Big Dog’s Philosophies on Life

Big Dog here!   I guess you know me better on WordPress as alexsilverthorn.   Still, I’ve decided to hijack Emily’s website once again for a little posting party.

Monthly, Emily and another friend of ours head out of our normal areas to go to a meetup.   Something to sit and see friends we don’t get to see any other time.   Sad, but at least we get to see them, and have some excellent Italian food to boot.   I believe this has been mentioned a few times, but I want to reiterate it, if you please!

In any event, we went and a had great food and great conversation, but there was a bit of an issue.   One of the members that comes on a regular basis decided this was the month to show.   It’s him and his girlfriend, actually.   The thing of it is, the guy has always comes across as skeevy to me.   I’m not the only one who’s felt that way, and it’s not like he hasn’t done things that added to this overall feeling.   The problem is, I really haven’t come to know him.  Emily pointed out that even though the guy comes across as a creep, obviously a lady has decided to keep company with him, and we really don’t know anything about him.   Even after all the years we’ve been “acquainted”, we know virtually zip about the guy.    On one had, she’s completely right.   It’s harsh to judge a guy that we know nothing about.  It could be that he’s not as bad as we think, and he’s just socially awkward.   On the other, I pointed out that his girlfriend looks like she’s been beaten down by life every time we see her.   My thought was she might be with him because she doesn’t think she can do better.    The only way to really know is to ask, and hope that all I’m seeing is just wrong.

That conversation lead into me talking about a philosophy or two of mine, things that I’ve tried my damnedest to live by, but I’m only human.   Over the years, I’ve spouted off many different philosophies of mine to Emily.   Sometimes people seem to agree with the things I’m saying.  All I know for certain is that these things work for me, when I don’t ignore them for some stupid reason.

Sunday, mom and I were flipping channels at the house and of course NCIS was on one of the many stations that picked it up for syndication.   This is one of mom’s favorite shows, so much so that we’ve watched the repeats…  well, repeatedly!    If you know the show, you know the main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (as played by Mark Harmon).   Gibbs is a former Marine Sniper, turned Navy cop.   Every episode has him, or one of his subordinates, quoting Gibb’s Rules.   They are such an important part of the show, that they have had an episode or two based on those rules.    It made me realize that since I have many different philosophies on getting through this crazy little thing called life, I’d create a list of these.   I finished that list and passed it on to Emily, who seemed to like what I was saying, and has agreed with many of these over the years.   Some I have cribbed from others, but I find them important to incorporate in my overall repertoire.

So here it is, I pass it on because in the end it may give you a better understanding of me to some degree, and it may give you something to ponder over.    Sorry for the takeover, but I think this needed to be put out there.

Big Dog’s Philosophies on Life

1. If I call you brother or sister, it’s because that’s what you are to me, until you prove to have a greater or lesser connection than that. Some people base this off of just parentage, or race, or religious belief. I don’t. We have many similarities that make us the same. For that, we are brothers/sisters. We can celebrate and discuss the differences as they become necessary.

2. Religion and Politics are not a reason for me to dislike someone. I know people from all walks of life, and many have diverse beliefs from another. That is no reason to disdain them until they give me a reason to. Sticking to one’s beliefs and sharing that wisdom isn’t about pushing an agenda. Don’t try to convert me to your beliefs, and I will be more than happy to hold a discussion with you.

3. Just because they don’t have what you have, doesn’t make you better. That doesn’t make you richer, that doesn’t make you happier. Owning stuff is awesome, but it will never make you the better person. Old adage: “Never judge a book by its cover.” Sometimes the richest person is the one who wants less stuff, and more time with their loved ones.

4. If you aren’t the smartest person in the room, be the smartest person in the moment. There are those that are geniuses. They may be able to tell you how to unlock the mastery of one thing or another with an ease that may seem foreign to you. That doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it just means that you need to pay attention to the details. Sometimes you’ll just catch things, and you can show that you have just as much intellect, or even more common sense than they do.

5. People who ask hard questions rarely want the answers. This is based on the idea, “if you have to ask, it’s not for you.” People will often ask about something, and quickly find out that they didn’t really want to know it. Always confirm with yourself that you need or want the answer before you ask.

6. Love, appreciation, and respect. I will always tell people “much love and respect” or “I appreciate it/appreciate you”. If I’m passing on my love to you, it’s not because I’m making romantic overtures. It’s because I care about people and want to show that. Too few people do.

