Wednesday, February 26, 2020


It seems to me there are three different types of a lighthearted personality.

One is the person whose nature is predisposed to be this way, despite external events.

The next is a person whose lightheartedness stems from naivete. This naivete comes from lack of experience, and lack of negative experiences in particular. The world feels safe and loving and there isn't much to worry over.

The third kind of lightheartedness, which is my favorite and so of course the category I identify with most, is the person who has gone through dark nights of the soul, come out the other end, and made the choice not to exist in gloom or suffering, but has chosen to be cheerful and optimistic, despite all reasons to the contrary. Reasons which they are intimately familiar with.

When we observe this character trait in others, we can't possibly know which category they fall into. This would take an intimate knowing of the person and their experiences.

Just to be clear, when I speak of lightheartedness, I'm not referring to an empty "positivity" which is so encouraged by our society, or a fleeting mood of "happiness". I'm talking about a light heart which contains depth, so this lightheartedness might show up as serenity, kindness, looking on the bright side, assuming the best of others, a well of strength the person can siphon from during the darkest of times. Lightheartedness isn't always obvious.

Last weekend, enjoying time with my friend Meg near beautiful Deception Pass.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Thoughts on humility

I guess in every era of humanity, certain characteristics are more pronounced than others, depending on events, cultural beliefs and societal norms, prosperity (or not), available technologies, and surely a whole host of other influential factors.

As I move through the years and continue to develop more and more self-awareness, it causes me to reflect on society at large; the environment around me that influences so much of who I am.

No matter how individual and self-aware we consider ourselves to be, a substantial percentage of this 'self' we identify as is a pure result of what we see around us. We are constantly receiving cues from the rest of the herd, and this shapes our behavior and our minds, even if we fancy ourselves contrarian in thought and action.

The essence of humility seems to come from a place of service. Service to what? It doesn't seem so much as service to someone as it does service to some higher ideal. (So, to illustrate what I mean by that, I believe that while parents can be a wonderful example of humility, the higher ideal presupposes the daily acts of humility).

Humility could be a great act of service in the Western world where the prevailing attitudes are abrasive, loud, competitive, and self glorifying.

Maybe because they are more rare these days, I find myself taken aback by those who embody gentler characteristics of beauty such as humility, grace, calmness, and sincerity. There is a goodness that shines through if you have eyes to see it and a heart and mind to recognize that kind of quiet and subtle strength.

While I'm interested in the outward appearance of humility for its potential ripple effect, I'm more curious about the inward experience of humility. What does humility feel like? Here are a few things that come to my mind to start me thinking on it more:

Humility feels like--

  • the opposite of perfectionism
  • the opposite of self importance 
  • acceptance of what is rather than resistance
  • absence of self-righteousness, or perhaps all righteousness
  • internalization that you are fallible, and so are others
  • being fixed toward higher ideals and morals; not governed by emotional whims and moods
  • a mode of listening and receptivity rather than feedback and penetration
  • lack of criticism

Muses of humility?

  • Taka, the female lead on The Last Samurai movie 
  • Agafia Lykov, perhaps
  • ...
I'll add to this list as I think more on the topic. I'm interested to hear others input, so please leave a comment if you have thoughts on humility, modern cultures lack of it, or any muses of humility that you can think of.

tiffany davidson, behavior, culture, modernity, philosophy, post modernity, psychology, self awareness, self development, feminine traits, feminine nature, self growth, tiffany davidson

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Today I listened to this YouTube video about the nature of beauty and suffering and what really stuck with me were Zapffe's four primary coping mechanisms which humans use to avoid dealing with the weight of existence. They are:

1. Isolation - where we completely dismiss all disturbing thoughts and feelings
2. Anchoring - which seem to give value and purpose to life and give us a fixed place within the construction. Examples of anchoring are religion, church, government, morality, fate, and other people.
3. Distraction - where we focus all of our energy on tasks and ideas to prevent the mind from turning in on itself.
4. Sublimation - which is the refocusing of energy away from negative outlets, toward positive ones. Those who tend toward sublimation distance themselves and look at existence from a more aesthetic point of view.

While I do believe that all four coping mechanisms have a degree of overlap, and most of us employ all of them, I like to think the one that describes my approach to life most of the time is sublimation.

What about you? What do you think?

tiffany davidson, blog, philosophy, zapffe, coping mechanisms, psychology