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Saturday, June 24, 2017

I will survive: Survivors vs. victims

I was visiting my brother's grave-site today and realized that he'd tough circumstances and obviously he didn't make it.  Yet, I had faced some of the circumstances or demons that he had, yet with God's help and grace, I managed to pull through, though not unscathed.  We were very close in age and had similar personalities.  So, I've wondered to myself why him and why not me?  But,  I digress.

Long before the reality TV show Survivor started its run, people actually did have to emotionally and physically survive trying circumstances.  Survivor has people artificially "marooned" in various remote locations and they must seek out food, water and shelter.  To me, it seems like a little extreme version of roughing it to try to win a huge cash prize than an actual situation or circumstance to survive.  I mean really are they going to let the contestants get anywhere close to dying or allow them to be risk deep trauma?   When we think of survivors, we think of those who have had to endure the horrors of war and being subjected to daily risk of not coming home, the trials of sexual and other types of abuse, the devastating effects of illness or the stress of not knowing where their next meal will come from and other similar extreme circumstances.

When we discuss people who have gone through rough circumstances, we generally put them into two main categories: survivors and victims.  Being a survivor doesn't mean you go through life unscathed, just like being a victim doesn't mean you end up dead or permanently maimed.  A survivor is thought of as a person who has made it through trying circumstances and come out alive, if not mostly physically and/or emotionally intact.  A victim is thought of as a person who faces trying circumstances and dies or is significantly physically and/or emotionally damaged or destroyed.  In some instances, however, whether a person is deemed a survivor or victim depends on perspective.
For example, a recovering drug addict can be emotionally intact but physically debilitated, but yet we might view them as a survivor if we focus on their emotional well-being or spirit.  But, we might view them as a victim if we focus on their deeply compromised physical health.  But, I digress, why do some people face rough circumstances and "live to tell" about it, whereas others are destroyed physically and/or mentally if they even live after them?   As they say, "That's the $64,000 question."  Anyway, the purpose of this blog post is ponder the characteristics of each and what leads to or is behind those who fall in those categories.

First characteristics of "victims" as I see it:


  • If they don't die or give up immediately, they tend to break down over time.  Either way, they tend to be heavily physically and/or mentally damaged if not destroyed (either figuratively or literally as in death).
  • They have stopped being able to recover from bad breaks or circumstances in life.  They've had one too many bad circumstance or too large a circumstance for them to recover from.
    • For example, an addict who loses custody of their child and that is an psychological bridge too far for them and as a result they lose the will to live or have a death-wish.
    • An childhood abuse victim who seems to "make it", but really have just been hanging on and finally a bad break destroys their will to live.
  • They have lost their hope or faith (and often feel the loss of support)
  • They tend to live a glass half-empty type life. They may be:
    • Afraid of living.
    • Afraid of failing. (paralyzed by it)
    • Afraid of trying.
    • Afraid of dying.
  • They lose their ability to 'scramble' or 'cope' when adversity hits.
    • They may fold under adversity, expecting that there is no immediate hope or that it will all end up bad anyways.
    • They tend to be more paralyzed by fear rather than more motivated to find a way past it, when adversity hits.
    • They may end up 'requiring' someone to 'save' them.  But as we know ultimately, there is so much 'rescuing' that others can do before that option is exhausted. 
  • They may not be blessed with the same level of survival skills as others.  I believe that while survival is based largely on spiritual and environment factors, I don't discount that DNA plays a role in our ability to survive.  After all, some people from a family with a history of mental illness for example.  (In short, they may have some Humpty Dumpty built into them).
In short, victims tend to get stuck, lose faith, ultimately expect failure, may be fragile, tend to fall apart rather than recover and fold when their support system fails them.

