I remember a few years ago I was watching a news program and it offered a list to teach parents about decoding texting slang they claimed teens were using. Among some of the more colorful gems were:
– LHS – Let’s have sex
– IGTD – I got the drugs
– PIRDTAS – Parents in rooms don’t talk about stuff
– SMH – Satan makes me happy
These were so ludicrous that I have never forgotten them. Have you ever seen those used anywhere? Can you imagine your teen doing it? Of course not, it was so out of touch that I was sure it must have been a joke (spoiler: it wasn’t).
Slang is a normal part of communication, especially for young people as they assert their independence. Each generation has their own and in the digital era it is a little different than the “boss” and “sick”’s of our own decades.
On my moms’ refrigerator, there is a quote. My older sister put it there many years ago and it stayed. Every time I visit my parents and open the refrigerator, I read it. It says:
“When you get angry, you punish yourself for other people’s stupidity”
I remember myself being very angry as a kid (surprisingly, this was before my teen years). Life just did not work the way I wanted it to work – people did not behave the way I expected them and my actions did not get me where I wanted to be. Life pretty much sucked (I hope it is OK to say “sucked” in a post, because it explains how I felt perfectly).
It took me a while to understand what this quote meant, but when I did, a huge, heavy load came off my young shoulders. Realizing that anger was a poison I was carrying with me was a big revelation – scary, but very relieving. My life has been much happier since.
Picture yourself sitting in an old cinema all by yourself, watching a movie. Turn your head towards the back wall and see there a big window. Behind the window, there is a projection machine. In that machine, a long, wide film is running, a film you have created.
A strong light travels through the film towards the screen. You can see the beam of light getting wider as it travels through the air, showing flickers of colors and movement inside it. Follow the beam of light with your eyes as it keeps on going and getting wider, until you are facing forward and looking at a huge screen, which practically fills your entire fields of vision.
As you look, you become absorbed in the movie, finding yourself emotionally attached to some of the characters, fearing some of the others, hating a few and getting carried away with the story.
Real life is very much the same. We become absorbed in our own story, which we project onto the world. When we interact with other people, we each look at our own “film” and can get into all kinds of trouble.
The world is full of different people, with whom we have relationships of varying closeness and intimacy. More often than not, we find ourselves in conversation with someone wanting to say something, but saying something completely different, because saying what we think would produce the wrong results. This even happens with our partner sometimes, not to mention the kids.
Absolutely everybody receives some criticism in life. Some of us have the misfortune of growing up with critical parents, while others bump into their first critic at school, but we all have to face criticism at some point, right?
In over 4 decades of living, I’ve had the misfortune of getting into all kinds of arguments with people. I’m sure you have, too, at least to some extent. However, possibly the most common cause for these arguments was the other person’s insistence on making thing personal. Some time ago, I bumped into this phenomenon in a book on Rational Emotive Behavior Analysis, which even gave it a name: personalizing. In the great all-time book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”, humanity is split into those who are mostly concerned with the structure (or form) of things and those who only care about the function (or meaning) of things. I’m here to tell you that people can be as…