And what to do about it.

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I never expected to meet someone like this.

When I was younger, I was naïve, and more than a little insecure. I didn’t expect anyone to have bad intentions and would do my best to keep other people happy. I was easily manipulated, and quick to react if provoked.

This is fertile ground for being narcissistic prey.

A narcissist’s personality is divided equally between self-loathing and self-importance. Their self-hatred is only matched by their sense of entitlement. They convince themselves of being superior to others to avoid looking at who they are.

A narcissist can take the form of a…


Why you should just say it

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In The Elements of Style, the author’s English professor, William Strunk, was obsessed with tearing down weak writing. He hated any form of expression that held itself back. To him, timidity was worse than ignorance. Strunk said:

“If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!”

I’ve spent my life not living this philosophy, but now I see the beauty in it. Not only is it ok to be wrong, but holding back what you want to express kills its potential.

Reasons You Should Risk Being Wrong

  • The quicker you’re wrong, the quicker you can course correct.
    It’s similar to the artillery analogy…


Getting angry is giving your power away.

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“I just wanted to see how you’d react.”

“It’s no fun if you don’t fight back.”

“There’s the explosion!”

You probably remember a kid from school that people would bully just to watch him get mad.

His reactions were animated enough to enjoy, but harmless enough to not be intimidating. Everyone took pleasure in dumping on this kid because of the show he’d put on. Except for him, of course. He probably felt like a cornered animal.

Not everyone who takes part in this kind of bullying is a narcissist. …


What they are and why they won’t fill the void.

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I am an avid listener of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. I put it on in the background of my workouts, showers, and car rides.

If Joe Rogan got assassinated by a disgruntled fan one day, would I miss him?

Yeah, I would.

But there is something I keep straight with myself. I don’t know Joe Rogan. Odds are, I’ll never meet Joe Rogan. I don’t see him as a second dad, or a life guru, or anything more than a compelling public figure. He is not my friend. He is a man on the internet.

He communicates to millions…


An ode to Quiet Heroism

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It’s safe to say that we suffer the most when we’re alone. And some of our strongest moments are when we whisper to ourselves, “I’m not going to stop.”

But life isn’t a movie. There isn’t anyone around to cheer us on or gives us pats on the back. Most people will never witness these moments. But you will, and you’ll remember them.

The modern world is soul-draining, chaotic, and painful. And to survive it, let alone thrive in it, it’s going to take a lot of these resolutions.

I define Quiet Heroism as resolve without spectacle. It is making…


How to overcome this strange phenomenon.

Woman tormented by thoughts.
Woman tormented by thoughts.
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When I was thirteen years old, I was terrified of letting people down.

If I had a bad thought about someone, I thought my relationship with them would be dishonest from that point forward, and until I confessed my thoughts, I’d be consumed with guilt. So, I would get hammered with ugly, arrogant, and cruel thoughts about my friends and family. I had no control over it, and it made me feel like a monster.

I didn’t realize until later in life how common this phenomenon was.

Intrusive thoughts are a classic symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but they can happen…


The first step on the road to self-trust.

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I was 15 years old. My hair was greasy, my voice was shaky, and I stumbled awkwardly into my art class. I didn’t say a damn word to anyone. I just wanted to be an afterthought. I wanted to show up, do my work, and leave. But it never works out that way, does it?

My teacher asked me to grab a stapler out of the cabinet. When I looked in the cabinet, I could feel her staring at me, along with the rest of the class. Now is when you grab the stapler.

But the strangest thing happened. I…


You have a right to exist.

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I’m so goddamned sorry.

I’m sorry I did so well. I’m sorry I didn’t do well enough. I’m sorry I don’t look good enough. I’m sorry I screwed it up. I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable. I’m sorry my life doesn't look how it’s supposed to look. I’m sorry for what I am. I apologize a trillion times. Please, just please, don’t be mad at me. I’m begging you.

“Feeling regret or penitence” is one definition of the word sorry. But where is that regret coming from? What are your intentions? Are you trying to right a wrong? …


When’s the last time you had a hard talk with a chair?

Two chairs facing each other.
Two chairs facing each other.
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“You want me to do what?” I asked my therapist.

“You’re going to sit in this chair, and then you’re gonna sit in the other chair, and you’re going to carry on a conversation with yourself. Part of you is going to be in this chair and the other part in that chair. Pretend I’m not here.”

I get locked into a lot of internal conflicts. Different parts of me campaign for my attention. Sometimes they’re needy, sometimes they’re berating, sometimes they’re shady, and sometimes they're charmingly kind.

I was getting dragged down by these voices and I needed a…


You don’t have to do this anymore.

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When it came to self-defeat, I was undefeated.

I took every opportunity to rob myself of happiness, prevent progress, and slap my own face. I was a tyrant to myself, and I thought I was doing the right thing. I was acting out penance for a religion that only existed in my head.

We all have our little ways of torturing ourselves. We have moments when we doubt we’ll succeed and wonder whether we even should. We harm ourselves in the process, and sometimes those around us.

But there are better ways of being. My self-esteem was damaged, and it…

Charlie Lukas

Psychology, Philosophy, Hope, Pain, and Vibes. https://strengthinsilence.com/

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