Ann Friedman’s Disapproval Matrix for handling criticism is a thing of genius, not to mention essential internet-age literacy. She explains:

Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.

Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too.

Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.

Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you.

Complement with Benjamin Franklin’s trick for neutralizing critics, Daniel Dennett on how to criticize with kindness, and Anne Lamott’s definitive manifesto for handling haters.

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
—  Noam Chomsky

Here are the words that men were most likely to recognize over women:

  • codec (88, 48)
  • solenoid (87, 54)
  • golem (89, 56)
  • mach (93, 63)
  • humvee (88, 58)
  • claymore (87, 58)
  • scimitar (86, 58)
  • kevlar (93, 65)
  • paladin (93, 66)
  • bolshevism (85, 60)
  • biped (86, 61)
  • dreadnought (90, 66)

And here are the words that women were most likely to know over men:

  • taffeta (48, 87)
  • tresses (61, 93)
  • bottlebrush (58, 89)
  • flouncy (55, 86)
  • mascarpone (60, 90)
  • decoupage (56, 86)
  • progesterone (63, 92)
  • wisteria (61, 89)
  • taupe (66, 93)
  • flouncing (67, 94)
  • peony (70, 96)
  • bodice (71, 96)
—  Linguistics researchers explore the gender gap in our vocabulary. For a pause-giving counterpart, see Leonard Shlain on how the invention of the alphabet usurped female power in society.
In many people’s minds bisexuality is (incorrectly) seen as synonymous with non-monogamy. Bisexuals are most often portrayed or imagined as married men or women having secondary “flings” with people of the same sex.

Talk shows, in keeping with their usual superficiality and oversimplification of reality, perpetuate this stereotype. Many shows invite as panelists only bisexuals who have more than one partner, as if the absence of multiple partners invalidates or at least confounds bisexual identity. It is usually the preference of producers that the bisexual individual’s primary relationship be a heterosexual marriage, with same sex lovers “on the side”.

In dealing with producers of these types of shows, I have been told that monogamous or celibate bisexuals are not interesting or controversial enough, and besides, the viewers wouldn’t be able to understand monogamous or celibate bisexuality.

As a result, viewers are presented with images that reinforce the illusion that all bisexual people have both male and female lovers, when in fact only a minority of bisexuals actually maintain this lifestyle.
—  Robyn Ochs Biphobia: It Goes More Than Two Ways originally published in Bisexuality: The Psychology and Politics of an Invisible Minority, Beth A. Firestein, Editor published by Sage 1996

We ♥ this quote and article which helps explain why so many people believe bisexuals cannot be monogamous. But want to remind people there is a difference between those who Choose Monogamy as the right thing For Them, and has absolutely nothing to do with being down on polyamorous and other types of relationships which may be the right thing for others. To each their own, “An it harm none, do what ye will.”

Landmark study by University of Manitoba researchers finds that internet trolls are Machiavellian sadists and narcissists:

The research … sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called “Dark Tetrad”: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the internet.

Pair with this fantastic video on how to tame the trolls and a lesson in handling haters from Benjamin Franklin.

Today in psychology we learned that men who are repeatedly and regularly exposed to erotic and sexual images of women will find their wives/girlfriends less attractive.

So, basically we live in a society that insidiously commodifies and sexualizes women on TV, in magazines, on billboards and in movies, and that in turn makes them less attractive to the men who are being exposed to this eroticized caricature of real women. It’s a catch-22 that keeps socializing women to believe that their value lies in their physical appearance, but their physical appearance will never be good enough. The commodification of female bodies has to stop; the sexism in mass media has to stop.

Submission and Response: Children and the Myth of "Colorblind" Youth
Fiction Week

Hey, I just saw your post about children’s books and had to think about the question of “othering” somebody brought up at your blog a couple of weeks ago. In this context I was wondering, if children would perceive and/ or understand the “otherness” of the characters, if nobody ever tells them that there are differences. I can’t think of a solution to “unmark” the characters in drawings (except for leaving their faces pale/ uncoloured, but I understand that can be misunderstood as well). But isn’t the production of different books for different skin-colors (I’m trying to avoid the mentioning off race here) just keeping the old racial (here it is) separation alive?
Have a nice day, — marku5

I’m going to go ahead and reframe this for a second, because the way you’re speaking, it seems as though you think that all children are white, and that mentioning race at all is somehow a bad or negative thing. I’ve also received multiple messages along these lines, and it’s something that should be addressed. First of all, colorblind ideology is a form of racism:

Racism? Strong words, yes, but let’s look the issue straight in its partially unseeing eye. In a colorblind society, White people, who are unlikely to experience disadvantages due to race, can effectively ignore racism in American life, justify the current social order, and feel more comfortable with their relatively privileged standing in society (Fryberg, 2010). Most minorities, however, who regularly encounter difficulties due to race, experience colorblind ideologies quite differently. Colorblindness creates a society that denies their negative racial experiences, rejects their cultural heritage, and invalidates their unique perspectives.

Secondly, do you think children of color have the option of not understanding that they are othered in films, books, shows, and society in general? Do you think that they can somehow live their lives free of anyone mentioning their race? I invite you to watch this video for a sometimes heartbreaking example of just how early children learn about race, racism, and the reality of racism in American society. “The Doll Test” results have changed since the 1940s, but not in the ways you might assume. For every white parent who believes their white child is “too young” to be talked to about race and racism, there is a parent of color whose child of color comes home from school after having been called a racial slur, and asks their parent what that word means, and why someone would call them that. These messages are still coming from society, but there is also inequality perpetuated in the way parents have been expected to cope. In the words of child psychologist Margaret Beale Spencer:

“All kids on the one hand are exposed to the stereotypes” she said. “What’s really significant here is that white children are learning or maintaining those stereotypes much more strongly than the African-American children. Therefore, the white youngsters are even more stereotypic in their responses concerning attitudes, beliefs and attitudes and preferences than the African-American children.”

Spencer says this may be happening because “parents of color in particular had the extra burden of helping to function as an interpretative wedge for their children. Parents have to reframe what children experience … and the fact that white children and families don’t have to engage in that level of parenting, I think, does suggest a level of entitlement. You can spend more time on spelling, math and reading, because you don’t have that extra task of basically reframing messages that children get from society.”

The inequality present in children’s books in regard to representation is another measurable reality: Of 5,000 books released in 2012, only 3.3% featured Black characters. 2.1% featured Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders. 1.5% featured Latino characters; and only 0.6% featured Native Americans. (source)

Ideas that race is something that “shouldn’t be mentioned” only reinforce the silencing of children who would ask, “why don’t any of the characters in these books look like me? What’s wrong with the way I look?” I highly recommend reading Soraya Chemaly’s piece for the Huffington Post, “What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books are Still about White Boys?” for an overview of just how pervasively this inequality affects us all. We are trained from a very early age to assign race to ourselves and others. As I’ve explained to many white fiction writers of my acquaintance, sometimes to their chagrin or rage, your readers will assign race to your characters, no matter what you do. If you try to “unmark” them or include no physical descriptors whatsoever, they will be marked as “White”, because whiteness is set up as a “default” in our society. Even nonhuman characters often have races or racialized characteristics assigned to them by both authors and readers. As much as many fantasy writers for children, YA and adult audiences might like to believe their created universe exists in a vacuum separate from our reality, the fact is these created worlds will always be a reflection of our own because they exist within it. Everything created by human beings functions within society. And our society is a raced society; no one is exempt. Trying to ignore or dismiss the lived reality of people of color is a function of racism. The only way to do what you’re talking about is to raise a child completely isolated from society, and that would be pretty textbook child abuse. Part of the responsibility for raising a child is to prepare them to function in society, and miseducating them about race and its realities in society is doing them and society a disservice.
Researchers have found that distraction is the antagonist of attention, not its opposite. It’s an interesting distinction. Distraction is the devil in your ear — not always the result of an attention deficit, but borne of our own desires. We are distracted because we want to be.
—  This altogether pause-giving New York Times piece about what actually happens when we text and drive offers a poignant reminder that “attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator [which] asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.” 
In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book - we want to forget ourselves. Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us, opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to come and colonize us.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh
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Important Thoughts, Insights, and Posts:

New to Spirituality? Read this
The Toxicity of New Age and Sensational Spirituality: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Negativity in Twin Flame Culture
How the Law of Attraction is Affected by Mental Illness
The Difference Between Being a Shard and a Projection
Warnings About Becoming Spiritually Involved
Dangers of Forcing Your Third Eye Open
Human Souls vs. Incarnated Spirits
All About Twin Flames
Are You Naturally a Spiritual Healer?
About Channeling Spirits / How to Channel
What are Walk-In Spirits?

Past Lives/Akashic Records:

What are the Akashic Records?
How to Retrieve Past Life Memories
Can’t Access Your Past Lives? This Might Be Why.
Questions to Ask About Your Past Lives
Akashic Record Distance Healing (A Service I Offer)
A Guided Akashic Healing Meditation
Tips to Access the Akashic Records
How the Akashic Records Heal


How to Spiritually Protect Yourself
How to Banish a Spirit
How to Meet Your Spirit Guides
Accept Your Body Meditation
Easy Three-part Breathing Meditation (Dirga Pranayama)
How to Astral Project
Other Methods of Projection
How to Talk with Spirits
How to Find Your Spiritual Name
Let Go of Your Painful Past Meditation
Purify Your Living Space
Blooming Steps Walking Meditation
Inner Child Healing Meditation

Guided Video/Audio Meditations:

Akashic Cleansing (17:01)
Clear Your Mind (9:56)
Total Akashic Cleansing (47:51)

Energy Healing:

What are the Chakras?
Infinity Energy Healing
Healing Chronic Pain, Aches, and Refreshing Your Energy
What are the Chakras?
Methods of Healing
What is Reiki?
Social Media and Empathy
Masculine versus Feminine Energy (Yang/Yin)

The Ego:

What is the Ego?
How Self-Interest Isn’t Always From the Ego
The Ripple Effect of Our Actions
Myths about Mindfulness That Your Ego Will Tell You


Why Radical Acceptance Works
The Radical Acceptance Challenge
Freeing Your Emotions
Gratitude Journaling
How to Turn Your Shower Into a Spiritual Experience
75 Acts of Self-Love
Journaling the Beauty Around You
No Need to Shame Yourself For Things You Can’t Control
What is Unconditional Love?
Mindful Resolutions

Philosophy and Discussions:

Bilocated Projections and Vibrational States
The Creator versus God versus The Universe
Spirits, Language, and Enochian
Do We Choose If and When We’re Born?
How Reincarnation is Possible
Can Souls Be Harmed/Are Souls the Source?
What is the Higher Self?
Why You Should Take That Risk
Diversify Twin Flame Culture
Five Center of Intelligence

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The availability heuristic:

A mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision.

If you want to be rational and assess how the world works, look at lots of data, over longer periods of time, and attempt to identify all of the relevant variables.

The news does not provide you with that.