7. There is the family you come with, and the family that you create. I say that all people I consider brother and sister. In the biological sense, some families are very close. There are sometimes where you’re more acquaintance than anything. Then there are the people you meet that become more than that. They are friends you can count on, even if it’s just listening. No matter how long it goes between conversations, you can pick it back up and it’s like it never stopped. Call it best friends, but I call them family.

8. A dose of sarcasm is essential for those who just don’t get it. Some people hate sarcastic wit, because it seems mean spirited. In fact, sometimes sarcasm is the only way to allow people to know that they’ve crossed into territory best left alone when no polite word would do.

9. Know your audience. There are a ton of conversations that you can have with an individual, but it’s easy enough to tell when it’s either making tensions run high, or making them easy. You never know what material is going to work with what people. Press boundaries, but don’t cross them. If you see it’s going down that road, change the subject.

10. “Laughter is the best medicine. The cool this is, you can’t OD and the refills are free!” – Rob Paulsen A laugh does a lot to brighten a day. If you can help to bring that brightness to someone, do it!

11. Empathy over simple sympathy. Feeling with someone is better than feeling sorry for them. You can be sympathetic, but I always find life experience will find a similar situation in what someone’s going through to connect you to what they are going through. If you can share that story with them, that’s fine. Remember though, it’s about them, and not about you. Make sure they know it’s about you relating to them in the best way you know how.

12. Compassion. An ounce of this is worth a ton of apathy. Some people are down on their luck, or they are going through stuff. Being empathetic will help when you can relate, when you can’t, you still have a shoulder. Be there for them, help them however you can. Some might take advantage. Call them on it, but don’t let it taint you to helping the next person that needs it.

13. Call yourself on your own B.S. You might not be willing to change some things about yourself that others find annoying, wrong, or even less than healthy. Regardless, know these faults for what they are and either own up to them, or do something about them.

14. Your word is your bond. Sometimes life will do something to get in the way, and that’s just how it goes. Regardless, you make a promise, you do all you can to keep it the best way you know how. If you can’t or don’t think you can, let them know up front or call it out for what it is.

15. A woman is a lady until she proves herself otherwise. Just remember that though a lady can be like a beautiful rose, roses have thorns. Personally I love the fiery spirit of a lady. That fire fuels so much creativity, passion, the inner warrior, among many other wondrous things. If you are fortunate enough to have a woman who actively wants to be a part of your life, do all you can to keep that fire burning. Never, through help or direct action, douse that flame. Once it’s gone, you’ll understand what cold truly is.

16. Men are allowed to cry. Even if it’s just private tears, a guy is allowed to have emotions other than just being prideful. You don’t have to be the stereotypical manly man, or oversensitive to the point of annoyance. There is a balance between the two, try and strike it. It will help you relate to some people, and still be able to do the things that the stereotypical guy enjoys.

17. Don’t give in to hate. The word gets tossed out a lot, and some people spend their lives just dipped in it. It only makes a person bitter. That bitterness can lead down some really bad roads. To quote Yoda, “Fear lead to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” There are enough of those people in the world, no need to add to them.

18. Give into to a little weirdness in your life. A little whimsy never hurt anyone.

19. It all connects. People say that there are things that don’t work together, they don’t relate in any way. If you’re into it, or have some variation of interest in it, you are where it connects.

20. We are music, set to a story, painted into a picture that will eventually finds its end edge. As we run into each other we are a concert in a museum. You can try to make it a diverse exhibit in a great hall and set to a symphony, or you can be the midi chip connected to the drawing on the fridge in the kitchen of life.

21. Perception defines your reality. Just because something is true to you doesn’t make it true for someone else. Remember that truth and fact aren’t necessarily the same thing, but ideally should be. Perceptions will change and as they do, your reality will shift to fit these new insights. Be ready for it.

22. Change is inevitable, but not necessarily a bad thing. Changes are necessary in life, so as to make things easier or fix problems. Sometimes changes occur that make things more difficult, and in those moments they should be questioned.

23. It’s okay to look backwards, but make sure to pay attention to what’s in front of you. You need to look forward. People will pass on or leave. Places will come and go. Good times will give way to some hardships. It’s okay to look back and think of these things, but don’t shackle yourself to them. The road ahead may lead to better, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

24. All important discussions should happen around the dinner table. A good plate of food is a great way to find common ground, and then discuss things openly without hostility.

