Fear

I fear that the balance of love will always be uneven. I fear that I will wake up sometime 10 years from now and be alone in my bed. I fear that I am unlovable, and people waste their time with me until someone better comes along. I fear that I am not enough for those people. I fear that I am too much for others and if I allowed myself the freedom to not hold back, that it would scare them away. I fear letting myself be someone’s second choice and not being brave enough to find that person to whom I am the first choice. Because what if I never find that? I fear I won’t be able to stand it.
All of those #inspirationalquotes telling you that you deserve better, you should be treated like a queen, etc etc, they scare me. The pressure to be all that sits heavily on my chest and won’t let me breathe. I do love myself, I really do. But I was built as half of a whole and I fear being incomplete for my whole life.
S.

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I’m So Glad to be a Working Gal Again.

Today marks 1 month at my new job. Hooray!

My first job out of highschool was working for a bank. I was driven, determined and motivated to climb that corporate ladder. I remember the excitement and sense of accomplishment when I got my very own business cards. I had dreams to grow my empire. Unfortunately, that company wasn’t the right place to do it. My drive was halted, my determination was pushed back, my motivation was gone. So I moved cities to find something more. The first steps were tentative – I took the first job I was offered. But it didn’t have the same feeling. I was good at it, but there was no challenge. No opportunity to be more than a number. But it was a gateway to something more.

Now, after 18 months in this new city, after many an unexpected hurdle (both personally and professionally…), I got real lucky. I now work as a recruitment consultant in a smallish branch in Brisbane that’s part of a global brand. The international opportunities are something I’ve only dreamed of, but HELLO REALITY, I’m here for this! #corporateworld

I’ve had 7 years of practice selling other companies products that have given me the tools to sell my self – my skills, personality, and capability. With this, I can be my own brand. I can rely on myself for my success. I’m fostering relationships with existing clients, I’m creating relationships with new clients. I look after my own book. And the rewards for that work come back to me. I get out what I put in. Plain and simple. And I love it.

The little icing on this beautiful cake is of course the people I work with. It’s a small team, but so much change has happened (before I came in) to make it a great team. We have the right people, the right personalities, the right level of fun and competition. It’s makes for a great office to spend my days in.

I’m still learning (gosh there’s so much new stuff to learn!), and it’s challenging every day. But I’m up for it. I can do this.

I actually have a career now, not just a mindless job.

 

S.

The sea and the sky

What do you see when you look out to the blue ocean? What do you see when you look up to the clear sky? Yes, but what do you feel?

I hear in my head a stream of music, I feel in my heart a myriad of emotions. 

Are you on the other shore of that ocean, reader? Maybe you look up to the same sky that I do. We are connected by these strings, crossed and re-crossing. 

S.

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags.

(I have less than $20 in my pocket TBH).

Since I’ve started my #newcorporatejob I’ve discovered I don’t have as many corporate clothes as I have “lazy day every day” clothes. And since I’ve been out of work and not yet been paid, I’m also a bit low on the fund$ to go out an revamp my wardrobe. When I moved apartments recently I threw away (donated) about half my clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t need, and didn’t want, to Vinnies & Salvo’s.

SO, whilst spending our house deposit money on smashed avo and coffee, we planned our attack on thrift shops in our vicinity. We had a list, we had a car, we had coffee in our veins, we were ready to go! (By this point in the story, it’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon – we don’t move fast on weekends..)

 

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$90k avo on toast. $40k coffee. Bye, bye, house deposit.

 

Being thrifty is fantastic. It’s a great way to give back a little to your community whilst you and your gal pals going on a shopping spree that doesn’t break the bank. Win! And to be honest, if we’re going to spend a bunch of dough on breakfast, we can’t afford to buy off the runway outfits. It’s all about balance, am I right?

We hit up a lot of great places. The first was a quaint little church* with darling old sisters running the store. I’ve also come to the resolution that I in fact NEED a record player. If only to buy all the old classics and play them in my house all day long for background noise. I would then also need a long black cigarette holder, a chesterfield, and a few great hats. Classic.