Now characteristics of "survivors" as see it:

  • They tend to find a way to make it through rough times (even the roughest).  The find the resources to either limit 'breaking down' if not halt it or to recover from when they break down.
  • Their hope and faith may not be perfect, but deep down inside they know they have support from their Higher Power (God).
    • Their Higher Power (God) may allow them to face adverse circumstances, but they sense that He is with them and will help them through the bad circumstances.
    • They know someone has their back (their Higher Power, family and/or friends)
  • Their Higher Power (God) may have blessed them with the constitution & mental toughness to withstand even the worst pressured.
  • They tend to see the glass as half-full and even when they don't, they are aware that more often than not, the glass has enough in to allow them to get what and where they need. 
    • Afraid of not having tried (will take chances or try)
    • Motivated not to fail,
    • Determine not to give up or in (to live).
    • Not paralyzed by the fear of dying.
  • When adversity hits, they go into "assess and survive" mode.
    • Determine what they need to do to survive.
    • Determine what is extraneous to the need to survive.
    • May ask or be willing to ask for help.
      • They don't sit around and wait for it, but plan for the possibility that they may not get it to the extent they could use it.
      • Though they may be able to count on others, they understand that ultimately it is up to them and their Higher Power 
    • They are willing to do what it takes to pull through, even when the price is steep or level of effort is extreme.
  • Their Higher Power has blessed them with an inner fortitude.  They may not always thrive, but they have been blessed with the fortitude to make it through or hold on even in the toughest scrapes.  In short, they are like a blessed with a spine of steel.  That is they may bend in the storm, but they will not break.
In short, survivors find a way, find hope and faith, have enough optimism, have the ability to scramble and they have a strong enough spine to endure, if not thrive.

Now, this covers the two extremes: survivor and victims, but I believe there are many people who've faced trauma(s) and are hovering between "life" (survivor) and "death" (victim).  Granted if you are not completely a victim, then one could actually argue that you are a survivor (at least at that point).  Ultimately, we all will be a 'victim' of human mortality and pass on one day, the real question is will we live (and die eventually) as a victim or survivor'.  Ultimately, though we may have support of others, this is really a question that we have to resolve with our Higher Power.

Thanks and I hope this sees everyone who reads this hanging in there, even in the roughest moments.

-- Rich

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Boxing others into our expectations

I'm not sure if I wrote on this previously.  If I have, please forgive me.  But, a number of years ago, I was upset and even angry with a family member.  I expected this person to empathize with me or take my side as it related to the end of a relationship.  In other words, "be family" as I saw it.   As often is the case, in hindsight, my side of the (relationship) story was just that--my side.  In other words, I wasn't completely in the right, but wasn't completely in the wrong either.  In any case, at the time I didn't need a pious lecture from family, but instead a supportive ear.  That is to say, I wasn't in the best place at the time.   I could have used the support (or at least lack of explicit criticism).  Just a weak "I hear you" would have been sufficient.  However, the family member was too obtuse to what I needed or was still too sore at a bad interaction that we'd had previously to "be family".

I believe when we are open to it, time and life experience can give us a better perspective on people and relationships.  The situation I described above is an example of that.  I realized that I had expectations of "how family should be" and realized that I was boxing the family member into that expectation.   In other words, expecting the family member to show a side to personality which had never evidenced itself or been implied.   In short, based on previous interactions with the member,  I had an unrealistic expectation for what I saw to be 'support'.  In a way, it didn't matter if it was fair or not for the family member to have not provided 'support'.  What mattered was my expectations.  My expectations were inconsistent with the personality of the family member.

Instead of getting angry and 'punishing' the family member for not meeting my (unrealistic) expectations, I came to understand that I needed to get my expectations more in line with reality.  Once I accepted the nature of the person, I could decide how to proceed with them without being let down, disappointed, upset or angered.  My expectations were getting in the way of how the relationship could or should be.  Anyway, after consideration, I decided to exercise caution when engaging that family member.  In other words, put myself out there or open up to that person to the extent that would be safe given the limitations of our relationship.  This allowed me to continue the relationship free of anger or resentment.  Now perhaps I was disappointed in realizing the limitations of the relationship, but I was also happy to realize serenity to in the matter.