25. You should have a personal code of honor. Something that inspires you to do and be better. Sometimes you’ll fail at this. You’re human, after all. The point is to strive to be better, always.

26. Depression happens to the best of us. Remember that the world will be gray and might even go black, but the storm will eventually pass. Others will care, even if you don’t believe it at the time. Don’t fall into the abyss, but if you feel yourself slipping, I will be there with my hand extended.

27. There are some things in this world you may be an expert in, but for everything else there is Google. If asking the question to a person yields no results, get your Wiki-Scholar. Just remember, it’s just a start to learning. If you take an interest, those things called books can fill in a number of gaps in your knowledge.

28. Follow your bliss. You have to choose a path that will make you happy. There will be plenty of obstacles put in your way. Some will make you question things. As long you’re not harming yourself or hurting anyone else, and still finding happiness, keep pressing forward. Your happiness is a paramount concern to you.

29. There is right and there is wrong, and it’s not hard to tell which is which. The right thing to do isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and it will make you look at the gray areas. Let your knowledge, common sense, and your gut guide you. If it feels wrong, it probably is.

30. Never let your imagination die. It’s awesome when you’re so learned, but being able to dream up new ways to express that knowledge is just as important. Don’t become so old, or so intellectual, that you forget how to create.



13 thoughts on “Big Dog’s Philosophies on Life

  1. Good share! Question: how do you change your perspective without asking the hard questions…even when you ask carelessly? I see the value in your expression, I just personally say, “always ask the question”. I wonder if your number #5 has more value to the party answering than the one asking, I.e. how one answers can be an act of empathy, can alter perspective, can show love, etc. because I do think answers to hard questions can cause ripple effects, but whose is that to own? And who grows?
    #5 is tricky for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In my case, only 1 person has ever asked questions that they actually wanted to get the answers to. I’ve seen several people ask things, and even if you break it down gently, they can’t handle the answer they’re given. It’s true that the person answering has to be judicious with their responses, but then you have those that are blunt. You ask the question, you may not like the answer.

      In all honesty, I may put in #31 just on account for that. A sister to #9’s “Know your Audience”. #31: Know, or get to know, the person taking the stage. Ideally you’ll know the person already and how they deal with things, but that’s not always the case. When dealing with an unknown, there are boundaries that you hope they won’t cross. Asking them things may result in information best left alone.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Interesting.

        So, is number 5 a philosophy you live by as the answerer/observer – or – is it others should live by as the questioner? Or, both? Are there questions you have not asked? I must say, the whole “if you need to ask…” cliche is also somewhat problematic and I think it simply speaks more to the idea that we should all do a little filtering before opening our mouths (like, we can all recognize some questions are just thoughtless, meaning, stupid). But I don’t think you are really talking about simply avoiding looking like an idiot.

        If they can’t handle the answer that is theirs to own. So, if number five is for us the observer, I still say, ask the question. If number 5 is for the questioner, I still say, ask the question. because no matter what the answer is, all involved know where they now stand.

        This, of course, is all based on the fact (heh) that truth is spoken in reply. This is all somewhat vague, I know, and you are clearly speaking from experience.

        I would also suggest #32. Less is more. 😜

        Liked by 2 people

        • LOL I have done my share of both, being the observer and the guy with the answers. Sometimes I asked knowing what I was about to get hit with, and it turned out there was far more to it than I previously realized. It’s because of things like that, I’ve become far more laid back about a great many things.

          Ideally, questions should be asked and answered, because how else do we learn? #21: Perception Defines Your Reality. Your perceptions on the world and the minutia in it will change constantly, and as they do you will grow. Sometimes you need to steel yourself for what’s about to come, other times I found that I was able to deal with it better once I’ve grown a bit more as a person. If #32 is “Less is More” #33 has to be “Growing stagnant will kill everything around you”. How I see it applying here: Some questions need to be answered, regardless of whether you want them to be or not. Some people choose not to accept those answers, because they either can’t or won’t understand it. They let it fester and it can/will cause problems. You stagnate in your own Perceptions until your reality goes gray and it kills relationships, and leaves one bitter, pained and lonely. Sadly, I know that truth too. I’ve sat in stagnation for more than I care to. It’s not helped with my depression at all, but I found a way to press forward in the likes of my pencil and good friends-turned-family. I also learned to be open enough to examine things for myself and see where my own perceptions were just too narrow, and I grew, and the world picked up a bit of color again.