 

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I picked up a few amazing men’s t-shirts that will be re-purposed as some of my corporate day-to-day shirts. If I can look good the morning after in them, I can certainly make it work with a blazer and cropped black pants. #workappropriate. Steph picked up two pants, which needed a little nip/tuck to fit just right, but at $2.50, the threads were well worth the stitch.

Don’t get me started on getting out of that carpark. It’s a tiny little entry and I swear there was only a hairsbreadth between my car and some obnoxious SUV who swerved into the driveway.

We hit the next closest Salvo’s in Red Hill**. I’m certain the guys out the front had a bit of a laugh at the two chicks with some music banging out the car window. It’s OK, we had a giggle at you too.

I tell ya, if you move out of home or just need to get a piece of furniture or anything for your house, don’t go to K-Mart. As fabulous as it is, you will find everything you never knew you needed at a Salvo’s or Vinnies***. These are gold mines for anyone setting up house. Save a buck, be eclectic, have some fun history to that side-table.

 

 

For some truly amazing wardrobe pieces though, we found the independent thrift shops to be the best. They are also a WHOLE LOT CHEAPER than the bigger places. There’s a reason Macklemore won 2012 Triple J’s Hottest 100. SH*T, it was 99c! Everything we picked up was from two or three smaller shops. 10/10 would go again.

Yesterday**** offered up some great sundresses, excellent vintage pieces, and a small jewellery collection (a watch that I already seemed to have misplaced..). The ladies in there were amazing. They were just chatting away about a some quirks their beauty therapist has. The creaking floorboards tracked out steps through the old house. The faint smell of musk hung in the air.

 

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Yesterday, all my troubles seemed to far away…

 

What I love the most about thrift is they only stock things in good condition. When we were kids we used to go to the dump shop (second hand store, I think?). There was so much stuff! But a lot of it was useless or broken or stained and in no way “pre-loved”. Certainly “pre-worn” and trashed, but definitely no love went in to selecting these items for the racks.

We had the best day and are planning another attack in a few weeks. Steph’s mum and a few workmates want to come too. Share the love, I say. So that was our little weekend adventure. I highly suggest you all checking out what your locals have; it will be a good time, and a cheap time. Who doesn’t love shopping? Who loves shopping and not having to refinance their mortgage to pay off the credit card debt?!

 

This is a little list of the places we popped into.

* Quaint Little Church

**  Salvos Stores Red Hill

*** Vinnies

**** Yesterday’s Thrift Shop

 

S.

A Licence to Reproduce.

Adlerian parental training programs have led to some suggestion that parent training should be a prerequisite for parenthood or that parenting should somehow be a ‘licensed activity’. Discuss this idea keeping in mind the following questions.

  • Should our society require a license for parenting?
  • If so, what prerequisites should there be? (education, training, financial, others?).
  • Who should have the power to set the licensing standards?
  • To what extent should licensing be sensitive to cultural diversity?
  • What type of corrective or punitive actions should be available to the authorities regarding parental licensing? 

 

Parenthood should not be available to just anyone. It is a biological process, and our evolutionary purpose to reproduce. However, humans are more than animals. We have the capacity to make choices, analyse decisions, strive for the betterment of mankind. Why are we still breeding beyond our capability, and why are we fostering harmful environments for innocent children to be brought into unwillingly? Actually, let’s put it simply. Why is it still possible for a crack addict to produce children without pause, and pollute the population with defective humans, burdening the healthcare systems and the wider society with their poor life choices. Nice one, Gary.

Birth control is widely available. But it’s not free. What we are creating is an environment where people with a higher level of socio-economic status are breeding selectively, whilst those who are at the lower/lowest end of the ladder have little control over their choice to reproduce. To exaggerate, what I can imagine is one child who has the capacity to contribute positively to society against 10 kinds that cant. The scale will soon be so unbalanced, humanity will dissolve into Mad Max, Fury Road. Can’t wait…

License for parenting? Education, training, schools for would-be parents? Birth control? Submit an application to be a parent, have the right kind of income. Think about it. How does it make logical sense to go through a lengthy process to buy a home to make sure you can afford it, but you can just have kids no worries? Anyway, I digress. All of these measures and prerequisites need to be free for all to attend. Otherwise, what’s the point? Actually, why stop there. Re-write the whole school curriculum so that children have a better understanding of parenthood and how to raise a child. Actually get a handbook together and teach it to kids so they’re not so unprepared. Change the way our government supports parents and children so they’re better equipped and resourced to raise our future so humanity doesn’t go to shit. Just a thought.