Essentially, I stopped trying to box the family member into my expectations, but chose instead to let the relationship flow naturally.

I call the concept: "Boxing others into our expectations." because the way I see it, when we have expectations of people that don't match the reality of our interaction, there is a tendency to want to fit the person into a box called "Expectations".  This can take two forms:

  • Manipulation
    • This is where we try to force, cajole, bribe, pressure or otherwise squeeze another person into meeting our expectations.
    • Figuratively we are trying to squeeze another person into our box.  
      • We may find a way to force them into our expectations box with enough pressure, but if it is an unnatural fit, the expectations box will not contain them.
        • The relationship will be forced and may be a fraud.
        • The relationship in all likelihood will not withstand too many bumps and when a big enough bump is hit, the relationship will explode out of the box.  When it does explode out of the box it will not be pretty either.
      • The person may not fit into our expectations box.
        • In the process of trying to force them into it we will damage the relationship with them (sometimes permanently).
        • When they we can't put them in our expectations box, we will be subject to disappointment, resentment, anger and possibly despair.
  • Delusion/Denial
    • This is where an objective look at situation would reflect that the other party is NOT meeting our expectations of our relationship.
    • Instead of accepting that the other isn't meeting our expectations, we imagine that they are meeting our expectations.  That is to say, we see our relationship to another as fitting into the expectations box, when in reality it is at best just partially in the box.
      • We see our expectations being met when they aren't or we deny that they aren't being met, when they aren't.
      • An example is when we see someone as a friend because we believe "we have so much in common".  In reality, they might be more of an acquaintance or a 'friend of a friend'.  Due to circumstances we may tend to run into this person a lot and they may be openly 'polite' to or even spend time around us for the sake of the group or circumstance.  However, when outside the group, the person may badmouth us.  We may choose to 'believe' they are our friend if we don't have many friends or if we have a tendency to want to seek approval.
      • One risk here is the other person may use the situation to take advantage of us.  For example, if they see us longing for a friendship where one doesn't exist, they may take advantage of us financially or otherwise in return for declaring to be our friend.
      • Another risk is of humiliation.  We may ultimately find ourselves humiliated by the one taking advantage of us or among others who are observing the one-sided relationship.

So how do we avoid boxing others into our expectations.
  • We make an honest assessment of others.  That is of their personality, of their strengths, of their shortcomings.  We don't to build others into something that they aren't or something that they aren't capable of.
  • We make an honest assessment of ourselves.  That is of our wants, desires and biases.  We don't want any of these getting in the way of assessing our relationship with another. 
  • We realize that our relationship with others is not fully in our control.  While we have some control over what we say, think or do (our side of the street), we ultimately don't have control over what others say, think or do (their side of the street).

So what is the takeaway:
  • It is reasonable to know what you want in a relationship with another.
  • It is reasonable to know your bottom line in a relationship with another.
    • What is healthy for you.
    • What you are willing to 'accept' in return for your participation.
  • Just because you want certain 'benefits' in that relationship, doesn't mean that they will be present.
    • The other party may not know be capable of meeting that 'expectation'.
      • Something in their background makes them deficient--for example, they can't relate to your struggling financially as they never have.
      • They have never learned how to be a 'good friend', 'good parent' or 'good sibling' as they never had a good model/circumstance to learn that.
    • The other party may not be willing to meet that 'expectation'.
      • They may have made a perfectly reasonable assessment and determined that the cost of meeting the expectation is too high.
      • They may be too selfish and be one who looks to take from relationships without giving in return.
  • Be honest about what they can give and what you can give.  Just like you would or should only take what you are comfortable with losing when gambling, it may be wise to have a similar strategy with regard to relationships.
    • Do not try to expect something of another that they can't or won't give.
    • Be willing to give what you are comfortable giving in a relationship with little or no expectations in return.
    • Be willing to give what you are honestly capable of giving with little or no expectation in return.

