Is There A Difference Between Selfishness and Self Interest? . . .Surprise!

I wonder sometimes if we, as a civilization, are becoming more of what we expected from each other or are we becoming more self-interested? And if it’s about paying more attention to self-interest is that a bad thing? What are the differences between selfishness and self-interest anyway?

Remember when we were kids our parents and grand-parents would tell us not to “brag”-that wasn’t nice to talk about yourself. Our churches preached on giving all we have to others first and not to pursue wealth as a goal. In my day to day work with other people I often deal with those who are conflicted by the use of alcohol or drugs or perhaps it’s a gambling addiction or a shopping addiction. Many folks present with sex addictions or being addicted to the Internet. Are all addictions simply about being selfish or can they be about putting their self-interests at the top of their list of what they believe is in their best interests? Who really knows why people use “stuff” until they realize they can’t live without it? One thing, it seems for sure, is that the line between selfishness and seeking self interests is fine at best and often blurred. Many struggle with trying to determine which is which.

When we watch today’s parents struggling with this dilemma in terms of what to tell or say to their kids it is somewhat easier to understand the behaviour of many of our kids today. They have not received a clear message regarding which is which and so they just do what feels right at the time with not a great deal of consistency. I often wonder if our struggles with bullying aren’t a by-product of the lack of an unclear explanation of which is which. Our schools say it is wrong to bully others but do they present a clear explanation of “why” it’s wrong? Perhaps the bully’s argument would be that when they are holding power over someone else that is the only time that they feel good about themselves. How do we counter that logic?

There are many instances when we have justifiably made a decision to react or respond to something or someone in a way that would suggest we put our own best interests and desires ahead of others. I remember a time when I had a chance to attend a function at the last moment and it was something that I really wanted to attend but I had told someone that I would do something with them. I chose to offer a bit of “untruth”and attended the function instead. We pass these times off as telling a “little white lie” with little or no harm done. I try not to do that anymore.

However, I still need to be able to explain the differences between the two states of mind. Is there a clear distinction between the two? I’m not sure there is but I can recite some of the principles that are recognized as being part of one camp of thought or the other.

Someone who is said to be “selfish” is one who gets his/her own way and does so by ignoring or not taking into account the rights and well-being of someone else. If I get what I want on the back of someone else I would be seen by most as being selfish. It is not a matter of getting what you need but instead it’s what you want. It then becomes a matter of not caring how your decision affects anyone else. At this point folks would say “yes, but what if I need so and so. Obviously if something is life threatening involving your life or the lives of others that takes priority over everything else. If you had to harm someone else in order to prevent harm coming to someone else therein lies the issue. I believe you do what you feel is right and deal with the fine points later.

The difference with pursuing something connected to “self-interest” is that you don’t continue on at the expense of someone else’s freedoms or rights. That doesn’t mean that we can’t carry on but we need to help the person who will be affected by our decision understand why we are doing what we plan to do and that we continue, not because we don’t care about the other person and their rights and freedoms but because we need to do what we are about to do–it is important to our well-being.

So the distinctions  are: selfish–wants met with no regard to how others could be or would be affected. Self-interest–needs met with regards to how others might be affected by our behaviour.  Not everyone will understand and there will always be some who see what we do as selfish. Hopefully there will be those who see what we did as being motivated by “self-interest.” There is no preventing the dichotomy that develops. Truly, I am more concerned about what WE are left with in our being and how we look in the mirror and say that was the right thing to do.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. All comments are welcome.

(Image/quote resource used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image).

Is Sex As Important As It Once Was . . .

Now I fully agree that I am not a spring chicken anymore but I am not an old prude either. As I survey my life I have come to understand that one of the most important aspects of human life on the planet has changed dramatically since I wore a younger man’s clothes. Being able to enjoy sex used to mean something and I’m sure, to many, it still does but for many more it seems as though it means very little beyond “a stress reliever.” I generalise to be sure but if we look at how we refer to enjoying sex over the years and what it meant you judge.

