Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Three Short(ish) Thoughts

My Dear Reader,

I don't really have a coherent post for you right now, but I do have some short thoughts I'd like to share. Here we go:

1. They always tell you to be the change you want to see in the world. What they don't tell you is that until people start catching on, it just kinda sucks.


Sometimes being yourself means being alone.

I honestly, truly believe that every person in this world has a function. I believe that God places each of us in certain families, in certain situations, and with certain abilities. And I think that God expects us to go out in the world and do things that no one else can do. And that makes us stand out from other people. It makes us an ensign of other possibilities, and if we're lucky, an agent of change.

But being an agent of change on a large scale is something most often seen in Disney sports movies. Most of the time, people see that you're different, but they don't get that you're doing it on purpose, and that you have a reason, and that you honestly believe that being who you are makes the world a better place. And most of the time, they try to ignore that part of you, or they ignore all of you.

But you know, sometimes it's really the only thing you can do. Anything else just feels wrong. And if God is on your side, it doesn't really matter if people don't get it. It hurts, but it doesn't change the fact that you have to be what God made you to be. You can't let the apathy or disgust of others stop you from improving the world in whatever capacity you can.

And even though it sucks, and it's lonely, it's also incredibly noble. Noble isn't a bad thing to be.

2. I don't think that I've ever met a person who didn't want to change me. And that might occasionally be a good thing.

I'm starting to think that the whole I-love-you-just-the-way-you-are thing is just a myth. Or a lie we tell ourselves. I mean, I have friends who wish I enjoyed shopping with them. Or who wish that I wasn't quite as loud and verbose. Or, you know, lots of things. It's the kind of thing that used to get me down a lot, because the TV tells me that people are supposed to love me, warts and all. But I'm starting to realize that I want other people to change, too. Usually just in little ways, and usually it all goes unsaid. But you know, I still care about them. Sometimes I want them to change because I care about them. Sometimes I want them to make choices that will increase their happiness. I don't think that wanting people to change always means that you don't love them. It definitely can mean that, of course. Sometimes you want people to change for reasons that are selfish or petty. But sometimes it means that you love them truly and deeply.

Because a mother's love is supposed to be the strongest love in the world, right? But my Madre has never stopped giving me suggestions on how to be a better person. And that does not even compare with the rebukes I've gotten from God, who loves perfectly. I mean, He wants me to change like you would not believe.

I think they ask me to change because they see a kind of potential in me that I can't always see in myself. And really, without these people in my life, I wouldn't have had the motivation to push myself and become stronger.

3. Someone who truly cares about you will be thrilled when you improve yourself. Someone who is using you will feel threatened.

This is kind of the flip-side of people who want you to change: there are people who want you to stay the same. More specifically, there are people who want you to stay inferior to them. This inferiority can come in multiple incarnations: monetarily, professionally, socially, psychologically, etc. These are people who may or may not be close to you, and sometimes they can lead you to believe that they don't care about the differences between you. They want you to believe that even though you're on different levels, they still value you.

But everything changes when you start changing. Maybe you get an education. Maybe you land a good job. Maybe you find yourself in a healthy romantic relationship. Or maybe you just grow up a little. Either way, things are going good for you, and when they can't stand it, you can finally see their true colors.

Everyone knows that bullies pick on people in order to boost their own damaged egos. This is kind of the same principle, but it's used in a more subtle way. They need you to be low in order to feel high, but they do it as your friend instead of your enemy.

Of course, we all do this to some extent. As a big sister, I can tell you that more than once I found myself very upset when my younger siblings out-shined me in any way. On some level, this is natural. We grow out of it as we mature. But it can get pretty twisted when it gets extreme. I know people who have structured every single relationship on this principle. They are usually deeply unhappy, and they're getting more miserable by the minute. Because when your sense of self worth is dependent on others, it is always at risk of collapsing.

But when you can be truly happy for other people's success, you become liberated. You realize that your worth as an individual is independent and steady. You start to see yourself as a part of a great human family in which success is always a source of joy. And, more importantly, you start to truly experience unselfish love. The freedom in that is just exhilarating.

So, in conclusion:

I want to strive every day to bring good into this world, even if my methods seem odd. I want to find different ways to bring light into this life, and I want to share that light with everybody. And sure, that's something of a journey, and the road might not always be pleasant. But I want to surround myself with people who lift me up, who challenge me and want me to succeed. I want to be loved by people who find joy in my happiness. I want to be in a place where one person's happiness is enjoyed unselfishly by everybody else.

Who wants to join me?

Regards, best wishes, and I hope I wasn't too much of a downer,

-Cecily Jane