And you thought Jewish singles had it tough. 30,000 possibilities at a singles event? Hoo-ee.
Did you do your good deed for the day?
Did you do your good deed for the day?
|Now how attractive is that?|
In the first place, friendship helps people make better judgments. So much of deep friendship is thinking through problems together: what job to take; whom to marry.
We have clear directives about what is really worth our fear. Participants in the real parade of horrors include radical changes in the carbon cycle, the rate of species extinction, extreme weather, genetically modified food, institutional financial misconduct that puts our security at risk. The archive of very real menaces threatening us now is so full, it would seem we hardly know how to choose what to be scared of.
Except that we do choose, and what we choose are generally the ordinary fears such as heights, public speaking, insects, reptiles. They are all things that have about as much chance of harming us as the characters behind some of this season’s top trending scary costumes: zombies, werewolves and cast members from “Duck Dynasty.”
I caught myself watching folks in parks and subways looking at Facebook, so many blue-lit zombie stares. I guess that works for them, I told myself with my jealous-ex snark. It reminded me of my sister, who once eschewed meat and began calling it “carcass.” I wanted to scream, “Soylent Green”-style, “Facebook is made of people! Peeeeeople!”
Negative reviews did not appear to faze Ms. McCullough, whom The Philadelphia Inquirer, in a 1996 profile, described as “a woman supremely unafflicted by self-doubt.”
“I think in their heart of hearts all these people know that I’m more secure than they are, more confident than they are and smarter than they are,” she said of her critics in a 2007 interview on Australian television. In her nearly four decades in the limelight, it was one of her few printable replies on the subject.
One way to become proactive is to ask yourself if those barbs you can’t seem to shrug off have an element of truth. (Glaringly malicious posts can be dismissed.) If the answer is yes, Professor Suler has some advice:
Let your critics be your gurus.
“You can treat them as an opportunity,” he said. Ask yourself why you’re ruminating on a comment. “Why does it bother you?” Professor Suler said. “What insecurities are being activated in you?”
Yet even when a person is alone, humor can be effective. Try reading nasty comments aloud in a goofy voice, Professor Pawelski advised, so that when your mind automatically plays back the comment it sounds absurd, or at the very least loses a bit of its bite.
In the quest to quell the cruel, we often fail to savor the good. And there is, despite the meanies, much good whirring around cyberspace. Some 70 percent of Internet users said they “had been treated kindly or generously by others online,” according to a Pew report early this year.
Rather than scrolling past a dozen positive comments and lingering on the sole exception, what if you did the opposite? And what if you shared a couple of the good ones with friends instead of sharing the one that hurt you? Research shows that it takes more time for positive experiences to become lodged in our long-term memory, so it’s not just pleasurable to dwell on a compliment — it’s shrewd.
Deresiewicz offers a vision of what it takes to move from adolescence to adulthood. Everyone is born with a mind, he writes, but it is only through introspection, observation, connecting the head and the heart, making meaning of experience and finding an organizing purpose that you build a unique individual self.
Universities, he says, have been absorbed into the commercial ethos. Instead of being intervals of freedom, they are breeding grounds for advancement. Students are too busy jumping through the next hurdle in the résumé race to figure out what they really want. They are too frantic tasting everything on the smorgasbord to have life-altering encounters. They have a terror of closing off options. They have been inculcated with a lust for prestige and a fear of doing things that may put their status at risk.
The system pressures them to be excellent, but excellent sheep.
Steven Pinker, the great psychology professor at Harvard, wrote the most comprehensive response to Deresiewicz. “ . . . I have no idea how to get my students to build a self or become a soul. . .”
Everybody — administrators, admissions officers, faculty and students — knows that the pressures of the résumé race are out of control. . . But . . . An admissions officer might bias her criteria slightly away from the Résumé God and toward the quirky kid. A student may privately wrestle with taking a summer camp job instead of an emotionally vacuous but résumé-padding internship. But these struggles are informal, isolated and semi-articulate.