In the 60’s sex was, for many, a way of relating to another human being in a way that said how much they cared for their partner. It was considered the ultimate act or “gift”, if you like, that one person gave to another. It was something to cherish and was beautiful. The consent by a female partner meant that she cared for her partner and that the act was a special way of saying that “you are more important to me than any other.” It was a way of connecting in an absolute way that was not matched any other way. I guess that was a time when “no” really meant no thank you and that was respected.

Then came the “hippie” era, of which I was a part, and the meaning of sex and it’s importance in defining relationships changed-dramatically in some places. That was a time when “freedom” to express oneself was growing faster than many of us could understand. Sex became much more casual. It was a way of meeting someone or a way to demonstrate that you were “one of the adventuresome.” It also was a way of saying that this is my body and I will share it with those I please, when I please and where I please. It was truly the the definitive statement regarding defining one’s independence. Parents were rendered almost useless in trying to establish any rule for “law and order” and in many cases self-respect. Now I’m not complaining because as a young man I “benefited” from this lessening of the rules as did much of the free world but the meaning and importance -the innocence and the sense of connection established between two people had  changed forever. Enjoying sex with someone had lost it’s defining quality.

In today’s world we don’t refer to it as having sex as often as we say that we are “hooking up” with so and so. This is “kid-speak” for being or trying to be adult like. Having sex for some is about as meaningful as going to the mall to hang around for something to do. For many it means very little other than a way of gaining more attention or acceptance into a particular group of others. To me it sounds as though they are going fishing or something. Enjoying sex might be as enjoyable today as much as at any other time but the meaning and speciality of the act is, in my mind, long gone by. It has become more selfish than it has anything else. Again in my mind I believe that when society adopted the era of “near unlimited personal freedom” without much thought given to the possible ensuing social problems connected to such a shift we now see that the lack of those same social norms have lead to a wholesale change in our culture and value systems. Caring for self and preserving a sense of dignity seems less important to many.

Today our kids face dangers the likes of which have not occurred and sadly it is by their own hand. The incidence of STD’s like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis have reached all time highs in US history. If it’s happening there it usually happens here as well. Half of the reported cases of being infected with an STD, which number in the millions each year, affect the age group of 15-24 years of age. One of the most disturbing statistics in this age group indicates that the number of  newborns born with an STD is rising rapidly. That is selfish and that lack of knowledge or disregard borders on criminal to me. Outside of rape of incest there is NO defence for this fact.

I may be getting older but I am not getting to the point, yet, where I cannot feel sorry for the kids today who practice a disregard for anything that is special or once considered sacred besides their electronic devices. Parents—Where are you? If there ever was a time when parents need to stand up and start a revolution of their own-NOW would be that time.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

Any comments will find me by sending an email to:   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

I Think Some Parents Need To Go Back To School To Learn How To . . .

It sure isn’t easy being a parent these days and when I think about how it used to be and how it is now I can begin to understand why teen suicide rates have dramatically increased. I am not blaming parents for not caring. I am suggesting that parents need to go back to square one and begin to evaluate how they are parenting their kids and based on what philosophy–what approach?

Life has changed for all of us–both kids and parents. Young adults seem to be taking on parental roles earlier than they used to. The problem with this is that many young parents aren’t quite ready to BE parents yet-they aren’t ready to give up those days when they could still act like kids themselves. They work hard at being a “young and progressive parent” and as a result they end up trying to be their kids best friend–Sorry but research tells us this approach doesn’t work out well for either the kid or the parent. Kids don’t need their parents to be their friends. They likely have friends that they count on for friendship and discussing the worlds’ secrets and have much more in common with their real friends than they do with a much older person who needs to be acting as a parent first and foremost. They need the guidance and the experience that someone their own age can’t possibly provide them. Yet we see Moms who dress like their teenage daughters and Dads who want “junior” to emulate them-“a chip off the old block”as it were.

But the major life issues for our kids mostly go unnoticed or left unaddressed. Situations like childhood depression, stress, substance use and abuse, promiscuity, bullying or being bullied, difficulty at school both academically and behaviourally, loss of interest around friends, eating disorders, teen violence, watching porn, general high risk behaviour, more isolation, addiction to violence and “murder simulated video games. There is much more going on but hopefully you get the idea. It doesn’t strike me as surprising that teen suicide rates have and continue to rise dramatically. Yet parents are still in denial about the causes and possible reasons why this is happening. Here are some ideas around the “why.”