These are just a few of the principles I've learned and while they may not work for everyone, they work for me.  So, take note of them and use them (or not) as you find beneficial.  The way I see it:

2 Corinthians 9:7English Standard Version (ESV)

 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

If that philosophy or way of life is good enough for my higher power, it is good enough for me in how I handle all my affairs, including relationships.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Faith-based expectations: Hope meets Entitlement

I was talking to a friend today about faith and expectations we have for our lives.  His thoughts were that in approaching our faith and our Higher Power (God), we should be modest in our expectations but be prayerful for what we'd like.  As I thought about for a minute it and occurred to me what he meant:  Entitlement vs. Hope.  That is to say, we should be modest and not be demanding or feel 'deserving' of an excessive amount from our Higher Power--entitlement.  However, it is reasonable for us to hope that we are blessed with good fortune in our lives.  Without even thinking about it, I believe we can take some of the following as entitlements to expect of our higher power:

  • Good or excellent health.
  • Good or problem-free childhood/adulthood.
  • Good job.
  • Good transportation.
  • Good friends/relationships.
  • Good entertainment/times.
  • Good place to live.
  • Good things.

I could summarize all of these things into one phrase: A good life.  Now, in most cases, there is nothing wrong with wanting these things.  That is provided that they DON'T get in the way of our faith (as we understand it) and our civil and moral responsibilities.  In fact, is quite reasonable to want each of these.  Anyway, my friend was saying, inherently there is nothing necessarily wrong with wanting, wishing for, or praying for things we'd like or want or want to happen.  However, we should be careful to avoid slipping into an attitude of 'entitlement'.  When we slip into that attitude we risk the following:
  • Loss of motivation (laziness)
    • If we are feel like we are entitled, I believe we are less likely to put in the work for that which we feel entitled to.
    • This speaks to the old saying that "God helps those who help themselves".
  • Loss of faith
    • If we feel entitled to some or all of the above list just by virtue of being, when we don't get them to the extent that we feel we should, we will tend to feel our faith drained.  In other words, we will tend feel like "He doesn't care" or "He let us down".
      • In a sense we are playing the role of 'God'.  That is to say, behaving as if we know more than our Creator what is best for us or care more than he does.
    • Unfortunately, when our life doesn't go the way we think it should, i.e., "He hasn't provided", we are more likely to decide that we can't count on Him.  
      • This creates a vicious cycle were we tend to exclude our Higher Power and "Lean on our own understanding", resulting typically in less good fortune.  This tends to cause us to blame Him and further exclude Him and the negative cycle continues.
  • (Unhealthy or improper) anger
    • When things don't go the way, we may ask "why He failed us", instead of realizing that we--humanity-have played a role in our own individual and societal failings.  
    • These feelings can lead to poisonous resentment and anger.
    • We need to realize, not everything is going to go 'according to script', but that He usually helps us get what we need.  
    • We need to realize that there are many much less fortunate.

Now let's talk about Hope.  What exactly is hope as I see it.

  • Is usually a health attitude.  
  • Is typically an understanding that we won't always get what we want, but that we will likely get what we need.  
  • Is something that when exercised right is followed by proactive steps in working towards what we want or need.  
  • Is an understanding that both we and our Higher Power play a role in working towards what we want or need.  
  • Is a something that when exercised right is a sense that we aren't 'owed' things, but instead 'blessed' with things.

Ultimately, I guess my takeaway from our conversation was that we need to focus less on what we think we should have, more on what we do have and understand He will provide what we need.  That is to realize that it is not our role to 'expect' or 'demand' of our Higher Power, but instead work along side Him with His guidance to help us meet our needs.  Unfortunately, as I write this, I realize it, like most good advice in life, is easier given than followed.  But, nonetheless...

