The Curse of 'A Christmas Carol'

The story of a cold and cynical heart turned compassionate and kind is a blessing of literature, an inspiration of hope, and a curse on realistic expectations of change.

The Struggle to Maintain Basic Humanity

Basic humanity is like a muscle, it gets stronger with exercise.

Don’t Justify What You Want to Change

We justify resentment by citing evidence of unfairness and how badly other people behave. The more adrenaline we need for justification, the more subject to confirmation bias.

Compassionate Parenting

We teach children self-regulation by modeling our more humane values.

Anger, Anxiety, Resentment, Stress, and Basic Humanity

Your chances of consistently managing anger, anxiety, resentment, and stress, without becoming a better person, are practically zero.

The Humanity of Regret

What people tend to regret the most near the end of life is that they have not been more compassionate, loving, or supportive to those they love.

Pain, Suffering, Basic Humanity

As a life-saving alarm system, pain keeps us focused on distress, for the purpose of relieving it, that is, pain motivates behavior that will help heal, repair, or improve.

Basic Humanity and Well-Being

Anxious times seem to bring out the worst in people. It makes us intolerant of disagreement, divides us into factions, and leads us to demonize those who seem different.

How to Cope With Trump Anxiety

If you’ve been nervous or anxious since the election, you’re not alone.

Emotional Complexity

A few of the elements that make emotions so complicated are habituation, inhibition, constriction, and disinhibition/excitement.

Overcoming Headline Stress Disorder

Continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media, and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end.

The Emotions of Social Interaction

While we are quite sensitive to negative emotional displays of those with whom we interact, we’re hardly sensitive at all to our own.

Emotions in the Social World

Our emotions are automatic responses to the emotional states of others.

Meaning and Emotions

Emotion, personal history, culture, religion, and historical moment heavily influence the brain’s construction of meaning, and these, of course, are often in conflict.

Dynamic Attributes of Emotion

Certain attributes of emotions dynamically influence how we experience them and the meaning we give to them.

The Function of Emotions

Some writers conflate the motivation of emotions, which is largely outside awareness, with conscious goals and intentions.

Crimes Against the Self

The aspect of emotional reactivity that makes it difficult to see is its illusion of free will. We think that we're acting of our own volition, when we’re merely reacting.

How We Commit

Committing to a relationship requires establishing a secure base and resolving any problems that threaten its security, safety, and well-being.

Struggle for a Sense of Humanity

The fight to hold onto a sense of humanity inner voices of conflict, powered by covert guilt and shame. In most of us, these voices are faint. In some they bellow.

Passionate Surrender

Fear of passionate surrender is rooted in an underdeveloped sense of self. Passionate surrender is a joyous function of a fully realized adult brain.

Human Intimacy

Few human endeavors are as rewarding and as frightening as acts of intimacy.

Acting Out of Conviction vs. Acting Out of Resentment

Conviction is the strong belief that a behavior is right, moral, and consistent with your deeper values. Like resentment, conviction provides a sense of certainty.

More Ways Couples Misunderstand Each Other III

The very familiarity that makes us feel secure in love relationships reduces novelty and interest. Fortunately, we can deliberately activate interest at any time.

Different Core Vulnerabilities in Intimate Partners

Your core vulnerability is the emotional state that is most dreadful to you, in reaction to which you’ve developed the strongest defenses.

How Couples Misunderstand Each Other

A heart-breaking experience of counseling couples is seeing good people suffer due to the entirely avoidable illusion of sameness.

Self-Value Crowds Out Resentment

Couples in recovery have to learn that it’s not their “issues” that make them resentful. When partners feel valued in a negotiation, issues become far more easily manageable.

Dies Irae: The Day of Wrath

Personal responsibility is one of the most compelling needs of modern times. As a culture we’re stuck on a treadmill of Toddler brain coping mechanisms: blame, denial, avoidance.

Complaints in Love Relationships

The success or failure of complaints in love relationships depends on which part of the brain controls the complaint.

Original Sin

We are capable of extraordinary acts of compassion and kindness and astonishing acts of cruelty and neglect.

How Racists Can Soar Above Their Affliction

Racist attitudes alienate us from a sense of basic humanity, which makes us more likely to perceive insult and feel devalued, exert power, and justify it with presumed superiority.