  1. Many parents have just stopped being parents. As with many things that occur these days we tend to gravitate to particular theories and instead of using a modicum of sense we go all or nothing. This has occurred with particular philosophies concerning parenting. A prime example of this would be the decision to parent by democratic process. Some would call it “permissive” parenting-allowing kids to make their own decisions from options they believe they can choose from. If this is the style you would like to employ as parents then as parents you need to create a list of options that are presented to the kids designed to provide maximum security and safety. These are options that parents believe are in the best interest of their child/children. No other options should be considered and kids still get to choose what they want from the list presented to them.
  2. Parents need to allow their kids to grow up at reasonable pace. Using phrases and sending messages like “when are you ever going to grow up” and “act your age” and “if you want to be treated like an adult then start acting like one-take some responsibility” are not very helpful and certainly don’t build any sense of security and maturity into a parental/child relationship. Let them grow as they will and when you notice a consistent change in behaviour make a positive comment about it. Remember that kids will grow and learn at their own speed. Some kids grow faster than others. But at ALL times they learn from watching and listening how their parents handle stress, how they communicate with each other, if they are respectful to each other or do they get their way by threatening the other parent. View violence as a mediator and kids will believe that’s the way things get done.
  3. You’re the parent–set some boundaries. Start by limiting the time that kids spend on their electronic devices. It’s OK to do that even if the kids don’t think so at the time. No devices or buds at the table during meals either. No phone calls during dinner time. Once you’ve go them there show them some interest by asking how their day went, how is school going, tell us about one thing that you learned that was interesting and why–anything to engage them in a conversation of some kind.
  4. Kids feel safe and secure and much more confident in a home that has structure. Be sure to create structure and rules for living that are not oppressive but rather democratic (when all agree) and realistic boundaries. For example, if you make a mess then you clean a mess. Don’t leave it for someone else to do and expect the same from your kids. They will eventually warm to the idea that rules can be a good thing. They provide consistency.

I’ve included a great resource for you to check out. Please take the time to do that. All or any of our kids or grand kids for that matter (grand parents need to be mindful as well) could be at risk and if we are not diligent and willing to do all we can at all times it may be one of us who is the receiver of horrible news. Are you willing to take that risk?    http://www.zurinstitute.com/teenviolence.html

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

All comments are welcome: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo by helpguide.com. Used for education, research or criticism purpose. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

It Was True Then-It’s Worse Now . . .

The following is a re-post of an article I wrote in November 2013. In it I wrote about the issues concerning fatherless boys and how this has been the most serious issue of our time. Not much has been done since but I feel it is important to note here that many of the mass murders in schools and public places have been perpetrated by fatherless sons. When are we going to “get it” that this is a problem-a big problem and unless we do something (as a community) of great importance more senseless murders and slaughters will continue to take place. It was true in 2013 and it is certainly true today-5 years later:

“Perhaps if I were to title my life I would tag it with ‘As the pendulum swings’. It is no secret that I have a become involved in the discussion regarding the challenges young men face in today’s world especially if they are fatherless. Involved to the point where I penned a book called  “A Man’s Work Is Never Done…A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons”.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 2-3 generations you would know that many young men are struggling mightily with the changes that are happening all around them. In short there is no lack of research that tells us many of our young men are just not able to keep up with the ever changing expectations that society now has placed on them. Traditional roles are being re-defined with little discussion about what that means to all those affected. This is due, I believe, to an inflated importance defined by political correctness. Peer pressure and bullying are climbing the list very quickly and the list goes on. As a consequence to all of this there is a co-incidental or perhaps not so co-incidental rise regarding many social indicators which suggest that we, as parents and guardians, teachers and mentors have lost touch with what it is our young men desperately need from us right now. We seem to be at a loss as to how to help them or where to go from here. We create harsher penalties for some things but mete out a slap on the hand for others creating a sense of confusion and a lack of boundaries, responsibility or accountability for decisions that are being made. We build bigger penal institutions, we employ ‘tough love’ approaches, we try to be their best friends, we make excuses for their horrible behavior and we have instilled a sense of entitlement in them that will surely lead, more often than not, to their demise whether that ends in death (suicides) or a complete breakdown of our social fabric. In any case the point to be made here is that none of this works.

I recently read, with great interest, a report tabled by two female social scientists/researchers. The essence of their report was that fathers are just not all that important in the scheme of things when talking about what and how a young man learns what he needs to know to be successful. I’m not sure what ‘successful’ means in this case. How do we define ‘success’ anyway? What are the criteria? Success, to me as a man in the world, is about helping a young man understand how to use and how to live the characteristics that define us as men each day. As mentors we need to help him become more aware of them as he moves from boyhood to manhood. These ingrained character traits are simple. They are also basic and are intrinsic in men. Try to alter them, downplay or dismiss their importance is simply a large part of the problem we find ourselves faced with today. They also allow us to respond with freedom to the needs of family and the community we live in. Math and history can be learned but one cannot teach what seems to come to us naturally. We can explain, model and clarify what they are and what they mean. There are some things that haven’t changed in the last several hundred years if not longer. I am referring to our basic needs as human beings. We still need clothing, water, air, shelter, food and I’d like to add love and affection. Most kids learn and respond to what they see going on around them. To a young man-‘pa’ is everything. He is a teacher and a role model, a protector and provider, a mentor and a warrior.

My question,then, is do the social scientists really understand what a young man is truly thinking about when they ask the questions and surmise what the answers mean? Can anyone explain clearly what another is thinking and feeling at any given time? I doubt it. Who among us can describe what a cherry tastes like when you pick it fresh from the tree. Or what chocolate tastes like as it melts in your mouth.

After twenty plus years of hearing the stories from many fathers and sons about this very topic. I have put together a list of basic things that most sons need from their fathers or a strong and trusted role model that are necessary in order for a young man to engage in the process of transitioning from boyhood to manhood. I have been asked to share this list with anyone who is interested in learning more about this. Many who asked were single moms, single dads and grandparents. So I will try to add another ‘basic’ from the list in following blogs.

This first ‘thing’ that fathers need to give their sons is a must. As dads, role models or as mentors we need to give our sons our undivided TIME. If we say that we are going to do something with our sons then nothing short of an emergency or crisis should come between that promise and our time with our sons. He learns to trust what you say. By doing this first it establishes the footings upon which credibility is built. It also says that you see him as important and that he matters–that he is relevant. At this point we are planting seeds anticipating the growth that will follow.”

That’s the way I see it anyway, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Should Learners Design Their Own Educational Futures?

Many people who are parents, professionals, business owners-large and small, teachers and students are beginning to voice their thoughts and feelings regarding the very question that headlines this article. Some are saying ‘yes’ and some are saying ‘no.’

My answer to this question is an enthusiastic “yes.” The following is “why.”

First of all there are the very basic thoughts about this question.  Of course there are many questions that will come from the question itself. Generally speaking some of the obvious ones are: Why shouldn’t they be able to decide what they want to do to earn a living when they grow into adults? Are learners mature enough to make these important decisions? Parents worry that junior will pick all the “easy” stuff and won’t be prepared to “do battle” upon graduation for those diminishing employment opportunities?  If I am willing to pay the cost of tuition and all the attached costs why shouldn’t I study what I feel adds interest and relevance to my life? There are many more but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m writing about.

There are concerns about education becoming too dependent upon technology to adequately educate our children and that we are moving much too fast. Learners still value contact and the connectedness they experience with human beings–mentors/coaches. If the learners aren’t getting what they need, they’ll slow down the use of technology.

For me my reasons speak to the need to grow the understanding that our learners need to be more competitive on the International stage. We need to demonstrate, more clearly, the need to address the long overdue changes identified with the current pedagogy. In 1962-Hall-Dennis suggested dramatic changes in how we educated our kids and not much was done to address those ideas. Now we are playing “catch-up” because many other countries who were struggling with global standards and ranking saw the need to change-did so-and now we are following their lead in many cases.

