap that they therefore believe they are better than us when that has never been established. There is deep resentment in this world toward people who act like they are better than someone else, but we seem to be at a point where we invent the idea that others believe they are better without them doing anything to suggest it.

There’s more diversity than ever. I’m sure there have been studies done and I’ve just never had enough incentive to look them up, but I’d like to know when it comes to fear of people who are different how much is nurture and how much is nature. Somewhere, there is somebody out there who has 100% the opposite views as you when it comes to politics, culture, entertainment, etc. They are the bizzaro, anti-you. And guess what? They’re not a crazy psychopath either. It’s not just diverse ideas, it’s also basic demographics. Communities are not as homogenous as they once were. Different languages are being spoken, even in small towns and people who don’t look like previous generations now live there. This is scary to many people.

The recognition you were wrong. I think at one time or another we’ve all recognized we were incorrect about something and instead of correcting course, we doubled-down, despite being wrong. I believe this also extends to those around you who you discover were wrong. Many people directly get their beliefs from their parents and others they knew when they were young, but how many of those beliefs ever get questioned? Something isn’t OK just because mommy or daddy acted like it was. Your friends may all think one way, but that doesn’t mean it’s the correct thing. When recognition that those around you made poor decisions, it’s often hard to stand up to them and blaze your own path.

Simply because you can’t relate to someone does not make them a bad person. Moreover, simply because you can’t relate to them does not mean that you have to present an argument why they are not a good person.

A changing world does not mean it is changing for the worse. Yes, new things – including attitudes and societal norms – take adjusting, but that does not mean they are bad. Despite what people who eschew change believe, most change is designed to make the world a better, inclusive place. Yes, it takes getting used to new ideas, concepts and technology. Changing who you are does not mean you are any less or more of a person before and after that change.

I think most people today are of a mindset of looking for what makes them different than the next guy, and whatever that difference is, it becomes the weakness of the other person, ripe for attack. This is also true with thoughts. The general rules seem to be that if two people think differently, one must be wrong, and it’s always the other guy. In most cases, neither – or both – are wrong.

We live in a world full of angry, sad, resentful, non-compassionate, close-minded people. Standing behind the fact you have the God-given or governmental-given right to be that way doesn’t make it OK. Feeling emboldened by like-minded people to share your negativity doesn’t make it OK.

There is someone, probably more than just one, who is reading this feeling attacked. I’ve shared no actual specific opinions here. I’ve isolated no specific group or type of person. If you’re feeling attacked, I hope you’ll take a few minutes and figure out why.

 

Random Thoughts, October 2019: Weird Podcast Experience, Suicide Prevention, Halloween Dangers and More

I haven’t done a random thoughts article in months, and there’s just too much bouncing around my brain lately, so I’m going to throw it on the page and see what happens.

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I’ll do podcasts with anybody, regardless of who they or their target audience are, as long as I, or porn addicts, are not made the butt of a joke.

I taped one yesterday and when it is available, I’ll have it on the front page of the website and on the appearances page as I do with all of them. This was one of those appearances that was far less about my story and more about pornography in general.

What was really out-of-the-ordinary for me was that this gentleman hosting the show was trying to draw a lot of conclusions about what he felt was the disintegration of our society and porn’s role in it. That’s not an objective viewpoint, and the world is misinformed about pornography enough that it doesn’t need me making stuff up off the top of my head.

My view of society is that it changes and evolves. As individuals we can interpret whether those changes are good or bad, but there is no correct or incorrect answer. It’s all subjective. Was society better in the 1950s when the woman stayed home with the 2.5 kids and the man was the breadwinner? I don’t know because both of my grandmothers had jobs, so my parents weren’t raised in that environment. I know there is a segment of society who feels the world was better with that as the stereotypical family dynamic. So, which culture is better? I guess it depends on your personal opinion of a lot of factors.

As the questioning moved forward, I shared the true statistic that straight women watch more lesbian pornography than straight men watch gay porn. When he asked why, I shared an expert’s opinion I’d heard and agree with, but since I had no hard data, it was really only a guess, and it had nothing to do with morality. That opened the floodgates to questions about homosexuality and its place in today’s society, and the questions started with wording like, “Wouldn’t you agree…” instead of “Why do you think…”

He was a good interviewer in clearly trying to get me to say something I don’t believe, but I’ve been interviewing people professionally since I was 17. I’m not easy to trap. I’m very curious to see how this one turns out.

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Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 6.15.21 PMCheck out this congratulations logo I got from WordPress during the day yesterday. Why the heck am I congratulated for this random number? Why not 1,400 or 1,500? It’s very peculiar. Thanks to everybody who has liked what I’ve written over the last two years. I’ve really felt a deeper sense of connection over the last few weeks since I’ve started writing almost daily than at any other point.

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Sometimes the search terms that people use that lead them to my site are downright cryptic. I have no idea what “resentment porn on Tuesday” means, but I hope they got their answer. The other day, somebody visited the site after searching for “I’m a porn addict. Is life over?” I’m hoping the person meant in the hypothetical sense of if they have no possibility of having a “normal” life, however they define it.

If they meant the idea that their life should come to an end, that makes me sad. I hope that nobody who is struggling with porn addiction – or any addiction for that matter – thinks their addiction is an unwinnable battle that should end in suicide. I’m proof that there’s plenty of hope. I know there was a strong possibility I would have gone down that road had the police not intervened. I had seriously considered it once, but thankfully woke up from that haze before I went through with it.

If you’ve got an addiction of any kind, or think you’re going to commit suicide for any reason, take 10 minutes and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There is nothing that you can go through that can’t somehow be made better. And I understand seeing it as an option, believe me, I really do. It does feel like things will never get better. Just give them a call.

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Ashley L. Peterson reviewed my first book today at this link. I think it’s a very fair reviews, as I wrote in the comments. It’s always harrowing when somebody gives a review because I feel like since it’s my story, it’s almost passing judgment on who I am. I walked away relieved.

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While I abandoned my re-entry to the Facebook world, I have entered the world of LinkedIn for the first time. I’m still not totally sure how to use it, but at least it’s a place where I don’t have to read how blessed, psyched to go to the gym or ready for the weekend everybody claims to be. If you’re on there and want to connect, just send an invitation to Joshua Shea. I’m the one who is getting tattooed in the photo. Yeah, maybe it’s not professional, but I am who I am, and that’s a guy with nine tattoos he likes wearing far more than a suit and tie.

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As Halloween approaches, you may get the typical media hysteria in states like Maine, Kentucky or Indiana where there are no laws about convicted sex offenders (with either hands-on or hands-off offenses) passing out candy. These are actually the forward-thinking states.

Did you know there is not one confirmed case of a sex offender abducting or harming any child they did not know in the history of our country as result of a visit to their door on Halloween, yet dozens of states have laws against sex offenders of any kind handing out candy? The reality is 90% of hands-on sex offenders know their victims, with about half being family members, and the vast majority are groomed over time without force.

And while we’re talking about Halloween misconceptions, did you know that there have been less than 10 verified cases of candy tampering in 60 years, with only one happening since 1999 and of those cases there was only one death? Almost every reported incident (about 80 between 1959 and 2010) has been proven to be a hoax. So, there’s another thing to not be so scared about on Halloween. The media is good at hysteria because hysteria sells.