--  Rich

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lies, damn lies,sweet little lies and the policy of truth

I was listening to Depeche Mode: Policy of Truth today.  I'm not sure I totally agree with the message, but it was an interesting take.  There are consequences associated with telling the truth.  Specifically, we live with the consequences of what we reveal, whether it is a truth or a lie.  So, just because you are speaking a truth doesn't mean it needs to be revealed.  As we know some things are better left unspoken.

So, it occurs to me what is lying, what is telling the truth, when is not telling a truth lying--a lie of omission--and when is it just overthinking a situation. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I have some ideas.

Some thoughts on "Lies"
  • Typically people know in their heart when they are being dishonest.  Sometimes it is only to themselves.  Sometimes it is to others.
    • Lies can harm your relationship with others.  
    • Lies typically harm your relationship with yourself (and your Higher Power) as you damage your character and self-respect, even if you are too conceited to realize it.  
      • Lying breeds more lying and being caught up in a destructive cycle.
      • Lying can spiritually destroy us as it effectively separates us from our Higher Power (God) who knows better.
  • A lie can be a lie, even if what is spoken ends up being the truth.
    • If you mistakenly believe what you are saying is a lie and knowingly push it to deceive others, then in your heart you have lied.
    • Even if you tell others a truth and they know its a truth, but they also know that you mistakenly believe what you are saying to be a lie, from how I see it, it has the effect of a lie,  That is, they know that your intent was to deceive them. 
  • If what you are saying is truthful, but you get something wrong, then even if it ends up being not the truth, then it functionally isn't a lie.  It is a mistake.
    • Unfortunately, if your audience doesn't know your intent, they can believe you to be lying.
    • It is important to set a good track record of honesty so that your audience will give you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake.
  • In my humble opinion, a little white lie is still a lie--an outfit looks bad but you say it looks good.  Similarly, a socially accepted lie is still a lie such as Easter bunny, tooth fairy, etc.
    • We typically cut people slack with these because usually we know they are trying to do the right thing.
    • We typically cut people slack with these because we don't consider them a 'big deal'.
    • If you have a history of lying, once again, you are less likely to be cut slack on little white or socially accepted lies.
  • Being unrealistic to yourself and others can actually be a lie.  
    • If you know in your heart that their is probably no way you can keep a commitment, even if it isn't a 'true lie' can have the same damaging effect of a lie.
      • At best, you can expect to be considered unreliable.  (not dependable)
      • You may be considered delusional or unrealistic.      (dishonest to self)
      • At worst, you can be considered insincere, if not downright dishonest. (dishonest to others)
    • If you make a commitment to others that you should know you can't keep (grandiosity) it has much the same damaging effect (lie).
      • Once again, unreliable.
      • Once again, delusional/unrealistic.
      • Once again insincere, if not downright dishonest.
      • In a way, though you may know your intentions are decent, that isn't always obvious to others.  That's where your history can help (or hurt) you.

