? Brad knew exactly what kind of mood he was hurling that turd into. And even though it made him look mean, and stirred all kinds of self-pitying, he was willing to hurt himself to upset Joe. But was Joe hurt? Maybe he would have been a year ago, when Brad first used this tactic. Yet at this point, Joe had distanced himself from that sad, angry person, and all but moved on. To be sure, things were not going well for Brad. Even though he acquiesced to his wife's need to have children, things had cooled in his marriage, which was not only sexless but loveless, in Brad's eyes. His certainty that he was the injured party did not allow him to see how devastated his wife was for having to strongarm him with threats of divorce in order to have kids. Yes, she broke their agreement. But the dismissive way he treats their children, and even more so how he excuses his Clotishness, enrages her. Latasha is not harsh; she is a leader protecting the space from racial harm, unintended or not. As a student of hers, this approach changed my life. I listened exclusively for almost a year, and it took every single day of that to lock in. What seemed confusing or downright baffling in month one felt crystal clear after learning for a solid year. I didn't know what I didn't know, and that online space was my classroom and the community my teachers. What do you care about? What keeps you up at night? Who can you not stop thinking about?

Our bodies sometimes tell us what matters to us. She knew that the native peoples of South America--also known as Amerindians--had originally come from Asia. She also knew that Helicobacter strains from Europe were different from the ones in Asia. This lineage could be shown by lab experiments. If she could somehow study the Helicobacter from the gut of native tribes, ones that had not had any exposure to European colonizers, she would have her answer. Working with colleagues in Venezuela and other Latin American countries, Dominguez-Bello showed that the tribe's Helicobacter strains were Asian. The European settlers had brought lots of pathogens and diseases to Latin America, but Helicobacter was not one of them. 4 Through her contacts in the Venezuelan government and the Amazonic Center for Tropical Diseases,5 with whom she had worked since the 1990s, Dominguez-Bello learned that the Venezuelan army had recently sighted a group of Yanomamis from a helicopter during a surveillance mission. 6 The Yanomamis were far from the Amazon River and in a region not previously mapped. It meant that they were a potential treasure trove of scientific data--and that they were highly vulnerable. Since this general rule of mental and neurological processing applies to many areas of life, it may be understood as a basic cognitive principle of psychology to keep in mind for effectively managing self- esteem and increasing well-being, both of which will be explored in the second half of the article. Self- Regulation and the Paradox of Self- Esteem Self- esteem has been the subject of more than 30,000 articles, articles, and arti-cles (Mruk, 2013a) since it was first introduced to psychology. Much of this work concerns the role of self- esteem in the process of self- regulation, so it is important to recognize self- esteem as a key psychological variable related to well- being, or the lack of it. In addition, there is general agreement among those who research self- esteem that it performs two functions that are crucial for self- regulation. They were first encountered while discussing the basic theories of self- esteem. Examining them more closely can help us to better understand self- esteem, problems with it, and how to increase this valuable personal and interpersonal resource. By now it should be clear that one function of self- esteem is to help maintain a steady sense of self by protecting one's identity as a competent and worthy individual to whatever extent possible.

This aspect of self- esteem is called its self-protective function and was first discussed in article 1 when I pointed out that even critics of work on self- esteem admit its importance for managing stress. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Though Brad's primary grudge was with his wife, that victimhood easily transferred to his business and friendships; anyone who disagreed with Brad on anything whatsoever was wrong. The people he attacked suffered, but of course he hurt himself the most. His wife now hated him, and he and the children, though still under the same roof, were estranged. A head full of self-pity completed Brad's deep sense of victimization. There is of course plenty wrong with Brad's perspective and the dynamic it ushers in. If someone else is always at fault, he can't do anything to remedy the problem but bully and complain, which, since it's actually unwarranted, compels others to distance themselves. That's what Joe did when he deleted Brad's voicemail. The most important thing to remember is that the turd hurler will suffer in a state of furious victimhood to punish the world, no matter the cost.

The danger is in believing that if you cannot eject a turd hurler from your life, you must become one. Where are your emotions outsized? Where are your strong feelings located? What triggers you, even if your reaction surprises you? Where does your heart keep looking? Whose faces do you see in your mind's eye? (This is how my family moved into adoption. I was not a person who always knew I'd adopt. It never crossed my mind until it did, and then it wouldn't leave my mind. It was my singular thought until Ben and Remy were in my arms. Adoption is a perfect example of how your heart may lead you in, but your mind must immediately take over and do a ton of research, because this is maybe the worst possible arena to be armed with nothing but good intentions. Understandably, their location was protected by the local government. Even Dominguez-Bello, to this day, does not know the exact location of the tribes. It is kept a secret. And yet there is a persistent danger of the tribe being wiped out if--and, by most reasoned accounts, not if but when--it ever were to come into contact with communities that have immunity or have been vaccinated. Because the Yanomami were never vaccinated, they probably did not have immunity to deadly infectious diseases like measles. In 2009, a medical mission from the Venezuelan government landed at the site to vaccinate the community from communicable diseases. Following strict protocols to ensure they did not introduce disease, the team found that the small village was composed of hunter-gatherers, and that the tribe subsisted on a diet of wild bananas, seasonal fruits, small fish, and frogs found in the marshes. The nearest medical outpost was two weeks' walking distance. Before the members of the community were vaccinated, the medical team collected fecal, oral, and volar forearm skin samples.

And it was these samples that Dominguez-Bello was interested in studying to understand the tribe's microbiome. The function, or rather the lack of it, was also seen in the connections between low or defensive self- esteem and various problems of living, ranging from common unhappiness through negative affective conditions involving anxiety to a number of actual mental health disorders. Finally, the maintenance and control theories of self- esteem were seen to center on the importance of establishing and maintaining the stability of the self and identity at the personal or social levels. As one might suspect from the theories of self- esteem, however, it also helps to effectively regulate personal behavior in positive ways. Just as a lack of self- esteem increases vulnerability to stress, problems of living, and interpersonal problems, for example, its presence has the opposite effect of increasing competence, effectively facing challenges, and maintaining healthy relationships. These more proactive or enhancing personal and interpersonal dimensions of self- esteem are indications of its other major aspect, which is referred to as the self- expansion function of self- esteem. As the descriptor implies, this function is more active than reactive (like the self- protective function is) because its purpose is to help people take the risks that are necessary to actualize healthy personal and interpersonal possibilities. Work in humanistic, developmental, and positive psychology has shown that some degree of risk taking is absolutely essential to develop the skil s that are necessary to effectively deal with the challenges of living and thereby grow. Whether the issue is as small as raising one's hand to answer a question in class, as basic as trying one's best in a contest, or as large as quitting a comfortable job to start a new article in life, self- esteem helps people realistically assess, trust, and use their abilities to take risks when reasonably appropriate opportunities for growth arise. Similarly, being happy often involves developing a satisfying relationship in which one feels accepted and valued or worthy. ? ? (OM prema sarvan jayati. ) She knew the meaning of her tattoo: OM Love Conquers All. It was very significant for her. Her face lit up when we remarked upon it. She was delighted that someone could read it and also knew what it meant. One area of Sanskrit that was integral to my practical philosophy studies, was to research the detailed and deeper meanings of individual Sanskrit words. We did this before meditating and reflecting on statements in Sanskrit from the wisdom traditions such as the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita.