October TL; DR
Pieces too long? Read this monthly summary!
It’s been a month of absolute madness. So much so that I completely forgot to send out the summary email for last month’s articles. FORGIVE ME!
TL; DR for OCTOBER is here! This digest summarizes the vital bits from the previous month's "How to Live" newsletter so you don't miss a thing.
Like everyone, the crisis in the Middle East has me in knots. I’ve been channeling that excess energy into designing t-shirts, enough I’ve made enough to open an official HOW TO LIVE MERCH STORE.
This piece from October 4th, 2023, was about a History-Making Psychology Summit and One Psychologist’s Life-Altering Experience.
Not only was she my seatmate, but she also introduced me to the audience (perhaps the best introduction of my life—it was interactive and included a call-and-response!) She arrived straight from the airport. Unlike most people who go ANYWHERE straight from an airport, she was glowing and thrumming with contagious energy, vibrant optimism, and pure joy. As she took her seat next to me, I asked where she’d been.
Turns out, she’d spent the past two days being part of history. She’d attended the Black School Psych Summit in Atlanta, Georgia—The first conference EVER dedicated to and for Black School Psychologists.
Just one year later, BSPN held its first annual conference and made history.
While she’d been to the National School Psychology Conferences, Dr. Mclure’s summit offered an experience she’d not found anywhere else.
This piece from October 11th, 2023, was mental health awareness day, but I needed a full week, so I took the day off (my first in two years!)
The October 18th piece was about How to Connect During Crisis.
It has become harder for many to find and build community in a world that stokes political, collegial, and social division and has led to a rise in social anxiety.
Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed a pattern in people meeting for the first time. Many have lost the ability to be in dialogue or to have a conversation. Instead, they monologue, interrupt, correct, and defend.
In their misguided efforts to feel seen and known, the impulse to co-opt conversation—rampant on social media—has now infiltrated our lived realities.
But this strategy to win at rightness acts as a tool of erasure, preventing others from feeling seen and known, positioning the driver of this misaligned strategy as ungenerous and uncompromising.
That desire to be seen without having to do the work of seeing leads them to fast forward past the uncertain, vulnerable middle. That skipped step is where true connection lives, and when it’s supplanted by a demand to be known RIGHT NOW, from their perspective only, it forecloses kinship.
The demand to be visible using strategies of erasure leaves conversation partners feeling how the driver of the failed strategy is trying not to feel. Both parties wind up feeling lonelier and more alienated.
We are not good at doing hard things, at being challenged, at conceding, apologizing, or trying again.
But we can be…
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The October 25th, 2023, piece was about Feeling Pressured to Conform.
When Solomon Asch was a 7-year-old in Poland, he could finally stay up late to experience his first Passover dinner with his family. As his grandmother poured a second glass of wine, Solomon asked who it was for. “For the prophet Elijah,” his uncle said.
"Will he really take a sip?" the boy asked.
"Oh, yes," the uncle replied. "You just watch when the time comes."
That suggestion and expectation filled Solomon with enough conviction that he watched the glass carefully. After a while, he realized that the level of wine in the cup had gone down. At least, that’s what he believed.
That single experience set the stage for Solomon’s life’s work as a social psychologist, pioneering studies highlighting how peer pressure shapes human behavior.
As a grown man, now living in NYC and teaching psychology at Brooklyn College, World War II took shape, and as Hitler rose to power, Dr. Asch began studying the effects of propaganda and indoctrination.
Dr. Asch believed that social pressure affects one’s perception and “interpretation of the world, and on how one forms impressions of others.”
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