Some thoughts on "Truths"
  • People in their heart also tend to know when they are being truthful.  
    • Being truthful can help your relationship with others as they know that your word means something.
    • Being truthful can help your spiritual life.
      • You don't have to spend negative energy dealing with the consequence of lying--the need to cover for the lies with more lies.
      • You can face your Higher Power (God) in good conscience.  That is, you don't have to worry about the 800lb gorilla in the room in dealing with your HP.
  • Just because something is true, doesn't mean it needs to be spoken.  You have to look under the surface sometimes to determine if it should. Examples...
    • Does it clear the air where it needs to be cleared.  For example, you run into an old 'friend' and talk.    
      • It may be wise just to speak on it just to avoid any appearance of hiding anything.
      • If you speak on it, and your significant other hears about it from a common friend later, they have context.
    • Sometimes expressing a truth is helpful just to let your significant other know you care.  While something may some unimportant to you, sometimes it is nice for them to know that you care and are paying attention.  Such as giving helpful but not controlling advice.
    • Is it extraneous or background noise.  Something that could be distracting to the more important things or conversations in life.  For example, if you don't like an outfit your significant other is packing or wearing, but they like it, unless there is something really wrong with it, expressing your truth could be construed as rude.
  • If you believe something to be true and in good faith act on that truth, it can have the effect of confirming your honesty, even if it ends up not being true.
    • If you can show it mistake and an honest one, you can still come out looking like you had good intentions.
    • If they see that you were trying to be helpful, even if the help is in the wrong direction, people can still observe your desire to be helpful (but perhaps a little mistaken).
    • Your history and the harmlessness of what you believe to true can make the difference on how your mistake is taken.
  • While truthfulness is a good thing, I believe there are times when it can be overdone.  I don't mean lying so much as revealing everything without filter.
    • When it is done for show or to gain support or empathy.
      • I believe revealing should be organic and spiritually sound.
      • It should not be done to show your 'holiness' or 'better than thou'.
      • It should not be done out of a craven need for attention (unless it is a cry for help)
    • When it is done to verbally vomit in the case of a guilty conscience.
      • When making amends, it is not necessarily fair to just dump on the aggrieved party just to clear your conscience, especially if they are not open to it.  In your desire to 'come clean', you can injure another.
      • If it is done to just clear your conscience and not as a step in helping others and/or healing, it can be very selfish.  An analogy is irresponsibly spending money and having someone bail you out, just so you can go back to recklessly spending again.

Lies of Omission vs. Overthinking
  • Most people think a lie of omission to have some or all of the following characteristics:
    • Intention to mislead another by withholding some or all information on a subject matter.
    • It is driven by a fear or 'guilt' in revealing something, even if the subject of  reveal shouldn't be big deal.
    • There are or have been multiple opportunities to reveal the subject matter with little or nothing being said on it. 
      • In other words, it is not forgetfulness.
      • In other words, it is something that should have been eventually revealed but hasn't been.
    • When the subject matter (or something close to it) is brought up, the subject is changed by the person who is omitting. 
    • An example is if you ran into an old flame at the mall and sat down and got a quick bite and talked for 30 minutes, not really thinking too much of it.  If you failed to tell your significant other initially and in subsequent conversations on dating, you failed to mention it, this could be considered a lie of omission.
  • Ultimately a lie of omission is withholding something that you should probably say.  But, like anything you can overthink this too.  Examples:
    • If you ran into a friend of the opposite gender from third grade (that they never developed a relationship with) and completely blanked on mentioning it, there is a good change that it wasn't a lie of omission.
    • If you are fixing something around the house, but fail to mention details about your work on it to your significant other, it's probably not a lie of omission.  Chances are that you probably are just feeling like you are leaving out unimportant details.


In all this discussion, for me the most important factor lying/truth-telling is intent.  If you believe something to be lie and intend to deceive, it really doesn't matter if it is or not.  You've shown your hand.  If you believe something to be true and defend it as if it were, I can overlook if it is false, if it appears to be an honest misunderstanding or mistake.  If you don't want to break your child's imagination or spirit, perhaps not saying what you actually believe on Santa or the Easter Bunny is 'forgivable'.  If you don't want to come across as rude over some small matter to a friend or a loved one, perhaps keeping a thought or 'truth' to yourself isn't a bad thing.  If it is clear that you are hiding something that should be said--even if it just for clarity and shouldn't be a big deal--I'm going to be concerned and possibly annoyed or irate.  If you clearly withholding to mislead me, I will be upset and/or mad.  If it is an unnecessary detail or is obvious case of forgetfulness, then I probably won't think too much of it.  You don't have to reveal all the details of everything in your past or present life.  Just be open with me on the important stuff, don't leave me with the sense that you are tying to hide things (whether or not you should have 'guilt' on them or not), and if you don't feel like talking about something at the moment, but just honest about it.  

