Self Knowledge

Chapter 5 – Others Before Self

A young woman, despite suffering from anxiety and clinical depression, found herself in a caring, loving relationship. She admitted she never thought she would find someone as loving and generous as her current partner. However, she was riddled with guilt about the difficulties he faced dealing with her frequent afflictions. “I am not good enough […]

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A Perfect Ending

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”                             Voltaire Sometimes perfect finds us when we least expect it. In the Fall of 2021, I was asked to give a keynote at a meeting of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) for school districts across the state of Illinois. I could never have conceived how this invitation would help

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The Tapestry We Mistakenly Believe is Reality

One of the most profound lessons I have extracted from nearly 20 years answering calls (11,000 or more) on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is that each of us constructs an image—a tapestry—we truly believe represents reality, but turns out to be ambiguous, misleading, and very often wrong. Despite its extraordinary abilities, our brains are easily

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An Unlikely Source of Wisdom

“It’s So Counterintuitive!” she said. “Yes, it is.” I affirmed. The young woman calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline suffered from sporadic, chronic, gastrointestinal pain. She thought she might have eaten something the prior weekend that aggravated the condition. As a result, she was in great pain. I asked if she would be willing to

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Vanquishing Wisdom; Impairing the Future

“We never knew what we were going to see—what kicks (sneakers) were going to be on sale; what beef (conflict) was going to be cooking; what guads (boys) and shorties (girls) were going to be rocking (wearing)…We did not care if older or richer or Whiter Americans despised our nonstandard dress like our nonstandard Ebonics…Fresh

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Listening with New Ears

“This is usually where the desire to dismiss claims of racial oppression come from—it just doesn’t make sense to you so it cannot be right.”                                                 Ijeoma Oluo in So you want to talk about race I can be justly accused of remaining silent for far too long when words condemning racism should have been

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How Old Are You?

What if the answer was deeper, less objective and more nuanced than a simple recounting of the number of times the earth orbited the sun since the day you arrived? If I asked, instead, how creative you are, I would be confused and disheartened if you answered “5,” “23,” or “99.” Those are meaningless in

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