Wouldn't it be better for us to look for other solutions to our problems? The people laughed at the little girl and said, What does she know? She's just a child! And they all turned back to the logical man to hear more about how the earth should be different from how it is. You, too, can spend your time like the people in this land, unrealistically angry at the world for being the way it is; or you can align your expectations with reality. After all, the more accurately you see the world, the better you will navigate your way through it. Priceless Lesson A man walked through an expensive market and grew more and more frustrated as he saw how much the merchants charged for their goods. Finally he got to the king's garden at the end of a row. Please do not forget us when the shock and pain that you felt upon hearing of our dear one's parting have faded. For us, those feelings are still there times a hundred, or a thousand, and we feel them every morning the moment we open our eyes and realize that nothing is the same as it was such a short time ago. If you think of it once in a while, maybe send a text on the day of the month that she died--or any day at all! Post a heart in an email and we will know we are in your thoughts. Telling us that you are thinking of us down the road doesn't tear off a scab; It just shows us that someone still cares and that we are not suffering alone. And as overused as the words thoughts and prayers may be, they still mean something when they're said in sincerity and meant to ease our pain. And then, if there comes a time when the person who has lost a huge piece of her past, her present and her future all in one tragic moment feels as if she might be ready to pick herself up off the floor, you might consider being there to guide her gently back to life. Perhaps include her in new activities or help encourage her own growing independence. Add her to your social circle or keep asking her to join you until you get a positive response (or a convincing reason why not--maybe she just doesn't like your friends or, worse yet, you).

Black Mirror, the British sci-fi series and Netflix hit, imagines sinister and disturbing consequences of our new technology. In the episode, Nosedive,1 Lacie tries to navigate a world in which everyone rates everyone else all the time. She picks up a latte, and the barista rates her as she smiles and rates him. She passes a neighbor on the street, and her smartphone immediately informs her of the person's composite rating on a zero-to-five scale. Lacie spends much of her waking life attending to her rating. The perfectly swirled foam atop her latte sustains her more as a photo op than as an enjoyable beverage. She painstakingly prepares a pate just so she can photograph and post it for ratings. She practices her smile, wears a sweet, pastel, perfectly pressed dress, and even seeks a consultant to help her improve her rating. In this world, good ratings translate to material benefits--better services, better hotel and transportation options, access to better real estate. If vulnerability or unpleasant emotions bleed through the pleasant facade, others quickly register negative ratings. He took out his money, held it up, and said, I want to buy four figs. The king's gardener looked at what the man held up and shook his head no. The man grew angry, pulled out more money, and said, You're all so greedy! Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out every coin he had. Here! Here is everything I have! Does it make you happy to milk me dry? I want to buy four figs, and I know this is enough! But the king's gardener shook his head no again. Just as the man was about to explode with rage, the gardener said, The king is not a merchant.

And please, please, please keep talking about the person who died. Yes, we realize that they are gone--we haven't lost our minds, at least not entirely--but you have to know that they are still very much alive in our hearts. We dream about them. We cry for them. We ache with a longing that can never be fulfilled. We fantasize that they'll come to the front door to surprise us one more time. We hear a ping on our phone and think: Oh, it's a text from her! That person will never truly be dead to us--don't you see? In our case, this person, our child, came from our bodies, and she is a part of us forever. Where, for a time, you may see something that seems like an amputation, we see a leg that suddenly isn't working right, and it doesn't make any sense. In her rush to get to an event that will enhance her rating, she causes a passerby to spill her coffee. The subsequent ratings set off a vicious downward spiral for Lacie. Her rating drops too low for her to qualify for a seat on an airline, her subsequent outburst at the reservations counter gets her a full-point penalty, and, from there, she continues to nosedive into oblivion. What remains? Plastic-looking people living artificial lives. Though science fiction, we see signs of Lacie's world in our midst. The young woman at the coffee shop photographs her steaming latte, then smiles at her own camera, posing and snapping selfies for her Instagram feed. She'll post these as artifacts of the pleasant afternoon she had photographing her pleasant afternoon. We are free to indulge in our social media reflections anytime and everywhere, heads staring down into the mirror, reminiscent of Narcissus by the pool. Lacie's hypervigilance seems familiar when we observe our own resistance to putting down the electronic mirror.

He does not sell what he has but freely gives it. So no, you may not buy four figs, but yes, you certainly can have them. When you take old experiences into new situations, you run the risk of bringing unnecessary anger with you. Be mindful not to allow confirmation bias to determine how you approach new experiences. The priceless lesson for you and others is this: The more you expect to see in the world, the less you actually see. You Are Not a Pink Elephant! A teenager went to the school counselor and said, I'm so upset. My classmate called me a coward for not wanting to jump off the roof of the school. The counselor asked, Did anyone else jump off it? The student replied, No. It was fine yesterday. She was our child and she always will be. We will always hold in our hearts not only the memories of our time together (from the moment we first laid eyes on this sweet baby with the long fingers) but, equally palpably, the hopes that we held for her that will never be fulfilled. All of those are swirling together: the mental snapshots, the raucously bright watercolour dreams, the strains of her music and the joy of her laughter. They will not fade, and just because you do not see or hear them does not mean they have faded for us. I wanted to scream it but dared not open a barely healing wound in her husband and father. So, after the paper plates and banners were disposed of, I sat and penned this plea: We know that she's gone. That our lives aren't the same. We cannot ache more than we already do,

The hunger for likes, worries about one's ratings, and desire to impress people we don't even know can sweep us into another dance with narcissism--one I call the Edit Me. Though this dance is not exclusive to narcissists, it plays on and exploits our narcissistic needs. And while there is nothing new about posturing and posing, public stages for the indulgence are now freely available. media and reality TV extend to all what was once the purview of celebrities--an audience. even have our own followers. Edit Me is a feedback loop that constructs and maintains the false or grandiose self. have discussed how this happens in childhood, but vicious circles have a way of playing out in new forums and even gaining steam. for example, have to work very hard to resist the siren song of grandiosity even when they start with a well-rounded sense of self. the Edit Me, we present to the world an edited version of ourselves, others selectively reinforce and further distort this edited identity, and we become more and more alienated from our real selves. are few pleasures that compete with the joy of self-expression. goodness for that! what a wise choice for you to not jump off a roof! paused, then added, Hey, if I called you a pink elephant, would you be upset? student looked at the counselor as if he were strange. I called you a pink elephant, would you be upset? The student mustered a laugh and said, No. Why not? Because that's ridiculous. The counselor replied, You are not a pink elephant!