This is not a condemnation of our system. This is not a criticism of our teachers. This is, however, a comment on some of the decisions that were made years ago that have hampered our growth and our inability to change how we do things in education. The University of Toronto-a fine school by all accounts ranks 22nd Internationally tied with The National University of Singapore. U of T is the only Canadian School in the top 25. Oxford and Cambridge rank 1 & 2 Internationally. These are the 2018 rankings.

The point to this is we have to change the way we do business-the way we do education in this country and we need to start by letting the actual drivers of the system have a much greater say in how things are done–student satisfaction and success go a long way to changing the perception other countries have of us.

Here are my 5 reasons why learners should design their own educational futures:

  1. The most important driving force in education today is the learner. They are the ones who foster change in the system and we would be well served if we paid more attention to what it is they have to say. In a true sense the system is supposed to work for them and not the other way around. They would be the ones who regulate the overall content and the amount of influence technology would have on course design. They recognize the importance of the human factor in any learning environment.
  2. It’s a given that there still is some need for rote learning in a number of the courses the learners might choose. If we listen to the learners they will tell us (the system) how much is enough. It needs to be dropped as a practice but continued as a necessity for those professions that require it. It still can be a learning tool.
  3. Learners need to be able to select and study what they favour–what they are interested in doing when they grow up. They will never know what those interests might be if they are never exposed to the information and a hands-on opportunity to experience working in a particular field. We need to get over the idea that university is a 4 year  plan and that we know what’s best for them. If it takes 5 or 6 years to graduate then so be it. Kids learn at different speeds-It is too great a mistake for kids to be pushed through a course of study to graduation just because they changed their minds half way through a program. Better they have a chance to pursue something they are interested in than to work at something they dislike.
  4. In the future certifications will not hold much value. The true proof for a potential employee will be how well they do with on the job examinations testing for particular skills sets and how successful are they are with the competency based testing they are likely to experience. Kids need to select particular skill based programs that they will need to develop so they can be more successful. THEY are the ones that know what they need more than others. They should be able to choose what they need to be comfortable and more confident.
  5. Kids just learn better and faster when they choose to study and learn about topics that are of interest to them. The system needs to put together a study plan that includes these interests but also prepares them for the supporting education that helps them to succeed.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, All the best, Jim

Comments can find me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: Photo resources used in this article were used for Education, Research or Criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image.)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #73

Greetings All–this week Jane and I talked about whether or not employers should be able to drug test their employees. Keep in mind that alcohol is considered a drug as well. It’s not just about cocaine or heroin or cannabis. Alcohol is in there too.

No surprise that I fully support the idea-Jane was almost there as well although we came at the topic from different places we ended up in the same place. Click on the link below for our reasoning and if you want to weigh in on the discussion please send us an email pointing out how you see it. We would welcome the feedback one way or the other. My email address is: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com and Janes is: jterdik@hotmail.com

Thanks for stopping by

All the best, Jim

Wisdom Of The Ages . . .Not What I Thought

It is interesting what we remember as we grow older. I can remember my parents or grandparents?? saying something about “the wisdom of the ages.” Now I always thought what they were talking about was related to history and how we are supposed to learn from it because it has great lessons to share. I always supposed that was correct and so I always tried to learn about what the message was from history. Perhaps it is still like that for some but I no longer count myself among and amidst those folks.

My experience has been different. Now that may not surprise some but that’s the truth of it. I have now come to understand that wisdom of the ages does not refer to any point in time or an event but rather it refers to all of us who have managed to live this long and who have travelled this far. It is about me, the person, and us the people–not a space of time. We are the wise ones now who bring with us what we have seen and heard. WE are those “ages”-right now-in the flesh for all to see and interact with. Although I have found some interesting lessons to be learned concerning things that happened before I arrived it was not because the “ages” taught me anything profound. It was due to the fact that the combination of experiences I have had and the consequences of some of the decisions I made coupled with how I handled myself and those around me who might have been affected helped me recognize that certain things happened when other certain things happened and the result was I learned something important. It is about me NOT about the time that it happened or any particular “age.” It is me who passed and continues to pass those “wisdoms” along to my kids and a few important others in my life. Others do the same for me so that I can learn from them. And on it goes.