S.

Wake Up, Mr West.

How might Eastern psychotherapists handle the issue of diagnosing psychological problems differently from their Western counterparts? What are some potential advantages/disadvantages of each approach to diagnosis?

Western psychology looks at changed states of consciousness as an affliction that needs to be fixed. This avenue of psychology lives in a constant state of reactiveness. People seek help due to a perceived fault in themselves. For example, the idea that hallucinations are “wrong” is only because of a social construct that was created in our Western environment. It seems that a lot of what is right and wrong is not bred of moral ideologies, but of what is currently socially acceptable. Much like fashion, personality traits of the time seem to be #ontrend with any outliers being a serious faux pas.

The Eastern views of the consciousness focus on acceptance and learning to channel that reality effectively for the individual. Here, it is commonly acceptable to practice meditation, or yoga for the individuals own enlightenment and better state of being, throughout their whole life, seeking to alter the state of consciousness. This is a lifestyle, this is proactively seeking a healthier state of body and mind.

In regards to what is better or worse is really dependant on the point of view of the person considering that opinion. On one hand, ignorance is bliss. How do you know if there are different levels of consciousness and being if you don’t know about it? If you consider yourself happy in your day to day life, why seek to change it without a reason? On the other hand, seeking enlightenment is the only way to live. Is there a disadvantage to either the Easter or Western method of diagnosis? It depends on who you ask, and what you want the answer to be.

S.

Life: Love it or Loathe it, it’s here to end.

The eternal paradox of life and death tightens its grip on us, whilst at the same time being challenged by modern science. Centuries before our time, the cycle of life and death was readily accepted. The afterlife was worshipped to be everlasting, with many cultures investing a lot of their time and energy into ensuring a good afterlife (see, Egyptians, Myans, Vikings etc). Life was cyclical. It came and went as the seasons changed.

A fantastic marketing ploy in only the past 100 years has made time liner and fashioned it into a commodity to be earned and spent. A line stretching straight on into the void. This shift in scope has changed our current view of the passage of time. Instead of accepting death as a part of life, science and engineering has aspired to extend our normal cycles to be everlasting. The search for eternal life continues in earnest. Science fiction movies envision suspended hibernation, beings who live beyond our normal human stretch of years. New aged health care, medicines, lifestyles are marketed with the possibility of extending your life, at a price. We can exchange one currency for another. Money for time.

The dramatic events of recent history, Chernobyl, 9/11, the Boxing Day Tsunami,  have made us even more keenly aware of how fragile life is, whilst at the same time still thinking “it won’t happen to me”. Many of us live in the ignorant bliss of our own mortality, whilst quickly passing judgement on others. It’s easier to not think about death. But right there, in really knowing you don’t get to live forever, that you only have this one shot, can we really transcend, can we really appreciate the gift of today and live the best of it. In the immortal words of Eminem, “if you only had one shot, would you take it?” Sure, your new behaviour might be seen as erratic, neurotic even, but only to the people who aren’t on your level.

Refusing to live in constraints given to you by society might be seen as crazy. It might seem enlightened. It might be the encouragement someone else needs to break free of their chains and truly live their best life today. Because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

Here is a picture of my cat, Cora, who is free from the ravages of self-awareness and other crippling paradoxes. I think.

Cora

Live in fear of the end of your life, and find freedom in that.

S.

A Good Day.

Today was a good day. 

This week has been a good week. 

I can’t pin down exactly what makes it good, it’s just a feeling. My soul feels lighter. 

I took off my pyjamas, I put on a dress I’ve never worn. I felt the sunlight through the window. I went outside again. The cold air has given way to warmth today. 

I talked about what inspired me, what I’m working on, what my goals are. In talking about them, I realised they are real and achievable. I forgot that. I got lost in the darkness that suddenly descended. I was overcome with fear of the future. But like a great fog, this too will lift. 

These days have given me space to breath in a world where time is a commodity. It’s nice to let that go for a change. 

