3 Min ReadLifestyle 07 June 2020
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HELP! My Mom Is Anti-Black Lives Matter!
Dear Armchair Psychologist
My mother, a white woman from Louisiana, grew up in an era that was racially oppressive to Black people. As a young child, I knew she harbored some unacceptable and awful views, including referring to Mexican food as "dog food" and making disparaging remarks about Black people. I suspect she even voted for Trump. In my adult life, I have been able to avoid such topics partly because she is aware that I am extremely liberal and not a racist. I've lived all of my adult life in large cosmopolitan cities and have always had very diverse friends from all races. Lately, with the Black Lives Matter protests, she has resurfaced her racism. Her affluent neighborhood and street were one of the areas affected by looting. She called me crying about the "animals" and how "the blacks don't know to behave after all we have done for them." I was horrified and hung up on her. How do I deal with her?
- Black Lives Do Matter
Dear Black Lives Do Matter,
I am sorry to hear that you've had to endure your mother's racist tirades. It's discouraging that this is your own flesh and blood because it's not so easy to simply cut off one's own mother. You say she's harbored these views since you can remember and it might not be very easy to sway her thinking. A good strategy would perhaps be to create a dialogue that isn't too aggressive nor judgemental to make her realize how and why her remarks are hurtful and how they affect you? In this article on "How to Tell Someone You Love They're Racists" it's recommended you get the person to articulate their perspective clearly, as it might have a different meaning to them. Another way to begin a dialogue could be to "let them walk in others' shoes" by describing a story that forces them to immerse themselves into someone else's experience to inevitably challenge their own stereotypes. If you still find mom intolerable after these discussions, politely tell her that you will limit your interactions with her going forward because of how they make you feel and that you can be found at Taco Tuesdays!
- The Armchair Psychologist
HELP! After 3 years, My husband won't say ILY!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
My husband loves me and if I ever want or need anything he will turn the universe on tilt to get it. The problem is he only shows love through action. As a woman, my brain craves verbal communication and I'm at my wit's end. I love my husband but his refusing to say "I love you" or "You're beautiful," leaves me feeling insecure. After three years of marriage, I can count the "I love you"s on one hand.
- Just Say It
Dear Just Say It,
It must be frustrating to not receive the reassurances you need in your marriage. There are many love languages, some nonverbal. You state that your husband will turn the universe on tilt for you, but he won't say three simple words? In Dr. Gary Chapman's book about love languages, he writes, "people should not use the love languages that they like the most but rather the love languages that their loved ones can receive." Your husband may be a man of few words, but his refusal to make you happy by simply muttering a few words, (in a love language you can receive), are concerning and may allude to deeper issues within your marriage. I suspect you may not get the validation you need by having him say "I love you." It's important that you explore the underlying issues to your insecurities with a therapist and address what's lacking in your life that makes you clamor for this specific validation.
- The Armchair Psychologist
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It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.