So those “wisdoms” are what I offer today. After all the thinking and all the relating those thoughts to folks who might be interested I have come up with a couple of thoughts that make my remaining time here so vitally important. I believe it is the time to share some of my wisdoms. Most aren’t new but they are to me and that’s all that matters. I have come by them honestly and have not incorporated them into my life because someone said I should. They mean a great deal to me. My hope is that others whom I care about and trust to a large degree will share their wisdoms with me.

  1. I do not and will not tolerate or trust those who only take and don’t share their good fortune with other people. I have no time for greedy people.
  2. I trust the children of the world to tell me how things are. Of course they can only tell me what they witness but they haven’t, for the most part, been subjected, yet, to the dishonesty and duplicity of evil people so what they tell me is likely close to the REAL truth.
  3. Simple pleasures are, by far, more enjoyable than those that take a great deal of effort to create.
  4. There is nothing-not money, not fame and not fortune that is more important and more valuable than time.
  5. Do all that you can to satisfy your passion while you still can. Live it now. There is no guarantee that “next week” will come.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by, Jim

Comments will get to me if you send them to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com   OR   by way of my web site:  jimcloughley.com

One Relationship Killer Most Don’t Think About . . .

After 25 years working in the Human Services field there is one thing I have come to understand and that is we, as human beings, are capable of changing our behaviour but not our DNA. We are what we are but it remains to be seen who we become.

Fast forward to the time when we are dating and we are introduced to someone we really take a shine to. In my case she would be energetic and adventuresome; self confident and yet not self absorbed; intelligent and excited to learn about new things; be her own thinker and able and wiling to defend her beliefs, morals and values. I would need to be physically attracted to her as well. Not a lot to ask–is it?

There is nothing quite like a new and exciting relationship wherein you find yourself thinking about being with the other person all of the time. Time really does stand still at times and goes by so quickly when you are together. Most other things that seemed important at one time seem unimportant now.  There isn’t much you wouldn’t do to preserve the quality of the time you spend together.

So why are there so many failed relationships? Why are so many people tired or bored or willing to give up on a relationship that had so much promise not so many years ago? When I look at the climbing numbers of failed relationships/marriages I have to believe that the “experts” are missing something really important.

Lets go back a bit and think about when we were dating. Do they still call it “dating” by the way? For the sake of discussion I am going to say yes. You knock on the door to announce you are there to pick him/ her up–he/she answers and you are smitten all over again. How many females would answer the door with no make-up on or your hair not done just the way you know your date likes it. How many guys would show up dressed like they climbed out of a grease pit at the garage with hair that hadn’t been washed in three weeks, breath that would stop a truck complete with your smelly old running shoes on? I still believe that most would put themselves together in a way that says they care about how each is seen by the other.

Most, even today’s folks, want their companion to see the best side of who they are most of the time. Agreed, that effort does, sometimes, wear thin a bit the longer you are around the same person or people but for the most part, we are still interested in making sure the other person isn’t going to start looking for someone else to start hanging out with. If we care about the other person and are contemplating a long term relationship most will continue to present themselves in a way that remains quite favourable to the other person. Each of us holds this one belief–this one EXPECTATION very near to our hearts. It is the one thing that needs to remain constant and seldom does. Most of us can’t or don’t want to see anything or anyone who isn’t who they used to be when they were first seeing each other. We demonstrate our best and that’s who we believe we are getting for the rest of our lives. We don’t expect that part will change. When it does, as it almost always does, that is more likely the time when disappointment, confusion, even resentment begins to set in. Relationships and the desperately needed communication that needs to be engaged in seldom takes place. Things often hit bottom shortly thereafter. Couples will try counselling and weekends away but at this point there is a basic trust that is often missing or that is questioned. Is he/she just doing this so that we don’t separate? Will it matter after we have “reconciled” things?

EXPECTATIONS held by each partner, to me, present the most important talking points in any relationship and are likely the least discussed by the “professionals” or by the partners. Once these expectations are abused, refused, discounted, forgotten or bargained away the walls go up and things don’t get much better. We hang on to our expectations because that is what/how we first got connected. This early person was our reality in the beginning and we expect that who we fell in love with back then will remain the same way all through the relationship. That includes the physical and emotional parts of who we are. Is it unrealistic–certainly. Does that matter–nope.  It is easy for some to jump to the conclusion that should those expectations change then the relationship must be over.

