Trump Isn’t Racist

At least, now we know Trump is not racist. He was clearly a lot more comfortable, relaxed and overall schmoozier with the Saudis than at the stilted photo op with the NATO leaders today. It clearly looked like he couldn’t be out of there fast enough today. Plus, the NATO received none of the exuberant praise he’d offered to the Saudi king. 

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The MLA Talk

The MLA has accepted our panel, and now I will be speaking for sure. If I have readers who will be at the MLA and want to hang out, you know where to find me. 

And Even More

I’ve saddled my second favorite topic after the nation-state and now I can’t stop.

Imagine a diabetic who says, “I’m such an idiot. Once again, I wasted a ton of time yesterday, tracking my blood sugars, controlling my diet and injecting insulin instead of working on this important project I have at work.” What would you tell him? “No, you ‘wasted all this time in order to be able to keep living and working, you silly goose.”

It’s exactly the same for people who blame themselves for “wasting” 5 hours on browsing Facebook or binge-watching Netflix or whatever instead of working or being productive. Like that imaginary diabetic, they fail to realize that this “useless” activity is their insulin. They do it not instead of but in order to keep living and working. 

And if you are the kind of person who’d never blame a diabetic for being a diabetic, then you’ve got to ask yourself why you are so much more forgiving of physiological burdens than of psychological ones. (And if you are the kind of person who’d blame a diabetic, then you shouldn’t be on this blog because you are kind of dumb). 

The only way of getting rid of a compensatory mechanism begins with embracing it and feeling thankful to it. Even if it’s something clearly harmful like alcohol or even an opiate addiction. I know somebody who kicked a heroin addiction, and that was his first step. I also know somebody who successfully treated dozens of heroin addicts, and he confirms that this is the unavoidable first step. 

Once you embrace your compensatory mechanisms, you’ll be able to get enough energy from them to move to the next step. 

More on Compensatory Mechanisms 

Compensatory mechanisms are the fuel that propels you through life. You know those days when you just can’t get going, you’ve got no energy, and it feels as if you were bogged down in sand? This feeling tells you that you haven’t refueled in a while, and your engine is sputtering. 

It will never cease to amaze me that people fill their lists of resolutions with promises to sacrifice every single compensatory mechanism they use. It’s like saying, “My car will be unstoppable if I never fill up the tank.” Right you are! Nobody will stop it because it won’t start moving in the first place. 

A compensatory mechanism is everything that gives you energy to live. Some are shared by many people but some are very individual. The problem is that people castrate their own compensatory mechanisms by feeling guilty for them. And they end up in a constant struggle between trying to get energy from the mechanisms and wasting it on the guilt. 

You can figure out what your compensatory mechanisms are by looking closely at the days when you were on fire, super energetic and productive. What happened right before that? Where did the jolt of energy come from? Before doing this exercise, though, resolve to avoid feelings of guilt and refuse to berate yourself for whatever you discover about the mechanisms.

The compensatory mechanisms don’t seem to have much connection with the nature of the trauma you are compensating (and everybody’s got trauma). They come from very early learned patterns of behavior. So for instance if two people were in a car crash, one might compensate by smoking a pack of cigarettes and another by calling 40 friends on the phone and relating the story to them (and what’s curious is that both of these compensatory mechanisms come from the same source, but that’s too arcane to discuss here). Yet another person might compensate by writing poetry about the crash or by a blackout drinking binge. 

And if you just automatically classified these examples into “good” and “bad”, I’ll guess that you often suffer from feelings of guilt and inadequacy. And that’s the worst energy drain of all. This is what makes you feel tired at the end of the day and prevents you from doing more in your life. And please don’t take this statement as a prompt to feel even more guilty.