All that being said, I've had people in my life who weren't in the best place and couldn't find it in themselves to be open with me.  I understand people have demons and I try not to take it personally.  I'm far from perfect on that score so as long as they eventually 'come around', I can usually find a place for them in my life,  It is when they continue in that mode long after it is time to just talk to me that I find it hard to deal with them.  My Higher Power (God) offers me forgiveness when I have no right to expect it, so who am I to deny to it others.  However, my understanding is He doesn't like to be mocked either.  To me that means that while you can forgive someone who won't 'come around' with you, it is hard to have a relationship with that person.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Knowing what you know and not being afraid to say it.

One of my 'favorite' sayings is that "I don't take any joy in being right".  Usually I say that when I express what I consider to be a hard truth.  That is something I would almost prefer to be proven wrong on.  

I once expressed concern for a friend to a common friend of ours.  I was worried about my friend's struggles and the next day I came to find that she had died not more than a couple hours after I had expressed my concern.  Needless to say that threw me for a loop.  I wasn't trying to be prophetic, but unfortunately, as I like to say, "I saw a disturbance in The Force" regarding her.  Suffice to say I struggled with that prophetic point for a while.  But, I digress.

I think sometimes we have a truth so obvious to us that it is literally imploring us to grasp it.  It could be:
  • Time to trade in or buy another car (as our current car is living on borrowed time).
  • A friend or loved one who used to used to seek you out or be open to talking seems to avoid you at all costs (as if to say they are distancing themselves before dumping you).
  • A loved one suddenly becomes disinterested in everything and starts giving away what some of their prized possessions (as if to say, I may not be around much longer, but I wanted to make sure you get this item).
  • Or one of countless other scenarios.
Usually, truths like that are easy to 'see' even by the most detached observer.  In situations like that you can only miss the truth if you really don't want to accept it.  But, I digress.  Often times, a truth is a bit more subtle and there is a possibility that you could be reading it wrong, but experience has taught you otherwise.  In this case, you have a choice what to do with the truth (as you see it) in terms of expressing it.


So, what do you do?
  1. Risk conflict or even a friendship or relationship by putting it out there?
  2. Say, "Well it's not my problem."--even if you do have a role to play-- "I'm not going to get in the middle of a situation or risk grief for being honest or blunt." and not say anything?
  3. Realize that not everyone is open to the truth and it likely will fall on deaf ears anyway?  That is some things have to be learned the hard way.
  4. Realize that a situation really may not be your business and even though you'd love to help as you see the situation clearly, it really isn't your place to step in.

When we want to 'help', we have to make sure we aren't crossing the line of inappropriate, like in situation 4.   We have to be careful when we do have a role in intervening and giving our input, that we aren't coping out by falsely or incorrectly treating the situation like it is a situation 3 type.  That is to say, we rationalize not intervening by declaring the situation as hopeless ahead of time when it may not be so.  Working a situation in a situation 2 way, may be the cowardly way of handling avoiding saying what you need to.  But, it also might be a quite rationale approach if you've gotten burnt trying to help before.  To be fair though, it is possible that you aren't equipped at given point to face the possibility of blow-back from putting the 'truth' out there.  In this case, for your own safety, you may decide not to intervene and instead effectively take the approach in situation 2.  This leaves us with situation 1.  In some ways, putting the 'truth' out there can be both the most courageous thing you can do AND the most freeing thing you can do as well.  When you see a situation or problem for what it is, it may eat at us until say our peace.

When you realize an important truth about a situation, it is important to recognize the situation or circumstance for what they are.  Doing so effectively can guide you what to do with that truth.  I guess in this life, the important thing to do is be willing to express your truth.  That is to say be brave enough to express the truth about a situation (even if it is a truth to yourself).   The circumstance may not rise to the level of having to express that truth, but at least you will be prepared if and when it is time to express it.

Just some thoughts...