When we are helping our kids through their mine fields called life we need to be sure to help them understand not only the importance of sharing the expectations they have of their partner with their partner but also to ask what expectations their partners have of them. Don’t assume that it won’t matter. It does and it will.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by.

All the best, Jim

Please feel free to forward this article to family or friends. Any comments pro or con can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or go to my new web page at: jimcloughley.com

Is It A Porn Addiction Or A Sex Addiction?

ATTENTION ALL READERS: 

Coming to a house near yours: Certainly not the newest but one of the most harmful addictions to hit the public streets in quite awhile. Addictions to pornography and sex are insidious. No one is immune so don’t be naive enough to think that “that would never happen to anyone I know.” In all likelihood it probably has. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist and I don’t want to be a fear monger. However, you need to listen and read what I am about to post. Believe it when I say to you–“you need to know this stuff and understand how it could very well happen to someone in your family–even you.” If it does what would you do?

In order to be on the look out and understand more about sex addictions and porn addictions you need to understand that not all porn addictions are the same. In fact unless you know the differences between a sex addiction and a porn addiction you will really struggle trying to figure out how or if you want to help your loved one in some way.

To indicate how ingrained sex and porn are in our lives here are some basics you need to be aware of:

  1. Pornography is not just a man’s issue any longer if it ever was. Some of the latest research and statistical information shows that 25-30% of viewers or participants are women who are into either pornography or are struggling with a sex addiction. That number is slowly rising and one group that is paying more attention to sex and porn sites are teen age girls. Sorry ladies but it is difficult to point that long pointy finger in our direction any more.
  2. Considering all the searches made on the Internet each day 68,000,000 are porn related
  3. US Internet porn sites generate 2.8 billion dollars per year. Considering world wide sites that figure jumps to 4.9 billion dollars per year.
  4. 40,000,000 million Americans are regular site viewers
  5. 12% of sites available on the Internet are porn related. That is 24,644,172 sites currently (give or take a few hundred thousand)
  6. Teens are regular viewers with the youngest age group beginning to gain more than a passing interest 10-11 years of age

The key to treating, helping or supporting someone who is addicted to porn or sex is to know that they are very different from each other. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE TREATED THE SAME WAY.   

There are three very fundamental principles that must be accepted before going any further here:

  1.  There is no “cure’ for a sex addiction but sex addicts can enjoy a normal satisfying relationship with a partner.
  2.  Using a 12 step approach to “treat” a sex addict is not a very useful or helpful approach. Why? Because the goal for the sex addict is not abstinence or celibacy but rather to work to create a loving environment where a sexual relationship is possible with his/her partner. 12 step programs are abstinence based–they are regressive by design meaning that abstinence is the goal. The alcoholic needs to stop drinking. The gambler needs to stop gambling. The sex addict doesn’t have to stop having sex but needs to be enjoying it with his partner.
  3. The best most constructive help and support a partner can provide for the addict is a clear understanding and having the knowledge to see the two addictions as separate and not similar. If you can do that your role in the program will be much easier-not easy-easier and a great deal less frustrating.

So what is the basic difference between a sex addict and a porn addict.

As we can see there is there is quite a difference between a sexual addiction and being addicted to pornography. A porn addiction is centered around the creation of a fantasy world in which the addicted person is the central character and he/she controls what happens, with whom and how. It is a world that is very difficult for partners to deal with because no matter how great the real life sex is between partners, the “imagined” outcome of a porn fantasy experience will usually be better. It is very difficult to compete against an imaginary experience. Someone who is sexually addicted is living in a “real life” situation. His/her addiction manifests itself with real life people or circumstances. Some characteristics of a sexual addiction would include sex with prostitutes, anonymous sexual partners, high-risk sexual activities, voyeurism, multiple sexual partners, sex with a partner soon after finishing with another partner, feeling out of control, being in a depressed state, obsessive sexual thoughts and being unable to control those thoughts, and constant self-stimulation to name a few.

