Monday, January 17, 2011


Alright, here it is. I've been thinking a lot about this, and I decided I am going to share it.

Some thoughts on manipulation.

Manipulate: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage

Manipulation is a science. It, like other skills, can be practiced. People who manipulate don't stick with old material; they find newer, more complex ways to manipulate people or situations. That is a scary thing.

I consider my encounters with manipulative people both detrimental and beneficial. Detrimental in the sense that because manipulation is a twisted way of gaining control, I have at times become trapped by some people's manipulative words. Beneficial in the sense that I have become able to often recognize when people are being manipulative. Thus, it helps me to better understand that person's character. I can not only avoid getting sucked in, but can distance myself from that person. Because people who manipulate have an agenda. They have motives.

Why is it that people use manipulation? Because it empowers people. It helps them gain control. Often times people who are manipulative have had traumatizing experiences in their lives, or have had some destructive or negative event take place in their lives that they cannot control. Or they were just born with certain misfortunes that they cannot help. So they find a way to gain control to compensate for their lack of control in other areas of their lives. They discover the art of manipulation.

Sadly, however, there are those who have made personal choices that result in a loss of control. Take some alcoholics, for example. We have all heard about alcoholic husbands or boyfriends that get so drunk all the time that they start beating their wives/girlfriends, and even kids. They are out of control when they do this. But they CHOSE to drink. That CAN be helped. But even though they chose to drink incessantly and consequently became wasted out of their mind, there is still a need to gain back the control. So they threaten their victim with more beating if the victim ever reports it to the police, or even tells anyone, for that matter. That is manipulation.

But why is it that people even need control? Yes, we want to be in control of our emotions, and be in control of the decisions we make and the person we choose to be. But why do people feel like they need to control others? Or control situations? Because it is a form of validation. When someone is able to manipulate a situation or person and is successful, it is a boost of confidence. It says, "You have power." It is an insidious and pathetic way to feel good about themselves.

Manipulation is destructive. People who are victim to it often feel insignificant, enslaved, powerless.

I believe, though, that we are all manipulators to some degree. I know I have used manipulation to get what I wanted before. We all do it; we just aren't always aware that we are using manipulation. And even though manipulation is used for personal gain, it doesn't always hurt someone else. People can use it on someone without meaning any harm on anyone else. But, (this part is key) just because they don't mean any harm doesn't mean that the result of their manipulation can't cause harm. In fact, I would say that most times it is harmful to a friendship or relationship. I personally have felt resentful toward people after recognizing their use of manipulation. Resentment, obviously, is not healthy in a relationship or friendship.

Thankfully, there is a better, safer, and truer alternative to manipulation. It's called, honesty, love, and a willingness to communicate openly. It works wonders in conversation between two people in some sort of relationship. Manipulation destroys, weakens. Honesty, love, and clear communication builds, strengthens, and fortifies.

But is there a good form of manipulation? The only good example I can think of is manipulating my hair to do a certain thing when I'm dealing with a cowlick.

Bottom line--stay away from manipulative people. Their mindset is often " me, me, me". And DO NOT use manipulation. I have come to find that being honest and open has amazing effects. It builds love and trust. It can make us feel vulnerable, but I promise, it will have good and lasting results.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's Thursday

First, Condoleezza Rice is the Woman! Today Condoleezza Rice spoke at BYU. She is so articulate and intelligent.

Second, a few days ago I was writing a blog post on all my thoughts about manipulation. And then seeing that it might make for a very boring blog post, I decided not to post it. I have had many thoughts about the destructiveness of manipulation and throughout the years have come across some pretty manipulative people, so that's why I started writing about it in the first place. That's all. If you ever want to hear about it, let me know...

Third, I have a theory (that has probably been already developed). I believe that when we (i.e. everyone) take time to get ready for the day, like putting on makeup, doing our hair, wearing an outfit that we think we look good in, etc., we perform better in everyday tasks. And I'm not just talking about social tasks. Because we all know that we are more likely to be social and put ourselves out there when we look good than if we look like garbage. But I am thinking that we would perform better academically (getting better grades on tests, paying better attention in class and so on). I started thinking about this a while ago, but a few days ago it really rang true to me when I went to work and then school looking like TRASH. Hadn't showered in a couple days (yow), my mascara was flaking big time, my hair was greasy, I was wearing an old sweatshirt, etc. The whole day all I could think about was how I just wanted to get the day over with so that I could go home and not be seen by people. I felt insecure about my appearance and couldn't really focus on school.

However, the next day of school I was clean, my hair was done, my makeup was fresh, and my outfit was bomb. You better believe I was cat-walking all over campus (not really--felt like it though). I didn't have to worry about if people could smell me, or see little black flakes all over my face, or just notice that I was the frumpiest of all frumpish greaseballs. I could focus. My confidence was high. I could do any dam thing I wanted. By the way I purposely spelled that BIBLE (mind you) curse word wrong so that no one will get up in my grill about swearing. Hehe.

Point is, when we feel good about ourselves physically, I think we perform better academically. Of course this is targeted towards students who are still being graded on assignments, tests, and the works. BUT I think this rule applies to life socially, academically, professionally--probably even spiritually, too.

So everyone, (I know it's hard to do all the time) every once in a while, go get yourselves lookin smoking hot and start booty bumping people out of the way, because [insert your name here] is here!