          I guess what i’m trying to say here is that I agree with you in principle. You ask a question, you get an answer. If you can’t handle it, then examine why. As an observer of this in motion, and as an active participant on either side, it can still be too much for a person to take. Easing them into things may help over time, but some people will never take the blinders off, because they like the bliss of ignorance. The minute you try to rip them off, they grasp onto them like a safety blanket and you become the enemy. To some, no big thing. To others, that’s a lot harder to deal with. Of course, it also depends on the relationship to you and the other person. Even then, you might be doing more damage to a perfect stranger, because you never know what else they’re personally going through.

          I really hope this is making any sort of sense… it sounded good in my head.

          Liked by 1 person

          • If I may, let me pull out a couple things here (I have to unpack, this is feeling very déjà vu-ish in terms of the amount of unloading in discussion. It’s like I know someone else who does this 🧐…) to elaborate on.

            Hmmm…agreed. We should all look at it from both angles, as a questioner and the questioned.

            Exactly. How else do we learn? Perspective/perception, this is exactly what I was referring to in my OG comment.

            “Some people choose not accept those answers, because they either can’t or won’t understand it.” I get this, I really do. I just wonder, respectfully, if standing on one side of it and determining for others whether or not a question should be asked is showing a certain amount of hubris. Ultimately, this comes back to knowing where we stand with others and therefore providing opportunities for ourselves. I struggle with this…but I’ve not thought ‘don’t ask’, I think I’m guiltier of, ‘ask later’. LOL

            For me, this discussion has evolved number 5 from discussing whether or not to ask the question to understanding which question to ask. Otherwise you could simply change #5 to ‘Curiosity killed the cat, remember that friends’.

            And lastly, #33 would be a redundancy of #24, #25, #37, #38, and #30. Minimally. See # 32. 😜


            • It has evolved as such. LOL So if I may go on to these 2 points:
              #34: To each their own. In following any rule or philosophy, one must ask if it works for them. Old RPG standby, “If you don’t like a rule, throw it out.”

              #35 While less is more, some things bear repeating. It may become old hat, or tiresome to hear, but there are some points that should be hammered home if you feel that strongly about them.

              Regardless of any of these, it’s always good to see other’s perspectives. This discussion has proven a point, if not actually at the dinner table. LOL We may not see completely eye to eye on this, but it was all polite and we walked away a little richer. At least, I did. :-) Really, that was the point of it all. The list will keep growing, because we grow daily, or should. In the end, it just makes me happy to see that someone outside our mutual friend, decided to talk with me. Challenge a little bit of it and see where it all went.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. A good set of rules. I would only add, live an honorable life. You talk about knowing right and wrong, which I agree with, but our actions in those moments that are guided by our common sense (or lack there of) is just as important as the knowledge of right and wrong.
    I give you props for your ideas on brotherhood/sisterhood. In my religion calling someone brother or sister is a weighty matter as their luck and destiny then become intertwined with your own. That being said I have a few people that I see as family that have no blood relation. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My apologies for the wait on response. Things were a bit busy around this weekend, and trying to type things out over my phone isn’t really helpful to answer people. Well, at least if I get long winded about it, it’s not. lol

      Thank you for your kind words. I do have a little something in there about living an honorable life:

      “25. You should have a personal code of honor. Something that inspires you to do and be better. Sometimes you’ll fail at this. You’re human, after all. The point is to strive to be better, always.”

      I do agree about the right and wrong things. As I stated, you should let your knowledge, common sense, and gut feeling tell you when the situation feels wrong. I went for broke expounding all this stuff, so details are easy enough to gloss over. I know I did and had to amend things as I double and triple checked all this. :-)

      As to the brotherhood/sisterhood detail, I find that fascinating! Of course, you always have to take that sort of things into account when someone’s religion tells them such. Thank you for sharing that! To me, I’ve always felt that we are all part of each other’s stories. Our destinies, however brief are intertwined with each other for as long as we travel the same path. I’ve had people I’ve known for a lifetime who have had little impact on my life, and some strangers that I will never forget. Whether positive or negative, there was an effect that showed me something and shifted my perspective. Personally, I’m not a fan of cameos in my personal story, I much prefer long-term companions on my path. Sometimes we don’t choose these things, but I’m forever grateful for those that I can converse with in a friendly matter no matter how long it lasts.

      I certainly appreciate the words. Thank you, good sir!

      Liked by 1 person

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