I will not fear tomorrow, it hasn’t happened yet. I will make the best of today. 

Today was a good day. 

S. 

Feels like Home To Me.

I find myself sitting on the couch after a long week of sitting on the couch. Yesterday I went for an interview, and I received the follow up call this morning. “We thank you for the time you’ve taken to come and meet with us, unfortunately on this occasion we won’t be proceeding to the next stage.” I can feel the tears welling behind my eyes. I can feel my throat tighten. Now as I sit here on the couch scrolling through Seek.com.au and any other job opportunities I’ve been referred, with The Lord Of The Rings playing in the background, I feel my heart aching for home again.

 

On Monday it was my Grandad’s 80th birthday. Much like Bilbo Baggins was saying, we have a love of peace and quiet, and good tilled earth, a love of things that grow (I dunno, maybe we are Hobbits). When I’m feeling worn down, out of spoons, and out of luck, home is the place that fills me up again. I flew down on Friday night and back again on Sunday afternoon. How I wish I had known before the flights were booked, I would have spent the whole week there.

 

My brother called my on Friday afternoon, and said to get dressed ready to go out when I got there. My friend and roommate Steph had caught an earlier flight and was waiting for me to arrive. So I change out of my jeans and sweatshirt into something less “aeroplane attire” and more “party all night”. The rest of the passengers were all a little taken aback I can imagine. But, I’ve always said, better to be overdressed for any occasion. #OwnIt.  “The eagle has landed,” a quick text to my brother and he was waiting to pick me up. So, out in town we go. I lived here for a few years before moving away. I remember why I left..

 

Early on Saturday morning I am up and ready to go. The drive back home is an hour down the highway, lined with bushland and canefarms. Everything is saturated green and blue. They’re the most vivid colours I’ve seen all year. I think to myself “this is the road home, every time, for my whole life, this is the road home.” This is the bridge I will cross every time. There is no way around it. This in the only crossing on this river unless you drive 6 hours inland to detour. This bridge means I’m 5 minutes from home. You can see my Grandad’s farm on the from the other side.

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Burdekin River Bridge, the “Silver Link”

Turning into our driveway is one of the best feelings in the world. Walking across the yard, through the gate and into the house – retracing my own steps from a thousand times before. Grandad is already here with my older brother. Mum welcomes me at the door. Dad isn’t far off. We are all sitting out under the back roof, overlooking the backyard, the chicken pen beyond the fence, the canfields past that, and up into the blue horizon. Steph is already allergic to the place, covered in bites and rashes and dog scratches. You can take a girl out of the city..

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There’s a 1945 resorted Jeep Willy in the shed that I’ve been telling Steph about. I’m pretty sure actually this is her main motivation for coming here in the first place. So we take it out for a ride around the farm. Crikey. The breaks aren’t good, and power steering didn’t exist in the 40’s. It’s a tough drive. We may have got it bogged in some mud on the headlands too, but the important thing is, we got it out. 3 dogs, 2 girls, 1 jeep. We did alright. We made it back to the farm with time to wash the mud off our legs and get ready for the night.

 

Soon the family starts arriving, coming in twos and threes, until I am encompassed by a feeling of love like a warm blanket in the cold night. Grandad is wandering around his party taking photos with his phone, I can already tell every single one of them will have his blurred finger shadow in the corner. Bless. He is capturing his legacy – a happy family. I wish I could say we are all here, but we’re not. There are 2 cousins missing. Sisters. They didn’t make the trip. I guess they are too young or too stubborn to appreciate the significance of tonight. I can see it in his eyes, if only they would have been here, they would have been forgiven. Love is all my grandad has to give, there is no capacity for malice in his kind heart.

 

It’s time for the speeches. My Dad gets up to say some kind words, my Aunty also does as well, the only daughter. My younger brother has nice things to say. Our youngest cousin says she loves her family. They all look to me. I’m drunk on Pimms and high on dopamine. I stand next to him in front of our whole family. I tell him that I love him, and between him and dad, you’ve shown me the measure of a good man. I don’t know if it was enough, but it was the truth. After the cake was eaten and the dessert was cleaned up, the celebrations for the night are over, but not the fun. Steph is sitting in her chair curled up on her knees, “Why don’t you go to bed if you’re tired honey? It’s been a big day,” my mother says. I know why she’s still here. We’ll be damned if we let any 80 year old party goers outlast us.