This has the potential to be a very serious in-your-house situation and not just with your partner. Your kids could be at risk too. Some folks would tell you that sex or pornography addictions are harder to shake than a powerful drug addiction. Don’t believe for a minute that this could not reach you and your family.

Anyway that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

Got any comments please send them to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Feel free to share this with friends an family.

 

To Be Or Not To Be . . . Why This Should Matter To You

” I love you” are likely the most misunderstood words to be strung together since language became important. This phrase has caused more grief and sadness and has brought more joy and happiness than most other statements made. What does the word love mean? How do you describe love? It’s much like trying to describe what a cherry tastes like. Can’t be done. But most everyone who walks the planet says or suggests they they “love” someone without really knowing what that means. People talk about loving their pets or a song. Really! The problem is most of us have our own understanding of what the word “love” means but not really knowing what it means to others. We just assume that it means the same to others as well. When our expectations regarding what it means to us aren’t met relationships tend to end or are seriously altered in some way and not always for the best.

Back when this declaration of “love”, for me, was primarily connected to hope, fervour, and fascination with someone else’s physical attributes. Sex was also something that, for many, was shared as one way of demonstrating “love” for a partner. The point is that sex was and still is an integral part of developing and maintaining that “loving feeling” human beings have for one another. But what happens to a relationship when the sex stops or is infrequent? When we are young we fall in love with a Hollywood image. It is often based solely on “looks” and when the looks change or begin to fail so does the passion and the closeness of the relationship. Just look at the rise of divorce rates and the instances of common-law relationships. Much of this change has to do with babies and boredom.

There are many “senior” relationships which survive all of this and enjoy a closeness, a respect, and a “love” that defies description. Perhaps it’s because they truly are “in love” with that special person they met a long time ago. I still haven’t come across any senior who can tell me what love really is or feels like but there is a twinkle in their eyes that says they got it.

Unfortunately there are many seniors who are unable to enjoy sex any longer. There are some who are relieved and some who see that inability as a sign of old age-that life is passing them by much too quickly. Not being able to enjoy sex for many is a sadness that deeply affects them. ( I plan to write a piece about this later on) It affects their self esteem and messes with their mental health. It is in our best interests to learn how to enjoy our partners and maintain our interests in our relationship with them without having sex.

I have put together a few ideas that some might find helpful.

  1. One of the things that we often share is the same sense of humour.  Even the young have to come up for air once in a while and so having a common sense of humour is most important for them. They wouldn’t stay together long without it. It is the same for seniors. They enjoy laughing together and finding they still have a common interest in what makes them laugh. It is a commonality that connects them and is special to them.
  2. One of the most exasperating things is to constantly be corrected by your partner and for you to do the same to them. As we age our minds will start to slip a bit, our hearing becomes a bit more taxed and our memories will also be challenged a bit more. To be reminded of these deficits is never pleasant to hear. No one needs to be keeping score about who is right or wrong more often than the other. Someone once said-“and he exercised his right to be considerate and kept his mouth shut.”   Real solid advice.
  3. Don’t be afraid to catch your “honey” under some mistletoe at Christmas or to steal a hug in public. I saw a beautiful couple the other day, I’d guess in their late seventies, walking along all dressed up in their winter gear.  As they approached what looked like a slippery patch on the sidewalk, the first thing he did when they got a bit closer was to grab for her hand to make sure she didn’t slip or fall. Kindness with no thought of reward still works really well to say how much someone cares. Try it. It feels good.
  4. Do nice things for each other. Most can still hold a door open for the other. It’s a show of respect and kindness for the other and not an imagined weakness. Screw the politically correct and the feminists. Since when did being considerate get pushed off to the side like a piece of trash. Try making a cup of tea or something as a surprise for the other. It says, “I was thinking about you sweetheart.”
  5. Always be on the lookout for something new to do that you both can enjoy learning more about–together.

Our relationships become dramatically more important as we move through time. Sometimes it gets down to deciding whether or not you want your last vision to be that of someone you “loved” or being alone because you didn’t pay attention to the really important things in your life.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim                                jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: the photo resource was used for education, research, or critical purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of these images.)

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