 

The next morning is something special. The family comes around for leftovers lunch today, and it’s much more relaxed. I soak in this time just listening and being near them. One uncle has flown in from Perth with his daughter, another from Brisbane with her husband and daughters. Even the ones that live just down the road from our farm, I hardly see them too. I look around and count the many ways I am happy to be here. But it’s over too soon. Steph and I have a plane to catch so we have to pack and leave much too prematurely. Saying goodbye is always the hard part. “When will you be back?” “You can always come and visit us in Perth” “Be sure to drop by whenever you like” “I look forward to seeing you here again”. Then all too soon, we are back in our apartment with our bags dropped on the floor thinking how quickly that weekend went.

 

S.

 

Does Life Happen Because of we Want it to, or it was Bound to?

When you make a decision, conscious or not, how do you make it? Do you think about all the possible angles, outcomes and consequences of that decision? Do you go with your gut? Do you feel backed into a corner and there are no options, just the one route you can take? What about not just you as an individual, what about a whole state, or country? How are decisions made in a larger scope there? Do they lead us down the path already laid down at our feet or a we just as likely and free to choose the path less travelled? There are a lot of questions about free will and whether it exists, and it is exclusive to humans among any species on the planet. To define free will, we may consider “the subjective feeling of an agent either at that moment of decision or in retrospect that the decision is free, and that one might have chosen to decide differently” (Runes, 1962). To believe in free will is to believe that human beings have the power to be creators of their own futures, and to reject the idea that our actions are predetermined by external conditions or fate. The counter argument is that our lives are already determined by the actions gone before, and whatever choices we make moving forward is not actually a choice at all, but rather the only possible outcome (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999).  As one science fiction writer beautiful portrays, determinism is that “all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again” (Glen A. Larson, 2004)

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Consider the symbols that appear recurring throughout human history. Very often, there are strong similarities that cannot be thought of as coincidental between cultures separated by vast distances of time and land. The mandala, the symbol of the self, has been recreated over history showing different forms but all having the same meaning. The ancient people of Egypt projected many of their personality traits into a world of gods, enabling them to identify parts of themselves in these deities, and look for guidance from them. The Northmen of the 17th Century, Vikings, also had a hall of deities, who they believed were once human and have reached eternal life in Valhalla through a life of sacrifice and victory. They looked onto these beings to deliver them and guide their ways, interpreting meaning from the movement of the sea and the seasons of the earth.

 

Religion is a strong way to project your own thoughts and feelings and find answers. Nowadays however, religion is being shunned for a nihilistic view. Instead of adorning their lives with holy epitaphs, people are adoring their bodies with symbols that have a unique meaning to them. Tattoo their flesh to identify their own self and individuality amongst the crowd. Was there any other outcome but this? Will there be any other future but the one already unfolding?

 

Many theories have been advanced over the years to determine why humans act the way they do. It is one of the cornerstone curiosities of psychology – seeking to understand human thought, emotions and behaviors. Free will vs Determinism. Both have a huge amount of support for them, so is either one of them “right”? or do they work together to allow humans to conduct their lives?

 

To progress understanding of human behavior, theories needed to have more stringent requirements to evaluate the efficacy and empiricism of the theory. They need to be testable. the forefront of learning as a social concept was A Bandura (1969) who proposed his social learning as a theory through which the observer acquires a mainly symbolic representation of the modelled behavior. Developments in learning theory for causal analysis shifted from the hypothesized sense of inner determinates to a broader yet detailed examination of the external environment. The theory was updated to reflect how the environment, both socially and physically, shaped human behavior and action. We can learn from observation, this means instead of having to experience all the uniqueness of life ourselves to know the outcome, we are able to build large, integrated units of behavior simply by watching another example. It means that humans can save themselves a lot of time and tedious trial and error by simply observing an action and outcome. Also, with the development of cognitive ability, this also enables us to think on future actions. The wealth of knowledge gained by experience and observation can be applied mentally to problem solving, we can solve problems symbolically, without having to physically act out each possible scenario to see the consequence. When a course of action has been mentally proposed, we have the insight to adjust our behavior to support the desired outcome (Albert Bandura & Walters, 1977).

 

This social learning theory was developed and applied recently by Nemon (2015), who examined the relationship on parent’s scheduling to their child’s effectiveness in completing their homework. What was found that parents who have poor time management skills is reflected directly in their children’s time management ability. Improvements suggested in this study were to simply change the modeled behavior of the primary source (Nemon, 2015). There have also been further studies into the relationships between parents and peers to children and adolescent behavior that offer more support to this theory, readily identifying the modeled behavior is learnt purely through observation (Norman & Ford, 2015; Schaefer, Vito, Marcum, Higgins, & Ricketts, 2015). These more recent studies take the theory of social learning and apply it outside of a laboratory, in real world examples. The outcomes support the theory, giving it strength, and the solutions to improve the situation also are in line with the same theory. Primarily, social learning theory support the idea of determinism in the sense that our actions are so because of constructs we have learned in the past. There is only one possible outcome due to the circumstance we have intrinsically become accustomed to. To break away from the pre-determined outcome would be to display the notion of free will – which has not been supported in these studies.

 

Social learning is also supported and supports the theory of behaviorism as it equates learning to the behavior that can be observed an measured. Skinner (1953) proposed that all actions are determined, and not free, as behavioral theorist look to past or present environments to explain behavior.

 

There are still many prevailing philosophies that strive to recognize the internal human nature of “will” giving the power to override environmental causalities (Van Inwagen, 1983). If this is true, it would suggest the ability to make predictions and control behavior to be impossible. However, there is boundless support for behavior predicting and manipulation (Pavlov & Anrep, 2003; Skinner, 1953; Watson, 1913). As one of the main proponents of behaviorism, Skinner strongly supports a deterministic human nature. “We regard the common man as the product of his environment, yet we reserve the right to give personal credit to great men for their achievements” (Skinner, 1953). Riedel, Heiby, and Kopetskie (2001) have recently adapted behaviorism theories to apply to bipolar patients to investigate the effects of conditioning and understanding behavior, building the application of these theories to transition from theories into practical treatment and therapy processes.

 

A challenging argument to those theories lies in this humanistic approach to psychology. It was first introduced by Maslow and Lewis (1987) as an emphasis to study the whole person. The humanistic approach considers a person’s behavior through the eyes of the person, as well as the observer, which in this case in unique to the theories discussed previously. This enables the observed to consider all angles that has led a person to come to a decision. The basis for humanistic psychology is existential assumption that people have free will, and are capable of exercising that freedom at any time (McLeod, 2015). For humanistic psychologists, it is argued that objective reality is less important than how a person perceives and understand their world as their subjective reality (McLeod, 2015). It relates all events and experiences not just for what they are but the emotional and psychological impact it has on the person themselves. This approach allows us to have a much more holistic view of an individual and their experience in this world, as nothing but our own unique experiences shape the person we become. Rogers (1995) has found profound understanding in simply listening and hearing what a person has to say about their experiences. As a person strives for self-actualization, being heard and having their peers understand the plight gives strength and positive reinforcement to continue forwards (Frankel, Sommerbeck, & Rachlin, 2010).

 

The limitation of this theory of self-actualization is very limited in the sense that it cannot be generalized to a larger population as every person is unique, and no two experiences are the same. This in turn means the theory has no empirical strength, and would take a lifetime to complete. It also has a strong bias to a person’s ideal self, where they actions may be justified by their own ego. The arguments for social learning and behaviorism are easily hypothesized and transferrable to real-life studies with proven results. Based on previous research and evidence to support, the argument for free will is in stark contrast to that of  A Bandura (1969) and Skinner (1953).

 

Whilst there is support for both arguments to the human condition, it is difficult to surpass the alignment of determinism. It’s a nihilistic view, but you don’t really have a choice. Based on your environment and upbringing, everything you’re exposed to has an influence on your personality, traits that you pick up, your behavior in certain situations. No decision could ever be “free” of yourself, unless you had someone else make a decision for you, blind of all your influencing factors.

 

 

S.